When you’re feeling sick, nothing can cheer you up quite like a little care package from a friend (or, let’s be honest, mom). I love the idea of passing on the kindness by making a kit to giveaway next time a friend or family member is feeling under the weather.
For this year’s cold and flu season, we’ve stocked up on these 11 tried-and-true natural home remedies that make the perfect get well kit.
We’re big fans of natural remedies for pesky colds and annoying sinus infections, and this basket includes recipes for our favorite – and most effective – treatments. Most of them you can DIY so you might want to make an extra batch for yourself – just in case!
Natural Remedy Get Well Kit
11 goodies for this year’s cold and flu season:
1. Eucalyptus for steam inhalation (see below)
3. Aromatherapy bath salts to help clear the sinuses, relax tension and relieve sinus headaches
4. Herbal tea. While there is no cure for the common cold, herbal teas can help you feel better when you’re sick, especially if they contain ingredients like lemon, honey, echinacea, ginger and elderberry.
5. Herbal cough drops (homemade is great too!) for sore throats and chest congestion. Look for ones that contain real honey, which is said to soothe mucus membranes and support the immune system.
6. Organic chicken soup + saltines
7. Healing balm (great for chapped lips, hands, or anywhere that needs some TLC)
8. Honey + lemon (for tea and turmeric tonic)
9. Spices for turmeric tonic
10. Antiseptic hand sanitizing spray to keep the rest of the family from getting sick
11. Homemade elderberry syrup is said to help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms. The berries and flowers of the elderberry plant are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that some say may help boost your immune system. The potent antioxidant in elderberry syrup can help tame inflammation, lessen stress, help protect your heart and improve cell turnover in a pinch.
Fresh Eucalyptus Steam Inhalation
Eucalyptus has long been known to provide healing benefits due to it being naturally anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and a natural decongestant. It’s especially helpful for respiratory infections.
If you can get your hands on some fresh eucalyptus, it’s easier than ever to make a natural steam inhalation to help clear out the sinuses and respiratory tract.
Ask at your local florist and I bet they’ll have some eucalyptus – just make sure it’s organic or unsprayed, if possible. Use it just like you would the fresh leaves.
To a pot of water, add about 3-4 tablespoons of fresh eucalyptus leaves (look for the baby blue eucalyptus as opposed to the silver dollar variety, since it contains the oils we need), or a few whole stems. Bring to a rolling boil.
Remove from heat and hold face about 12 inches above pot and cover head and pot completely with a towel. Take slow, deep breaths, closing eyes to prevent irritation. Repeat as needed.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Steam Inhalation
If fresh eucalyptus isn’t available, essential oil can be used in place of fresh stuff. Eucalyptus is a popular ingredient in chest balms and muscle massage oils. It has a menthol constituent to it that helps us open up and breathe easy.
Add 1-2 drops of oil to a sink of hot water. Close your eyes and inhale deeply; you can drape a towel over your head to trap the steam. Great for a stuffy nose and sinuses.
Or diffuse a few drops in a room with a simple reed diffuser or buy a diffuser like this one that covers a larger area. You can also add 2-3 drops to a humidifier or a pot of water on the stove. Avoid direct use of eucalyptus with infants and young children.
Eucalyptus Shower Steam Inhalation
Create your own steam inhalation remedy by sprinkling a few drops of eucalyptus and/or peppermint oil around the shower, then turn up the water to as warm as you can stand it. You can also use a homemade aromatherapy shower tablet with congestion-clearing essential oils or a shower steamer with menthol.89