Herbal Cold Care

Ready for the winter cold and flu season?

Colds and flu are an inherent part of winter, I am usually able to avoid, but recently I found myself in contact, once again with sick people. Runny noses, bad sinuses, croupy coughs…yuck. It’s enough to make this nurse sick!

Since eliminating refined sugar from my diet, I don’t get sick often, but when I do, the first thing is reach into my herbal bag of tricks.

My cold care interventions are tried and true, based on years of practicing integrative wellness at band camp. Nine summers caring for  165 campers and 85 staff members at Cazadero Music Camp, gave me a reputation for force feeding colds with garlic and honey tea and OCD about clean hands at while camping…oxymoron huh?

Nestled in the Redwoods of Sonoma County, 30 minutes from acute care, I learned to use what was on hand to treat common ailments and being a camp nurse developed my interventional skills preventing disease outbreak, decreasing the severity of illness and promoting public health in a remote location.

And…best of all…this is where I got my start as Nurse Courtney!

Here are a few recommendations for treating the common cold, upper respiratory infection, bronchitis and sinus infection.

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Start treating yourself as soon as you start to feel unwell…

  • Echinacea Propolis Throat spray – The throat harbors many opportunistic microorganisms which can enter the bloodstream, under stressful circumstances, causing a variety of serious conditions. Think Strep throatMeningitis or Diphtheria here, but there are others. Although most of these organisms actually play a neutral or even beneficial role in our bodies, they can quickly turn deadly if virulent and left untreated. Utilizing an herbal throat spray helps keep sickness at bay by direct spray, treating  source of possible infection before it gets a foothold.


  • Vitamin C – Starting high doses of Vitamin C, (4,000 to 5,ooo mg a day ) is super important to help boost immune function and combat stress. Contrary to popular belief drinking orange juice isn’t really going to give you the high doses of Vitamin C you need, but it will give you high doses of sugar! This will actually increase your chances of getting sicker because the “empty calories” of sugar actually depletes the body of nutrients, adding stress to an already stressed system. Also, powder is the best way to stock Vitamin C because you can take several smaller doses if you prefer and it can be put directly on a cold sore to shorten the duration


  • Chuan Xin Lian Kang Yan Wan, Health Concerns Cold Away, Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao or Cold Snap – Yes, you probably have guessed it already, these are Chinese herbs you can’t find at your corner drugstore, but I highly recommend you make the effort to stock them in your medicine cabinet. You won’t be sorry you did! The first formula is my all time favorite and has helped keep me and my family healthy through some really rough cold and flu seasons. Recommended to me first by my acupuncturist in Omaha, NE, Dr. David Yoo, Chuan Xin Lian Kang Yan Wan is a “must have” in my medicine cupboard. I even wrote a recommendation on Amazon.com cause I love this product so much! Taken at the first sign of a cold, all of these formulas are meant to stop or shorten the length and severity of a cold. Either way, it’s worth the investment!


  • Oil of Oregano – One of the most powerful antimicrobials I have ever encountered, oil of oregano is effective for treatment of a wide variety of conditions. Taken in a strong dose at the first sign of a cold or flu, I usually take 12 drops in a small amount of water followed by at least 4 oz of water, then continued if needed throughout the duration, in milder doses.  Oil of oregano is like dropping an atomic bomb in your system and recently a fantastic Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, I met while treating my Dad told me she recommends a daily dose of oil of oregano for folks who suffer from frequent sinus infection. Especially for diabetic patients!


  • Ground Flax Seed – Flax seed is amazingly effective for treating Bronchitis, possibly due to  a cannabinoid-like compound found to reduce inflammation. Simply use 2-3 tablespoons of ground flax seed, in a cup of hot water and drink. I have personally used ground flax tea to alleviate airway constriction when I didn’t have an inhaler. It works! Data suggests flax products could be another source of biologically active cannabinoid-like compounds able to influence the cell’s immunological response  much like the cannabinoids in Cannabis.

Remember, anytime you start to feel ill immediately start self care and if you get really sick, see a doctor. Herbal remedies work wonders, but require persistence, rest, consistency and time.

Check out what The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends for the common cold based on their research of alternative and herbal therapies.

Here’s my disclaimer, saying ultimately you are responsible for your health and this information is for educational purposes only. Please see a doctor, if symptoms persist, worsen or if you have a change in level of consciousness.

Ultimately it is up to us to know when it is time to get help!

Much love Dear Souls…






Please share your thoughts with me!

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