It’s a familiar circumstance for many that just a few weeks in to a "new year, new you," you find yourself surrounded by the sniffling sounds of the dreaded winter bug. For many, a natural reaction is to reach for that granulated vitamin C power bomb packet that promises to boost your immune system and fight off that oncoming cold. But does this stuff really work?

There is much debate on whether these so-called immunity boosters are effective at all. The main argument is that products like Airborne and Emergen-C are filled with ascorbic acid, which is essentially a synthetic form of Vitamin C and its effectiveness has been challenged extensively. These products also contain a number of additives including maltodextrin, a highly controversial sugar additive.

They're definitely not the clean health we’re looking for.

So what to do when you feel that cold approaching? Here are some natural (and simple!) alternatives to keep your year cold-free and detoxified:

1. Make Your Own Vitamin-C Powder

sweet, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, citrus, juice
Ellen Gibbs

Okay, this one takes a couple more minutes of your time than the packets but the health benefits far outweigh anything that chemical fizz can do for you. And once you make it, you can keep it stored away for whenever you need it.

All-Natural Vitamin C Powder

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:2 days
  • Total Time:2 days 5 mins
  • Servings:0
  • Easy


  • 5 oranges
  • Step 1

    Peel your oranges in to thick strips

  • Step 2

    Lay out to dry, covered with a clean cloth, for 2 days.

  • Step 3

    Place peels in a grinder/processer and pulse until it becomes a fine powder.

  • Step 4

    Store in an airtight container.

2. Pick Up Some Elderberry Syrup

This one was news to me, but apparently the fruit’s superpower effects have been studied for some time. Elderberry syrup is packed with natural immune-boosting antioxidants and studies show it slows down viral activity in the body. You can cook the syrup down yourself but I find elderberries are not readily available in grocery stores. Instead, search for elderberry syrup in your local grocer (Whole Foods always has a great selection) or pick one up online. The best part-- this stuff is way more delicious than that fizzy chemical drink can ever be.

3. Add a Spoon Full of Raw Honey

molasses, tea, whisky, oil, honey, maple syrup, wine, alcohol, liquor, syrup
Stephanie Lee

Raw honey boasts many benefits from skincare to health, and its ability to fight off an infection makes it a useful remedy to the common cold. Honey contains multiple properties that kill bacterial cells, partly due to its high sugar concentration. Because it's non-perishable, you can keep this on your shelves until you have something to fight, or take a teaspoon a day which is said to help prevent the onset of the cold.

Other known uses to power-housing that cold? Turmeric, garlic, and ginger are all natural alternatives to help you out.

Stay healthy, friends.