With cold weather, fatigue, stress and lack of sleep, colds are quick to take advantage of weakened immune systems. Here's a look at some of the natural remedies available to help you bounce back.

Unblock noses with essential oils

Place two drops of antibacterial niaouli essential oil and three drops of decongestant eucalyptus radiata essential oil onto a handkerchief or tissue and inhale as needed throughout the day.

Boost the immune system's natural defenses with vitamin C

Tuck into citrus fruit like mandarines, lemons, oranges and grapefruits as well as kiwis. These are particularly rich in vitamin C, which has antiviral properties. Try to favor whole, fresh fruit. If you have a cold, you can take up to 1000mg of vitamin C per day. Between seasons, dietary intake can be boosted with a supplement of 500mg per day.

Try a course of grapefruit seed extract as soon as symptoms appear. Dilute 15 drops in a glass of water three times a day.

A hot toddy of lemon juice and honey is a highly effective remedy. Add fresh grated ginger for a warming touch.

Keep microbes at bay with herbal infusions

Thyme is a great choice thanks to its antibacterial properties. Echinacea can also be consumed in herbal teas to slightly relieve the intensity of symptoms like congestion, runny noses, sore throats and headaches. Lavender and yarrow can help dilate airways.

Get more sleep

Colds generally last for around 10 days. To optimize recovery, try to get to bed early, rest as much as possible and keep warm. In the evening, a relaxing essential oil massage can be helpful, recommends expert Danièle Festy. Mix two drops of antiviral ravintsara essential oil, one drop of antibacterial tea tree oil, one drop of eucalyptus radiata essential oil and one drop of rosewood essential oil to a large drop of plant-based carrier oil (apricot, almond). Apply to the sinuses, the sides of the nose, the neck and behind the ears.