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Zero Waste Cold and Flu Remedies

Sustainable Wellness

Last Updated on April 9, 2020

Without fail, come January, I’m going to get a cold. 

It’s inevitable. Like clock work, the sniffles are coming with a fever and a massive headache. 

Zero Waste Cold and Flu Remedies from #zerowaste #ecofriendly #gogreen #sustainable #DIY #allnatural #coldandflu

I don’t care how healthy you are or how well you eat, you can’t avoid being sick forever. I do believe that by taking good care of yourself, the length of time you’re sick will probably decrease. But, I don’t think you can entirely avoid it. 

Whenever I’m feeling under the weather, here are a few of my go-to zero waste remedies. 



There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea to make you feel better. I’ve also been known to make a hot toddy with a splash of Southern Comfort. 

Being zero waste, I try to stick to loose leaf tea. Did you know that most tea bags are made with plastic? 

I would prefer not to steep my drink in carcinogens. This video from the BBC shows how they’re made. 

fermented foods:

I don’t eat as many fermented foods as I should, but my diet definitely contains it’s fair share. It’s probably what I accredit most to my shorter sickness periods. 

Fermented foods help with gut health, and gut health help regulates over all wellness in the body. 

When I’m sick, my go to feel better food is miso soup. I keep miso past on hand from rainbow grocery

I mix 1 tablespoon of miso paste for every 8oz of water. I like to sip on this for lunch. I’m not typically hungry when I’m sick. 

elderberry syrup:

I have a whole post on elderberry syrup. Taking a spoonful makes me feel kind of like Mary Poppins. 

raw honey: 

Justin and I both have pretty bad seasonal allergies. We help combat them with with local raw honey. I try to infuse it in lots of our snacks. I always load it up in our tea or put it in these cookie dough bites

If you have seasonal allergies, look for local raw honey in your area. It’s good to start taking it a couple of months before allergy season. 

plenty of hankies:

You’ve heard me say it a hundred times, blowing your nose with a cloth hanky is just so much better for your nose. There’s no chaffing! 

Plus having something beautiful to blow your nose into, makes you feel just a little better. 

a hot shower: 

Any time I’m feeling congested, I love to hope into a hot shower. The steam helps me breathe easy. It’s even better with hanging Eucalyptus. 

Eucalyptus helps open up your nasal passages so you can breathe easier. You can learn more from my blog post How to Use Eucalyptus in the Shower.

What are some of your go to natural remedies for being sick? 

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  1. Great tips, Kathryn! What a great idea to hang eucalyptus in your shower. I’ll often put a few drops of essential oil on the floor of the shower for the same effect if I’m feeling congested…but my favourite zero-waste cold and flu strategy would have to be lots of rest! ^_^

  2. A few weeks ago was the first time in several years that I caught a cold. The best treatment of all is to rest as much as possible so I took two sick days from work, (I am very grateful to have them, I know many people who don’t have a choice.) I made my own cough syrup with thyme, honey, and lemon. It worked very well. I also use mullein when the cough becomes dry and unproductive. Fortunately I can get it in small glass bottles which can be reused for other things. I agree about the eucalyptus, I add the essential oil, along with sage, to a bowl of boiling water to steam my lungs.

  3. My flu and cold utility belt include: cayenne pepper and lemon tea (Jamaican remedy and I swear by it!), master tonic (used for cold prevention), lemon water or orange juice, chicken soup (for prevention and to get over a cold)

  4. I dont actually own one yet, but for a little while now I’ve been wanting to get a neti pot to help with nasal congestion.

  5. Hi Kathryn,

    Ginger root tea is my witch doctor trick. Slice it up, boil 5 mins and drink it up. Easy. You can reboil it without a problem, or serve it from the fridge. I tote mine in my thermos when I feel the first signs of a cold and it shuts it right down. It’s magic, surely.

  6. Kathyrn,

    I love Olbas oil. It’s an all natural, decongestant inhalant. You simply put a few drops on a hanky and breath it in. Olbas oil is amazing, I recommend you give it a try.