Zero Waste Remedies for Cold & Flu Season
Fall is here! With the addition of the refreshing cool weather also comes cold and flu season unfortunately. This week, I’ve had my first cold of the season, yuck! Before jumping to over the counter cold and flu remedies that typically come packaged in plastic bottles, I like to use natural remedies to relieve my symptoms first. I thought I’d share with you guys some zero waste remedies I’ve been using to help alleviate my cold symptoms this time around. Check them out and let me know if you have any remedies to add!
Ginger Lemon Tea
Hot ginger lemon tea has worked wonders at soothing my sore throat from coughing all night. Ginger root is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and I honestly just love the spiciness of the ginger in my tea. You can also sweeten the tea by adding a spoonful of local honey. I’ve been sipping on hot ginger tea all day. It also helps me stay hydrated throughout the day which is important when sick! Here’s a recipe for ginger lemon tea I found on Pinterest. Vegan friends, you can leave out the honey or add agave nectar for extra sweetness.
Garlic is also another food that naturally supports your immune system. I’ve been chopping up cloves of garlic into small “pill” sized shapes and swallowing them throughout the day with a glass of water. There are many other ways you can ingest garlic for your health. However, I find this to be the most efficient and simple method. Of course, you can also add garlic to your recipes throughout the week. I have a friend that disguises garlic in a spoonful of peanut butter when she feels a cold coming on.
Sleep, sleep, sleep! One of the greatest things you can do for your body during cold and flu season is to get plenty of rest. It’s ok to take the day off and rest, so your body’s defense system can get to work. If you’ve been busy with late nights and early mornings, consider heading to bed early this week so your body can recharge. It’s a great way to help your body heal and absolutely zero waste!
I know sinus pressure when you have a cold can be really uncomfortable. A steamy shower can definitely help with this symptom as well as hanging some fresh eucalyptus in your shower. The essential oils of the plant will be activated from the shower steam and this can help alleviate congestion. Just like ginger root, eucalyptus is notorious for its anti-inflammatory properties. You gotta love natural aromatherapy!!
Since beginning my zero waste journey a few years back, I’ve switched to using handkerchiefs instead of disposable tissues. My nose is so thankful for the switch! Fabric seems to be much gentler on the nose than paper tissues. I actually like to use specifically Hankybooks which are basically the modern version of a handkerchief. It’s a booklet of organic cotton fabric, and you simply use a tissue “page” and flip so you never have to touch the boogers. 🙂 After you’ve used up your booklet of handkerchiefs, you simply toss it in the washing machine then you can reuse once clean. If you haven’t made the zero waste switch to handkerchiefs yet, consider a Hankybook!!
The diaper balm we once carried in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop second’s as an all purpose skin repair aid, so I’ve also been rubbing it under my raw nose. The skin just under my nose gets super sensitive and raw from blowing and wiping my nose so much whenever I have a cold. I like to dab a little bit of this balm under my nose just before bed and it really does help. Although you can’t find this zero waste diaper balm in the shop anymore, you can still purchase it directly through the Balm Baby website or on Amazon!
Salt Water Gargle
If you have a sore throat, one easy remedy is to gargle a glass of warm salt water. This can temporarily relieve a dry, scratchy throat believe it or not! I like to put about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8 ounce glass of warm water. You might have to play around with the salt to water ratio until you find what “recipe” you like the best.
Ok, so this is one I can’t vouch for first hand, because I don’t own a neti pot… However, I’ve heard wonderful things from friends and fellow bloggers about its use. Apparently, it’s a great way to relieve sinus symptoms, by rinsing the nasal passages. They’re super simple to use from what I’ve read. You can use the neti pot system to rinse a few times per day and it is supposed to help flush out infection and/or pollen! I’m hoping to invest in one in the future, but crossing fingers I can get through this first seasonal cold without one. I found this beautiful ceramic one on Amazon, but I imagine you could find some other really pretty handmade ceramic neti pots on Etsy?
I have a wedge pillow that I keep around the house just for cold and flu season. Sleeping elevated really does help with congestion and makes it easier to sleep through the night. It’s ok if you don’t own a wedge pillow of your own. Try using two stacked pillows tonight instead of just the one and see if it helps you sleep better!
Head over to the Gippsland Unwrapped blog for 14 more zero waste remedies for cold and flu season!
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