As colds + the flu make rounds in your household, I want to help you feel confident using natural remedies + good ol’ herbs to support your body. Many symptoms/issues that come from the common cold or flu can be managed at home without the use of medications. *BUT, listen in to your parental instinct if you think something is more seriously wrong, take them in to see a doctor. (If you have very young children who may have RSV, pertussis, etc., go to the doctor right away to see if medical treatment is needed! Since their lungs are smaller, it doesn’t take much inflammation to make things difficult.)
I personally love seeing our family doctor to make sure it’s just your average run-of-the-mill virus and nothing more serious. I go home with confidence that I can support my kiddos without medication to get them through this virus.
Because let’s be honest, symptom suppression is usually not the answer. We want to support our body’s natural way of fighting illness. I do encourage you to go read about why not to break the fever, as this is our body’s natural way to fight viruses + bacteria. Let me back up and go back to what I said about symptoms suppression not being the answer – coughs are a great example. Many times we are quick to quiet the cough. But, that’s not always the best solution. Why?
If your child is having a mucous sounding cough (aka a wet cough), you’ll want to support your cough with expectorants to help rid and thin the mucus. Because if the mucus is left to sit there (you cease the coughing), it can create a bacterial infection. So, the cough is VERY beneficial here. Our body knows that we need to clear this junk OUT!
If you have a dry cough, this is simply your lungs being irritated, so our goal would be to soothe it!
Before we get into the specifics, let me also put out there that you need to be doing your normal immune boosting remedies, like elderberry syrup, Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, echinaea, etc. Making your diet nutrient dense with real wholesome foods – tons of vegetables, quality proteins, bone broth, and fruit!
How to Tame Dry Coughs Naturally
If you find yourself or your kiddo having this dry, lingering cough, our goal is to soothe your respiratory tract + throat!
- Raw Honey – A spoonful of raw honey can be exactly what you need to help soothe the throat and quiet a nagging cough. Feel free to do this on the hour every hour! (Don’t use this for children under 1).
- Humidifier – These are so helpful to tame dry coughs because they release extra moisture in the air + it soothes your respiratory tract. Another benefit is that humidifiers were actually studied to reduce the amount of viral particles in the air that are released in with a cough. The humidity inactivates the virus. This can reduce the chance of contracting the flu or cold for you + other family members!
- Demulcents – These herbs are known to help reduce inflammation + coat the mucous membranes. You might have heard me talk about these herbs with gut health! Some of my favorite herbs in this category are marshmallow root + slippery elm! I’ve used them in gummy form and in tea forms. You want these herbs to be soaking in water because that helps release their properties to reduce inflammation! You’ll find them in Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat herbal tea blend! Or you can buy the herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and make your own teas with them. When I start making recipes with these herbs, this is where I get my herbs.
- Antispasmodics – These herbs help calm the “spasm,” aka the cough! Chamomile tea is one my favorite ones. The warmth of the tea calms that tickle in your throat and chamomile has the antispasmodic properties.
- Herb Pharm Respiratory Relief
- Gaia Kids Bronchial Wellness
How to Help Reduce Nasal + Chest Congestion
- Hydrate! Drink all the water, lemon water, bone broth, herbal teas that sound good to you! The more you are hydrated, the thinner the mucous secretions will be. Win!
- Saline Sprays – The saline can help dry up your nasal congestion.
- “Spicy” Foods – Spicy foods that use cayenne or apple cider vinegar shots mixed with a little honey can help open up your nasal cavities reducing the stuffiness.
- Steam – This usually comes from steam showers, face over the steam from hot water made by the stove – (be careful that the steam is not hot enough to burn you), baths, etc. This will help thin out your mucus and helps you pass it easier. I love adding eucalyptus to the water to help open up the passages of the nasal cavity + break up chest congestion. You can use the plant itself or you can use the essential oil of Eucalyptus Globulus or Eucalyptus Radiata. A couple drops go a long way!
- Peppermint – Properly diluted peppermint essential oil can help move that mucus along. Use of peppermint essential oil with children is not recommended for under 3 years old. Peppermint tea can also be used!
- Garlic – Garlic is a known expectorant, which can be used in your steam (see a couple bullets above) or taken internally!
- Mullein – Both an expectorant AND a soothing herb! Soothe your respiratory tract, while expelling the mucus! The saponins in the mullein may be the reason for it being a great expectorant. This is most commonly used as tea!
- Herb Pharm Lung Expectorant
As I create syrups and teas with these herbs, I will share them on the blog + link them up! Trust me, they are coming! What do you do for congestion + coughs?