Natural Cold and Flu Relief: Your Questions Answered

Cold and flu season has arrived, with this year’s season tipped to exceed 2017’s horror flu epidemic.[1] Unfortunately, cold and flu viruses spread easily, and even the strongest among us can succumb to infection. If you do get sick, natural medicines can help you recover faster by supporting your immune defenses, and when taken long-term, can even reduce your risk of getting sick. Before we look into how they do this, let’s examine what happens when we get a viral infection.

Flu virus in the  blood cells

What happens in an acute cold or flu?

Viruses such as influenza and the common cold enter through the nose and mouth, with the goal of multiplying and making your body their new home. These viruses can’t multiply without a human cell, so once they enter your body they immediately start infecting your cells, hijacking them and turning them into virus-replicating factories. They do this by injecting their genetic material into your cells, which both provides a blueprint for how to make more viral particles and forces your cells’ ‘machinery’ to create them. These brand new viral particles then exit the cell and seek out new cells within your body to infect, continuing the cycle of infection.

viruses can’t multiply without a human cell, so once they enter your body they immediately start infecting your cells, hijacking them and turning them into virus-replicating factories.

Fortunately, your body doesn’t just take this lying down. Instead, the infected cells signal danger to the body, stimulating the protective inflammatory response, which allows your immune system to fight back. It does this by sending white blood cells (WBCs) to the infected areas, which then lock on to viral particles and destroy them. Interestingly, rather than being caused by the virus itself, the symptoms that make you feel terrible, such as a sore throat, chills and aches, are actually a side effect of your immune system fighting off the virus. As you can see, the quicker and more effectively your immune system can get rid of the virus, the fewer days you will spend being sick, and the better you will feel.

You need to be sure whether it is actually a viral or bacterial infection or both.

Should I take antibiotics for a viral infection?

Viruses and bacteria are completely different organisms. Antibiotics are designed to destroy bacteria, so viruses are totally unaffected by them. Since antibiotic medications come with side effects, such as disrupting the balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut, it’s worth speaking with your doctor about whether you really need them. For more about how antibiotics affect the gut click here

Do cold and flu tablets cure viral infections?

In one word, no. They contain decongestants, cough suppressants and analgesics which may provide relief of symptoms, however, it’s important to understand that cold and flu tablets do not help you recover from the infection.

Can taking natural medicines help me get better quickly?

The major advantage of natural medicines is they reduce uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms while also helping your immune system fight off viruses faster and more effectively. Taking natural medicines at the first sign of infection means fewer days spent feeling miserable, fewer days off work or school, and more time to enjoy the things you love! When taken on an ongoing basis, many nutrients and herbs can even reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place – good news for those of you who get sick regularly.

The major advantage of natural medicines is they reduce uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms while also helping your immune system fight off viruses faster and more effectively

To help you feel better sooner, here are  many herbs and natural supplements to stimulate your immune and get you feeling back to normal ASAP:


  • Zinc: When taken within 24 hours of the first symptoms of infection, zinc reduces the severity and duration of colds.[5] By boosting the production and function of WBCs, 30 mg/day of zinc helps fight off colds and flu.[6] If you get sick often, taking zinc daily for five months may reduce the occurrence of infection and sickness-related absences from work.[7]
  • Vitamin C: An important nutrient for the immune system, vitamin C reduces symptom severity and duration of the common cold by an average of 23%,[8],[9] cutting the number of days spent feeling unwell by almost a quarter! This vitamin helps by enhancing the movement of WBCs,[10] getting them where they need to go in order to fight the battle.
  • Medicinal mushroomsThe combination of cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), coriolus (Trametes versicolor), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) and shiitake (Lenintula edodes) mushrooms reduces common cold symptoms by enhancing immune strength and function, preventing viruses from entering cells, stimulating WBC activity, and helping your immune system recognise and fight infection more effectively in the future.[11],[12],[13],[14]

What else can I do to get better quickly?

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help yourself feel better and recover faster:

  • Start your natural medicine regime as soon as you feel yourself getting sick – the quicker you get on top of the infection the better you will feel!
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep, taking as much time away from work or school as necessary;
  • Eat nourishing whole foods with plenty of vegetables and easily digested proteins, such as fish or eggs;
  • Consume plenty of fluids such as water, herbal tea and homemade chicken and vegetable broth;
  • Consume plenty of garlic (bonus points for raw!) and onion as they help boost immune function, and
  • Try steam inhalations to reduce congestion.

What should I do if I keep getting sick?

If you suffer from recurrent colds and flus, prevention is better than cure. Check out the blog   “How do I know if I have a cold or flu?” for tips on how to prevent illness, and make an appointment with us for a personalised immune-boosting natural medicine program.


How fast the herbal medicine work?

The best way to describe this is a testimonial of one of my patients.

Every year in Winter and I catch a cold. I travel a lot with my husband. We travel overseas, on cruises and interstates. I seem to be always catching a cold from other people on cruises and other trips. On our previous river cruise to Europe, I was sick in bed most of the time. So before our latest trip (on Ghan train), I decided to see Danuta. She has dispensed me selenium, zinc and a large bottle of the herbal tonic. For the first time in my life, it did not catch a cold on a trip.  

 Sandra 67, Bowral


If you would like to know more about how the DH-Natural Medicine Clinic can help you,  please call us now on

(02) 4854 0205 

Danuta Hulajko is a holistic practitioner, international speaker and the founder & practitioner at the DH Natural Medicine Clinic and in the Southern Highlands.

Danuta specialises in Allergies, Anti-Aging, Auto-Immune Conditions, Cardiovascular Conditions, Female Reproductive, Menopause, Mould Toxicity, Skin Conditions, Stress and Insomnia and Thyroid Dysfunction.

For more information please go to our website. You can also follow Danuta Hulajko’s work, events, seminars, expos, latest health research, her health tips and advice on FacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

[1] The Guardian Australian edition. Flu experts predict 4,000 Australians will die from influenza this year. [Internet]. Date of publication 2019 May 7. Available from:

[2] Poolsup N, Suthisisang C, Prathanturarug S, Asawamekin A, Chanchareon U. Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2004 Feb;29(1):37-45.

[3] Hu XY, Wu RH, Logue M, Blondel C, Lai LY, Stuart B, et al. Andrographis paniculata (Chuān Xīn Lián) for symptomatic relief of acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one. 2017 Aug 4;12(8):e0181780.

[4] Kumar RA, Sridevi K, Kumar NV, Nanduri S, Rajagopal S. Anticancer and immunostimulatory compounds from Andrographis paniculata. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jun 1;92(2-3):291-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.03.004

[5] Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.

[6] Barnett JB, Dao MC, Hamer DH, Kandel R, Brandeis G, Wu D, et al. Effect of zinc supplementation on serum zinc concentration and T cell proliferation in nursing home elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jan 27;103(3):942-51. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.115188.

[7] Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.

[8] Hemilä H. Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold?-a review of current evidence. Scan J Infect Dis. 1994 Jan 1;26(1):1-6. PMID: 8191227.

[9] Maggini S, Beveridge S, Suter M. A combination of high-dose vitamin C plus zinc for the common cold. J Int Med Res. 2012 Feb;40(1):28-42. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2006.09.047

[10] Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(2):85-94. doi: 10.1159/000090495

[11] Chu KK, Ho SS, Chow AH. Coriolus versicolor: a medicinal mushroom with promising immunotherapeutic values. The J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Sep;42(9):976-84. PMID:12211223.

[12] Lin YL, Liang YC, Lee SS, Chiang BL. Polysaccharide purified from Ganoderma lucidum induced activation and maturation of human monocyte‐derived dendritic cells by the NF‐κB and p38 mitogen‐activated protein kinase pathways. J Leukoc Biol. 2005 Aug;78(2):533-43. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0804481

[13] He XJ, Niu X, Li J, Xu S, Lu A. Immunomodulatory activities of five clinically used Chinese herbal polysaccharides. J Exp Integr Med. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):15-27. doi: 10.5455/

[14] Ramberg JE, Nelson ED, Sinnott RA. Immunomodulatory dietary polysaccharides: a systematic review of the literature. Nutr J. 2010 Dec;9(1):54. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-54.

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