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When the annual onslaught of colds, flu and other viruses is getting under way, here are some resources for natural remedies to help you stay well – and to help you get well if you succumb to one of the bugs.

Prevention is priority one. Keep your hands away from your face! Wash your hands often, especially: before eating, food preparation or leaving the restroom and after meeting, shaking hands or sneezing

Fluids: extra, extra: clear unsweetened liquids help the body to eliminate toxins and stay lubricated.

Vitamin C: 500-1000 mg daily to protect cells of respiratory tract and boost immunity

Zinc: 15-30 mg daily to increase immune cell defense

Probiotics: 3 billion + organisms of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium – protects immune cell of intestinal tract

Flu vaccines: Elderly or immune-compromised individuals should discuss this with their doctor

Flu nosodes: Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy based on the current flu strain

Natural Remedies

Anti-virals: Echinacea, goldenseal, berberis, vitamin C, zinc and probiotics are natural remedies available over the counter

Stuffy nose: NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) -500 mg –twice daily-loosens mucus; Vitamin C and Quercetin are natural anti-histamines

Cough: NAC – natural remedies for chest congestion, bronchitis and stimulating the immune system. Consider mullein (tincture) and marshmallow root (tea)

Diarrhea: Most important: Rest the gut with a clear liquid diet for 24 hours or until the diarrhea stops.
Natural remedies include useful botanicals such as echinacea, sambucus, licorice, marshmallow root and slippery elm.

Fever: In general, a low grade fever (less than 102) is best left alone unless it lasts more than 48 hours Bundle up, sip warm fluids, stay in bed and sweat it out! Be sure to stay hydrated. Warming socks can be very helpful at night, especially if there is a respiratory component to the illness. We also mix customized natural remedies and tinctures during clinic hours. Call or e-mail me and I will send you the protocol!

Please note that these recommendations are general in nature. If you have a chronic disease or other significant health problems, consult with your doctor before using any of these treatments. (*Specific product recommendations given are from reputable companies with verifiable research and standards)


Dr. Ellen Sauter is a naturopathic physician practicing general family medicine at The Benchmark Clinic of Integrative Medicine in NW Portland. She treats patients on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Fridays, and can be reached at 503-223-7067.