June 21, 2017

Natural Remedies for a Cold

Natural Remedies for a Cold

Getting sick in the summer really just sucks. Rather than rely on comfort foods with minimal nutrients (read: toast and tea), I really try my hardest to increase my vitamin, mineral, and nutrient intake to attenuate the duration and intensity of my plague. Admittedly I am still a bit sick right now so this post will be a work in process, but this is what I typically do.

Diet: minimal, minimal sugar, tons of vegetables. Aim for anti-inflammatory foods and gut-centric foods. Drink a lot of water, try to sleep, do some steams, take some supplements. Admittedly I am still a bit sick so this post will be a work in process, but this is what I typically do.

anti-inflammatory foods: herbs, spices, essential fatty acids, curcumin, green tea, cruciferous vegetables, all vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, nutritional yeast

avoid: refined carbs and vegetable oils, packaged foods, processed foods, hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners


  • omega-3 (2 pills, once a day) – Changing the fatty acid composition of immune cells affects phagocytosis, T-cell signaling and antigen presentation capability (all things that trap, engulf and kill off bacteria and infections). These effects appear to mediated at the membrane level suggesting important roles of omega-3 fatty acids ( 2 )
  • turmeric – 1 capsule, twice per day with food – curcumin can downregulate the expression of various proinflammatory cytokines including TNF, IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, and chemokines, as well as modulate the immune system ( 3 )

Anti-bacterial / anti-viral:

  • Oregano oil: 2 capsules, twice per day: studies demonstrate that oregano oil has both antioxidant and antibacterial properties ( 4 )
  • Garlic: 1 capsule, twice per day with food AND cook with tons of garlic – garlic supplements have the potential to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, to regulate slightly elevated cholesterol concentrations, and to stimulate the immune system ( 5 )
  • ginger: 1 capsule, twice per day with food – the most significant among all the nutraceutical attributes of ginger are its positive influence on gastrointestinal tract including digestive stimulant action, anti-inflammatory influence, and anticancer effect ( 6 )

Immune boosting:

  • Vitamin D: 4 drops per day – the hormonal form of vitamin D up-regulates anti-microbial peptides, namely cathelicidin, to enhance clearance of bacteria at various barrier sites and in immune cells. Vitamin D modulates the adaptive immune system by direct effects on T cell activation and on the phenotype and function of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), particularly of DCs  ( 1 )
  • Vitamin A: 1 capsules, twice a day, with meals. Vitamin A and D modulate a broad range of immune processes, such as lymphocyte activation and proliferation, T-helper-cell differentiation, tissue-specific lymphocyte homing, the production of specific antibody isotypes and regulation of the immune response ( 7 )
  • Vitamin C: 2 capsules, twice a day, with meals.
  • Elder berry: Take 15 drops in water twice a day to help increase the body’s defense cells. Elderberry is also safe to take on a regular basis, unlike some other immune-boosting herbs

For your gut: Most of the body’s immune cells are made in the gut, so if you’re trying to enhance your ability to fight off a sickness, coddle your gut like a puppy. To read more about this, check out this or this post.

Adaptogens in smoothies (all of the below enhance the immune system):

  • reishi: 1 tsp in smoothie (code lemons for 15% off root and bones)
  • chaga: 1 tsp in smoothie  (code lemons for 15% off root and bones)
  • he shou wu: 1 tsp in smoothies  (code lemons for 15% off root and bones)


In terms of brands, Integrative Therapeutics, Designs for Health, and Pure Encapsulations are good ones. 


1 ) Karmen, D.L., & Tangpricha, V. (2010). Vitamin D and molecular actions on the immune system: modulation of innate and autoimmunity. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 88(5), 441-450. doi: 10.1007/s00109-010-0590-9

2 ) Calder, P.C. (2007). Immunomodluation by omega-3 fatty acids. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 77(5-6), 327-335. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2007.10.015.

3 ) Jagetia, G.C. & Aggarwal, B. (2007). “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. Journal of Clnical Immunology, 27(1), 19-35. doi: 10.1007/s10875-006-9066-7

4 ) Jnaid, Y., Yacoub, R. & Al0Biski, F. (2016). Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of  Origanum vulgare essential oil. International Food Research Journal, 23(4), 1706-1710.

5 )  Ried, K. (2016). Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, regulates serum cholesterol, and stimulates immunity: An updated meta-analysis and review. Journal of Nutrition, 146(2), 389S-396S. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.202192

6 ) Srinivasan, K. (2017). Ginger rhizomes (Zingiber officinale): A spice with multiple health beneficial potentials.

( 7 ) Mora, J.R., Iwata, M., & von Andrian, U.H. (2008). Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre stage. National Review of Immunology, 8(9), 695-698. doi: doi: 10.1038/nri2378

( 8 ) Bliss. R.M. (2016). Adequate zinc vital to healthy immune response. Agricultural Research, 64(9).

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