By Parul Ferrie, BSc, DCHM Homeopath –

In Canada, active flu season roughly starts in November and ends in March. Health Canada recommends the flu vaccine, but there are those who prefer the natural route, or cannot have the vaccine for health or religious reasons. Here are a few things you can do to prevent & treat colds and flus this season:


Also known as “h​uang qi”, A​stragalus is used in Chinese medicine as a lung tonic. Its a great immune booster for people who get recurring colds and infections of the respiratory tract. Try it in a tincture format or in an immune boosting formula called Deep Immune by St. Francis.


Loaded with antibacterial and antiviral volatile oils such as Thymol and Carvacol, Oregano is a staple for cold and flu prevention. Look for oil or capsules with least 70% Carvacol content. I like the New Roots brand for its high Carvacol content and smooth flavour.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is often associated with bone health, but it is an important nutrient for maintaining and enhancing immunity. A minimum of 1000IU per day is recommended, but if you work indoors or have darker skin, you need a higher dose. Talk to your natural practitioner to discuss your individual dosage.


Taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, Oscillococcinum can shorten the duration and severity of symptoms. Each dose consists of a vial of pellets, which must be taken when you have a neutral palette (ie, away from food, drinks or mouthwash!). Take one vial every 6 hours for a total of 3 vials.


With anti­viral properties, Elderberry can be used to boost the immunity and shorten duration of a cold or flu. Elderberry is often found in a honey­based syrup which is great for kids. Suro is a Canadian brand with north american Elderberry, often more potent than its European counterpart.

Recipe: Easy Cold & Flu Tea

Warm yourself up with a cup of Ginger tea. Ginger boosts immunity, aids digestion, and reduces inflammation. Simmer 6 slices of ginger root in a cup and half of spring or filtered water. Strain and add juice of half a lemon, and sweeten with a teaspoon raw honey.