Students attending classes all day and studying all night are all a bit vulnerable to cold and flu season. As someone guilty of chugging cough syrup, sucking on vitamin C lozenges, and using the not-so-trusty neti pot, I’m here to tell you that 1. you are not alone and 2. our immune systems will not be thanking us later. Each time these remedies failed me, I’d end up sick in bed on another round of antibiotics. Eventually, my interest in health and wellness (and a ridiculous amount of common colds) inspired me to research herbal medicine and find holistic remedies that actually work. After trying basically everything from A-Z, these are my top five go-to natural remedies to fight off cold and flu season:
Add raw honey to lukewarm tea or water and experience instant relief from sore throats and relentless coughing. It’s important to note that raw honey should not be heated as it will denature beneficial enzymes that have the ability to fight off harmful microorganisms!
NYC Spot: Honey Brains
Menu Highlight: 100% Raw Wildflower Honey and Tahini Toast
The organosulfur compound found in garlic, allicin, is only activated when cloves are broken down. Basically, a whole clove of garlic contains no allicin; this means roasting whole cloves of garlic will not help our immune systems fight off that killer cold. Instead, chopping or mincing a clove of garlic will release the healing benefits of sulfur compounds even when cooked. Simply spread raw garlic puree on a slice of nutrient-dense toast or add it to a warm cup of your favorite bone broth. With highly potent antimicrobial properties, this magical compound will knock your antibiotic right off the shelf.
NYC Spot: Le Botaniste
Menu Highlight: Seaweed Tartar
Photo by Sarah Kupferberg
Made from animal bones and connective tissues but with far less sodium than most soups, bone broth is superior to the average canned chicken noodle soup. With more electrolytes and far less sugar than Gatorade, bone broth is the perfect hydrator when you’re sick. Naturally occurring amino acids like arginine, glutamine, and cysteine in bone broth boost immunity and fight inflammation. Last but not least, collagen aids gut health and a large part of our immune system is dependent on our gut.
NYC Spot: Springbone Kitchen
Menu Highlight: Immunity Broth
Echinacea is an herb used for generations to heal infection, fevers, and common cold symptoms. Echinacea is composed of phenols, chemical substances that increase the activity of enzymes in our immune systems. Alkamides are another component of echinacea that are believed to stimulate phagocytosis, a mechanism that engulfs harmful bacteria. The whole plant - leaves, roots, and flowers - can be prepared into a powerful immune boosting tonic, tea, or tincture possessing anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Unfortunately, you won't find this North American plant growing in Central Park. To get your hands on echinacea, hit up your local health market or herbal apothecary and let the healing commence!
NYC Spot: Anima Mundi Apothecary
Menu Highlight: Cold's Cocktail
Ginger contains gingerols with antimicrobial properties and an antiemetic effect, meaning it can drastically relieve nausea. An easy and cost effective way to incorporate ginger into your diet is to make ginger tea. Simply add fresh ginger root to boiling water and let steep until potent. A cup a day keeps the doctor away!
NYC Spot: Farmacy Kitchen
Menu Highlight: Fire Starter Syringe Shot