Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

Posted By digging roots on Oct 31, 2018 in Health, Herbal Medicine | 4 comments


It’s been cold and grey lately and I feel the seasons changing. We have had a lovely, colorful fall with a lot of sunny days. But Fall is giving way to Winter. The darker, more thoughtful days are here. It’s time for us to spend more time inside and catch up on some more quiet, indoor projects.

But with this season always comes the dreaded cold and flu season. It’s been so bad in the last few years. I’d started to have a deathly fear of it until we started to learn more about the immune system and wellness. I had begun to think the bugs are getting worse and worse each year, but now I’m pretty sure it’s just our immune systems that are getting worse and worse. Of course, I’m not a doctor and don’t understand all the details about these things, but it certainly can’t hurt to approach the cold and flu season from a different angle:

Don’t fear it, fight it. Don’t let it happen to you, let you happen to it. Strengthen your body so you don’t get it in the first place.

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In order to strengthen our immune systems, we take some things away from our bodies and we add some things to our body.

Sugar, sugar, sugar. Ahhhh! It’s causing so much harm to the world. We take as much sugar as we can out of our diet. This goes a long way to helping us stay strong.

And as for what we add? Here it is.

Thieves Oil

This is the legendary blend of essential oils that was originally mixed by a group of marauders during the Black Plague that looted the plague victims’ homes. The blends of spices and oils that they rubbed on their bodies before looting kept them safe from the bacteria.

Young Living has their take of these spices in a essential oil blend called “Thieves”. This is an awesome blend and I love it. But because I’m super cheap, I just can’t spend the money they want for that oil, so I’ve blended my own.

There are lots of recipes out there with different proportions of oils, but the main components that all these recipes have in common are lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, cinnamon bark, and clove. I make it from Mountain Rose Herbs organic essential oils, and I also love their recipe. They have good, clear instructions on usage and safety.

This oil smells wonderful and spicy and Christmasy. I add it to the kids’ bath, rub it on our feet, and diffuse it.


Rosehip Tincture

This is something I kind of came up with on my own. I found out that most vitamin C supplements are incomplete and not very usable by the body. It actually takes nutrients from your body to process it. Oh my! I really wanted a good source of vitamin C, and was interested in rosehips, since they have 10-50 times more vitamin C than oranges. But heat destroys vitamin C, so making tea was out of the question.

I decided to make a rosehip tincture. There is some information about this on the internet and in books, but not much. It seems to work great for us and as an added bonus, the kids love it. The tincture turns out tasting somewhat like a syrup and the kids beg for it.

**edited to add** Here’s how I make the tincture:

The basics are that I mix dried rosehips with vodka. You could use glycerin instead of vodka if you are concerned about alcohol.

I usually fill a pint canning jar halfway with dried herbs, then fill it to the top with vodka. For the tincture pictured below, I did the same thing, but I used a quart jar for some reason.

I store it in a dark cupboard and shake it every day for 4-6 weeks. Once the tincture is done, I strain out the marc, or solid chunks of herb, and bottle the finished tincture!

This is a great article about tinctures, glycerites, and vinegars.



Cod Liver Oil

This stuff is so good for you. It’s rich in vitamins A and D, as well as Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 Fatty Acids. It’s good for your mood, skin, bones, and teeth.

But vitamin D is also important in immune function. I think that’s why the flu hits so bad in the winter; we aren’t getting much sunshine and our bodies get depleted of vitamin D. Sunshine is an awesome way to get vitamin D, but in the winter, this is super important that we take this supplement. We use theĀ Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. The kids love the Cinnamon Tingle flavor. It’s spendy, but it lasts a long time and is worth every drop. It’s cheaper than getting dental work done!


I was able to forage a ton of elderberries this summer, and I’ve preserved them to use for this winter. I froze some for fresh eating and dried some for making syrup.

Elderberries are a powerful plant ally that offer antibacterial and antiviral properties and have been used for a very, very long time by many generations of humans. They have been known to kill the H1N1 virus, and in addition to that, they have been found to reduce the severity and length of a cold. Get to know this plant; it is here to help you!



I’ve enjoyed sharing how we prepare for cold and flu season. A healthy immune system is a central to a wonderful, healthy body, so don’t underestimate it! Share with us in the comments what you do to ward off sickness!

If you are interested in keeping up with the progress we are making on the tiny house, be sure to like my Facebook page. I post (nearly) weekly pictures of our progress. I will be blogging more about this journey in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!



  1. Curious about how you made your rosehip tincture?! I’ve made a few experimental ones for the same reason…that vitamin c…but would love a recipe that is kid safe/friendly!

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    • Oh my goodness what a good idea! I had never thought of that before!

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