Your Step-by-Step Guide to Kicking a Winter Cold

We’re in the heart of winter with a few hopeful signs that spring is on the way. Despite our deep hopefulness, we aren’t in the clear until temperatures actually start to rise, which means that you are still at risk of getting a cold. But no worries. If you implement these simple steps, then you can ward off that winter cold or at the very least get through the thick of one pretty quickly.

Seven Steps to Kick a Winter Cold

While everyone responds differently to various holistic remedies, the routine below is what I believe to be the best combination of common sense healthcare and alternative medicine. You can follow these instructions step-by-step.

How to Make and Use Elderberry Syrup to Repel the Flu

Step 1: Herbs

At the first signs of a cold, you need to run to your herbs. The two at the top of the list include echinacea and elderberry.

In the beginning, there was echinacea. Seriously though, use echinacea only in the beginning. It’s a misconception that echinacea is a good all-around immune-booster. While it’s definitely an immune-booster, it’s not effective as an everyday herb. It’s power comes from high-dose use at the first sign of a winter cold. You need to take it immediately at the first sneeze or tingle in the nose for this herb to be super effective. If you buy a bottle at the store, then you’ll follow the instructions on the bottle for acute use.

Your next herbal friend is elderberry. Unlike echinacea, elderberry is a preventive powerhouse. You can use it as a regular daily supplement. When cold or flu strikes, increase the dosage for the duration of your symptoms. You can find elderberry in syrup form at your local health food store or make your own.

Woman's hands poured the mix of vitamins and nutritional, dietary supplement pills from a bottle, close-up.

Step 2: Vitamins

You’ve just run to your herb cabinet and downed some goodness. You’ve done a great job, and now it’s time to replenish any nutrients or vitamins you could be lacking. If you don’t take a daily multivitamin, then now would be a good time to start, preferably a whole-food-based formula.

In addition to a quality multivitamin, it can be beneficial to consume high doses of vitamin C. While the evidence shows that vitamin C supplementation doesn’t work super great to prevent infection, it does a great job of reducing the length of infection. And how much you take matters.

Disclaimer: Make sure you talk with your doctor about how much to take and whether it’s safe to take with any medications you might be on. Once you’ve been given an approved dose by your favored holistic health practitioner, then be sure to load up daily or multiple times a day while you’re feeling symptoms.

Hot Tea is Essential for Kicking a Winter Cold!

Step 3: Liquids

In general, any hot liquid when you’re congested is helpful to moisten and loosen secretions for easier removal. The last thing you want is to be congested and dry. The liquids below offer warmth and necessary nutrition.

Bone broth (or vegan bone broth) provides a diverse profile of minerals, vitamins, and collagen. While it may be evident how minerals and vitamins help your body function better, you may not have thought about collagen. Collagen is a protein that makes up the structures of our cells for various tissues. With the help of your high doses of vitamin C, you’ll be fortifying the strength of your cells, which makes fighting a cold virus easier. To understand how collagen and vitamin C work together, think about scurvy It’s a vitamin C deficiency disease where basically your tissues begin to fall apart. You bleed from your gums and wounds reopen or won’t close. That’s because vitamin C works to keep collagen in your tissues. During an infection, your immune cells, which have a high concentration of vitamin C, become quickly depleted of this key nutrient, which puts your body at risk of major breakdown. Short version: drink bone broth, take vitamin C.

Herbal teas provide you with the soothing, cozy warmth of a cup of tea, also known as hygge in Denmark. Plus, you get all the goodness of whatever herb you choose. Like peppermint, think powerhouse decongestant and sore throat soother. Or ginger, a major anti-inflammatory.

Water gives us life. In fact, your body is pretty much all water, so without it, how do you expect to function? Water. Drink it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And do it all day long. It’s the best habit you could ever have.

Healthy Buddha Bowl

Step 4: Nutrition or Fasting

Let’s talk about nutrition first. It’s evident that a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes will provide you with necessary vitamins and minerals to support your body in healing. Okay, done.

Fasting is a new trend that’s super popular in the anti-aging community because of its ability to turn on apoptosis, which is the death of cells. When it comes to colds or flu, apoptosis is useful because it helps your body cleanse itself of infected and underfunctioning cells as well as other debris, which is better overall for your immune system.

If you’re fighting a winter cold, intermittent fasting could do you some good. If you stop eating at 7 pm the night before, you could hold off on eating breakfast until either 10 am or closer to noon. Drink water and herbal teas in between meals to stay hydrated.

If you feel your body needs the nutrition, though, then definitely don’t hold back. It’s about what feels best for you. It’s not uncommon to have a loss of appetite with an illness. Listen to your body. Maybe liquids are all you need for a period of time.

peppermint essential oil with fresh mint

Step 5: Aromatherapy

One of the biggest concerns when you have a cold is nasal congestion, because you can’t breathe. Aromatherapy can help you relieve congestion and keep you relaxed in the process. The best ways to use essential oils are either with a diffuser, in a hot bath, mixed with a carrier oil to massage on to your head and neck, in a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation or on a hot or cold compress.

Here’s a list of the most common essential oils to use for a cold:

  • Lemon: super powerful for clearing congestion
  • Peppermint: helps relieve coughs
  • Lavender: anti-anxiety, stress-relief
  • Eucalyptus: antiviral properties
  • Tea tree: antiviral and antibacterial (Not good for animals though!)

On top of supporting your health, essential oils diffused in a room or used in a spray to clean surfaces can reduce the spread of infection to other members of your home. And if there are a lot of you living in one place, then preventing the spread of infection is paramount!

energy medicine can help prevent a winter cold

Step 6: Energy Routine

Energy medicine includes things like acupuncture, reiki and other often eastern or indigenous traditions of medicine. A marvelous woman named Donna Eden produced an amazing book titled, “Energy Medicine”, in which she reviews several different energy systems that make up our subtle energy body.

In the book, Eden shares a daily practice to ensure your energy body is in beautiful, working order. If it’s not, then it’s likely that your physical body will be manifesting signs and symptoms of dysfunction.

The daily practice Donna teaches in her book helps to prevent or even correct those physical manifestations. If you’re interested in teaching yourself, then it’s easy to learn from her instruction. Otherwise, there are many easy-to-access energy workers in most communities.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Kicking a Winter Cold

Step 7: Rest

Now that you’ve completed the above six steps you’re ready to lie down and let your body get to work healing itself.

Often we’re unable to stay home from work or stop other responsibilities when we are unwell. We have to be super sick to do so. But if you can get the opportunity for a little extra rest, then take it. Even if it’s only 15 to 30 minutes of extra sleep at night by going to bed early or sleeping in.

If you act quickly and consistently with these remedies, then you’ll be successful in diminishing the severity and length of your viral infection, and you won’t be taken out of commission for too long or at all!

The goal with all of these natural remedies is to give your body the best possible conditions in which it can heal itself. It’s not medicine prescribed by a doctor that will definitely cure you. They’re supplements and practices that create an environment within which your body can heal itself. When you give this to yourself you’ll be surprised at how quickly your body can recover. And if you extrapolate some of these practices to everyday living, then you can prevent illness in the future.

Image via Getty Images


Megan K
Megan Kaiser2 months ago


Megan K
Megan Kaiser2 months ago


Megan K
Megan Kaiser2 months ago


Megan K
Megan Kaiser2 months ago


Val P
Val P2 months ago


Sherry Kohn
Sherry K2 months ago

Many thanks to you !

Mike R
Mike R2 months ago


Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Carole R
Carole R2 months ago

Thanks for the good ideas.

Tabot T
Tabot T2 months ago

Thanks for sharing!