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Home Remedies for the Flu + a Flu Fighting Essential Oil Blend {14 Ways to Treat the Flu Naturally}

School being back in session signals not only the end of summer, but also that flu season is right around the corner. If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on over the counter treatments that are filled with chemicals that don’t really do your body any good. You would rather help to heal yourself naturally instead. Luckily there are quite a few home remedies for the flu that can actually help you learn how to treat the flu naturally.

Winter is coming and flu season too! These 23 tried and true home remedies for the flu can help keep  you from getting sick and to heal faster if you do!

Since the flu is a virus, you can’t cure it with these home remedies for the flu, but what you can do is treat the symptoms. While you very likely won’t be able to make them go away completely,  you can provide some relief for yourself when you treat those symptoms. Anyone who has had the flu knows that treating the symptoms of the flu can really make a difference in feeling like you’re half dead and feeling okay. Below the list of home remedies for the flu, you’ll find an essential oil blend for fighting the flu. We’ve used it in our home and it has made a huge difference.

Home Remedies for the Flu

For some of these, they’ll treat the fever. Some will treat the cough and others the aches and pains that come with having the flu. There isn’t one single home remedy for the flu that will treat all of your symptoms at once so you’ll have to play around until you find a group that generally makes you feel better. The flu is a viral illness so there isn’t much that modern medicine can do except for what you will be doing here…treat the symptoms.

As always, we are not doctors here at Six Dollar Family and this information should not be used in place of visiting a doctor.

Stay Hydrated –

We all know that water is a necessary evil for our bodies, but that is never more important than when you have the flu. Making sure you stay hydrated will help deal with some of the congestion that you’re likely dealing with. To help loosen mucus, drink warm water in the form of your favorite herbal teas. Eucalyptus tea, rosemary tea, thyme tea and peppermint tea are all great options. Don’t stop with warm water though. Make sure that you’re getting your 8 glasses a day to help hydrate your body so that it has what it needs to fight off the flu virus.

Keep your nutrient (and energy) levels up –

Not only do you need to keep your water intake up, but you’ll also want to make sure you’re still getting the nutrients that your body needs so much. This means eating a diet full of dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale. If you can’t eat, try taking supplements like what are found in Thrive products since they will be easier on an already upset stomach than a full meal. The vitamins and minerals that are in them will help ease some of the flu symptoms that you’re suffering.  If you can eat, make sure that you’re eating dark, leafy greens and plenty of fruit to help fill your body with the nutrition that it needs. Fruit has an added benefit too in that it is is watery which will help you stay hydrated.

Steam – 

Steam is your friend when you’re dealing with coughing and congestion. You can use it in a couple of different ways. The first is to fill your sink with hot water and add a couple of drops of Eucalyptus essential oil. Lean over the sink and cover your head with a towel. Breathe deeply to breathe in the steam and helpful essential oil. The second is to climb into the shower with the water as hot as you can possibly stand it. Let the steam accumulate and breathe deeply. We usually prefer this method in our home. We’ll add in a homemade vapor shower disc to help loosen things up even more. Most of the time we come out of the shower feeling much better.

Cinnamon, Honey and Lemon Tea –

If you’re coughing a lot, this tried and true home remedy for the flu will help. Mix up a glass of “tea” with warm water, 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1-2 tablespoons of raw honey and a fresh lemon. Sip is slowly and it will help soothe your sore throat as well as help you cough less. If you need a quick fix and don’t have time for a cup of tea, a tablespoon of raw honey by itself can help in a pinch. Make sure that your honey is raw honey and not the processed stuff that you find in most stores. Raw honey isn’t overly processed so it keeps all of the antioxidants and things that help it heal so well. Processed honey will have very little of that left.

Cayenne Pepper – 

Cayenne pepper is great for opening up congested nasal passages. You won’t want to take it by itself, but eating something with a little cayenne pepper in it can help. This isn’t a permanent fix, but if you need a bit of quick relief to blow some of that gunk out of your nose, this is it.

Neti Pot – 

While it may not be the most comfortable feeling in the world, using a neti pot can go a very long way toward clearing out nasal passages that are congested. If you’re like me, you won’t want to use it more than once or twice because it is so uncomfortable, but the relief it will give you is totally worth it.

Tart Cherry Juice – 

Last year I discovered the huge benefits of tart cherry juice and if you are looking for home remedies for the flu, it won’t get much better. Tart cherry juice is known as a natural ibuprofen which makes it fantastic for treating aches and pains that come along with having the flu. I prefer to use tart cherry juice concentrate and make it into a tea, but as long as you’re using 100% real tart cherry juice, you’ll still get the benefits of it.

Elderberry Syrup –

Elderberry syrup was used in Panama to treat a flu epidemic in 1995 which means that a quality, organic elderberry syrup needs to be on your list of home remedies for the flue. Elderberries are full of antioxidants that can not only help keep you from getting sick, but can help you heal when you are sick by boosting your immune system. Aside from boosting your immune system, they are also great for treating coughs and colds, infections and tonsillitis. Added benefit? It will also help lower your cholesterol. Even better? It is safe for your kids to take.

Vitamin C –

We all need vitamin c in our diets on a regular basis, but this has never been more true than when you are sick. There is evidence that shows that taking vitamin c at the onset of a cold or the flu can reduce the symptoms by as much as 85%. Taking a vitamin C supplement when you start to feel bad and continuing it throughout the illness will very likely help you feel much better, much quicker.

Zinc –

Zinc is another one that you’ll want to add when you’re sick. To make things easiest on  yourself, choose a zinc lozenge with at least 9 mg of zinc. You should take 9-24 mg per day and only take it for the first couple of days that you’re feeling sick. Once those first couple of days are past, it won’t do any good to add the zinc.

Echinacea – 

Echinacea is known for its immune boosting properties so drinking your favorite Echinacea tea is one of the most well known home remedies for the flu. Because of the immune properties, drinking Echinacea tea as soon as you start to feel badly or after you’ve been exposed to someone who is sick will either help keep you from getting sick or shorten the time that you are sick.

Ginseng –

American ginseng, like Echinacea, is great for helping to boost your immune system. Taking a ginseng supplement at the onset of when you’re feeling the flu coming on or when you’ve been around someone who is sick can significantly improve your symptoms.

Tepid bath – 

If you’re running a fever, taking a tepid bath can help bring it down. To be a “tepid” temperature, the water should be neither warm or cold. The best way to remember it is the same way you heat a baby’s bottle. If you can’t feel the temperature on your wrist, it’s just right.

Chicken soup – 

Your grandma was right that chicken soup does more than feeds the soul. In fact, it has actually be scientifically studied enough to say that chicken soup does have healing and immune boosting properties. This is most likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Aside from that, most recipes are seasoned with herbs that also have healing properties and since soups are full of broth, they will also help keep you hydrated. When you are feeling sick or think you’re coming down with something, fixing a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup can and will do you a world of good. Try to stay away from the canned stuff. It’s fill of sodium that won’t do you any good if you’re sick and could in fact dehydrate you which is bad juju if you’re sick.

Apple Cider Vinegar – 

Apple cider vinegar may not taste the greatest but it has a whole slew of health benefits. One of those benefits is that it helps to alkalize the body and kill viruses and bacteria. To use it as a home remedy for the flu, drink 1 tablespoon of an organic apple cider vinegar with the mother in 8 oz of water at the first sign that you’re getting sick. Repeat every hour or two until your symptoms are gone. Make sure that you get your ACV with the Mother (the spidery web part of it) because there is some evidence that the Mother contains proteins, enzymes and bacteria that can help you get over the flu quicker.

Garlic – 

While garlic is a tasty and delicious seasoning, garlic is also a very powerful antibiotic. It is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial which makes it great for the vast majority of illnesses. You can make yourself a garlic drink that while it won’t taste great, absolutely will help you to feel better. Finely mince 1 clove of garlic and soak into 6 oz of water. Drink it fast and you likely won’t taste it too much.

Hydrogen Peroxide – 

Clogged ears are one symptom of the flu that drives me absolutely nuts. Aside from the pain, you also have the pressure that builds and usually a significant loss in hearing because they’re so plugged up. Hydrogen peroxide works extremely well in this case. Turn your head to the side and drop a few drops of peroxide into your ear canal. Let it sit and bubble for a few minutes then tip the liquid out of your ear. It won’t hurt but it might tickle quite a bit as it works its way down. This one is great for kids too and is also a fantastic home remedy for ear infections.

Dandelion Root Tea –

Dandelion root tea is known for its detoxifying properties which makes it great to drink when you’re sick. It will help flush out the toxins that are built up in your body. I like to drink a glass every morning mixed with ACV and tart cherry juice concentrateFor someone who is sick, it works really well to help speed healing and recovery.

Chamomile Tea –

There are so many benefits to drinking herbal tea that it’s almost ridiculous and a warm glass of Chamomile tea is a great home remedy for the flu. Aside from the calming effects, Chamomile can also be used to help bring down a fever. This makes it a very, very effective home remedy for not just the flu but for a lot of situations.

Vitamin D3 –

Vitamin D is an incredibly important part of our diet and that is especially true when you’re sick. Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory which can help with aches and pains, but it also helps to create anti-microbial antibodies that are needed to give your immune system a boost. Taking a vitamin D supplement everyday, whether you’re sick or not, can not only help to prevent the flu but can also speed recovery when you are sick.

Oregano essential oil –

Most people don’t realize that oregano is a powerful antiviral and antibiotic which means that oregano essential oil needs to be in your flu first aid kit. To use while you’re sick, diffuse a few drops in your diffuser or add 5-10 drops to an essential oil roller ball. Fill the roller ball with the carrier oil of your choice and use a small amount on the bottom of your feet.

Thyme essential oil –

Thyme is another great way to fight an infection which again, makes it an extremely effective home remedy for the flu. You can use it two different ways. The first is that you can steep thyme and make it into a tea. It won’t taste great at all but it will help your body fight the infection. The second is that you can use thyme essential oil rubbed on your feet. I will caution you that pregnant women and small children shouldn’t use thyme as a home remedy. It isn’t safe.

Coconut oil – 

Great for cooking and for making homemade products, coconut oil can also help you fight off the flue. It is high in lauric acid and research shows that it can help dissolve the lipid coating around some viruses making it easier for your immune system to attack them. If you’re sick, try to get 5-6 tablespoons per day either in food or stirred into a glass of herbal tea.


Flu Fighting Essential Oil Blend

As I said earlier, there are several essential oils that can help you fight the flu. Making them into a rollerball blend is a great way to have an effective treatment already on hand. You’ll want to use a dark glass rollerball since light can destroy the healing properties of the essential oil. Also, the brand of essential oil doesn’t matter much as long as you’re using 100% pure oil that isn’t cut with anything. I personally prefer NOW Foods or Plant Therapy brands. I know that they’re both good quality oils at a fraction of what some companies charge for them. Plant Therapy actually provides test results for each of their oils right on the product page too which goes a long way with me.


Add your drops of essential oil to your rollerball. Top off with your carrier oil. To use, rub on your feet or the back of your neck twice a day.


Winter is coming and flu season too! These 23 tried and true home remedies for the flu can help keep  you from getting sick and to heal faster if you do!



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Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family . By the age of 30, she had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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  1. These are really great home remedies! I’ve never had the flu before, hopefully that won’t change this year!

  2. bonnie buchman says:

    I definately bookmarked these very simple.economical. and informational home remedies for the flu. Who knew these common oils could have so many uses?!

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