Best natural cold and flu remedies for children

Jenny Ringland and Erica Watson, co-founders of Green+Simple, share some nutritionist-appoved child-friendly home remedies to fight colds and flu this winter.

Winter is synonymous with warm coats, woollen jumpers, muddy puddles and Christmas Carols but annoyingly, it also goes hand-in-hand with cold and flu season. And when the coughs and sniffles hit, reaching for over-the-counter medicine is usually the first line of defence. However, natural remedies can be just as effective at relieving symptoms; they can also shorten the duration of a cold, and more importantly help prevent them in the first place.

Here are our best nutritionist-approved natural remedies for kids – and grown ups – to help fight the dreaded lurgy. 


A favourite of nutritionist Zoe Dent’s is a daily immune master tonic shot – a child-friendly version of fire cider – which is a traditional recipe drawing on seasonal herbs and spices that helps fight coughs, colds and sore throats. Zoe’s version includes onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, lemon, herbs and apple cider vinegar and requires a two week fermenting process. But if you make it now it will get you through winter.

“I mix a tablespoon of the tonic with honey or orange juice for my kids,’’ Zoe says.

See Zoe Dent’s immune master tonic recipe (pictured above)


It’s an oldie but a goodie. Chicken soup isn’t just a great comfort food when you’re feeling poorly, it’s naturally hydrating and a great immune booster for kids and adults alike.

“Homemade broth-based soups with added garlic and lemon are great for kids. They boost immunity and are anti-inflammatory, which helps with congestion,’’ says Zoe. 



Vitamin C, D and zinc are key immune-boosting nutrients often deficient in kids’ diets, says Zoe. Rather than sugar-filled gummy supplements, Zoe recommends consulting an integrated healthcare professional for an alternative.

“We love a natural vitamin C powder made from organic goji berry, acerola cherry, rose hips, camu camu and kakadu plum that I mix with water for my kids to have with breakfast during flu season,’’ she says.


Rather than a cup of warm milk before bed (which Zoe says can be mucus-forming) try a weak herbal tea instead.

“My kids love a soothing honey ginger, elderberry or chamomile tea at night before bed. They love the novelty of having a drink usually associated with adults!”

If tea is a success with your kids, naturopath and author Anthia Koullouros suggests brewing dried elderberries.

“It contains active ingredients like anthocyanins – a bioflavanoid that can soothe inflammation and irritation and also act as an expectorant – which is the soothing of air passages to help with  a cough,’’ Anthia says.



“Sourced from New Zealand, Manuka honey has unique properties not found in ordinary honey. It is traditionally used as an anti-bacterial and is proven to inhibit the development of strep throat,” says Anthia. 

How to use it; In the same way you use regular honey – try it added in lemon and hot water (if your little ones are into lemon) otherwise on toast or drizzled over berries or their cereal.