Beating the common cold and flu

Have you noticed the red noses and croaky voices recently? As autumn sets in it seems the cold and flu are doing the rounds again. I have come up with a list of ingredients to keep in your cupboard and fridge for the coming winter months to keep your immune system on top form ready to fight off any invaders.

Elderberry increases immune activity to show 93% more rapid recovery from influenza1 . The berry contains a rich level of vitamin C which is supportive for the immune system and plant properties called flavonoids such as quercetin and anthocyanins which have health benefits. These flavonoids ‘blunt’ spikes on the outside of viruses such as the common flu to stop it from entering the cells to reproduce2 .

Cinnamon and cloves both work as a nice antibacterial against any bacteria3 , the cinnamon has the additional benefit of reducing muscle pain4 .

Manuka Honey has antibacterial activity that inhibits the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacteria that causes sore throats.

Oranges and lemons are rich in vitamin C to work as a natural antiviral, the lemon also supports digestion which is often sluggish during a cold.

Ginger works as a natural antiviral5 fighting against the flu6 . Ginger is also commonly used for nausea which can be a common side effect of the common cold or flu.

The ingredients are easy to add to your diet, ginger sprinkled on fruit or an all time winter favourite is lemon, honey and hot water.

For your friends or family in front of the fire for the Halloween and Christmas season, you can serve up a warm glass of alcohol free mulled wine. You can even show off with your knowledge of why this tasty festive drink is going to help keep them fighting fit through the winter.

Alcohol free mulled wine

Serves 2


  • 400g of elderberries
  • 1.25 litres of water
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • 50g raisins
  • 10 cloves
  • 3 large oranges
  • 3 tablespoons of manuka honey
  • ¼ lemon
  • 1 piece of ginger root (grated)


  1. Grate the zest from the oranges and lemon, and then juice them with the elderberries and add the cloves.
  2. Place all the above into a large saucepan.
  3. Add the water, honey, cinnamon sticks, grated ginger and raisins.
  4. Heat the mixture for 20 mins, try not to let it simmer.
  5. Remove from the heat and drain through a sieve into a large punch bowl.
  6. Your wine is now ready to serve.

What makes mulled wine good for the immune system:

When you are making this drink for a festive event for your friends, you can tell them what is so great about this yummy concoction to keep them feeling great.


  1. Kong. Pilot Clinical Study on a Proprietary Elderberry Extract: Efficacy in Addressing Influenza Symptoms. J Pharmacol Pharmacokin. 2009; 5: 32-43.
  2. Mumcuoglu. 1995. Sambucus nigra (L), Black Elderberry Extract: A breakthrough in the treatment of influenza. RSS Publishing.
  3. Singh HB, Srivastava M, Singh AB, Srivastava AK. Cinnamon bark oil, a potent fungitoxicant against fungi causing respiratory tract mycoses. Allergy 1995;50:995–9. Soliman KM & Badeaa RI, Food Chem Toxicol, 2002, Nov;40(11): 1669-75.
  4. SHOKRI MASHHADI, N., GHIASVAND, R., ASKARI, G., FEIZI, A., HARIRI, M., DARVISHI, L., BARANI, A., TAGHIYAR, M., SHIRANIAN, A., HAJISHAFIEE, M.. Influence of Ginger and Cinnamon Intake on Inflammation and Muscle Soreness Endued by Exercise in Iranian Female Athletes. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, North America, 1, mar. 2013. Available at: . Date accessed: 12 Oct. 2015.
  5. Denyer CV, Jackson P, Loakes DM, Ellis MR and Young David AB, Isolation of antirhinoviral sesquiterpenes from ginger (Zingiber officinale), J Nat Prod 1994;57(5):658-662.
  6. Mondal S, Varma S, et al. Double-blinded randomized control trial for immunomodulatory effect of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaf extract on healthy volunteers. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2011; 136(3):452-6.