19 Home Remedies for Cold That Really work

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Home Remedies For Cold

Common Cold

Cold – an uncomfortable problem faced by many of us at least once in our lifetime.

What Causes Cold?

It is caused by any one of the 200 types of virus responsible for triggering cold. The virus attaches itself to mucus membranes of the nose or throat. It captures our skin cells and forces them to replicate virus cells. When our immune system tries to combat the virus, symptoms like sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose, and congestion pop up.

Symptoms Of Cold

Symptoms of cold interrupt our daily activities and make it difficult to concentrate on anything. In most of the cases, cold goes away on its own in few days to 2 weeks. However in some cases, cold can lead to throat infections, strep throat, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

How To Get Rid Of Cold?

Instead of popping up the antibiotics, we recommend going with natural solutions for a very common problem like cold.  Natural remedies provide relief from the symptoms and boost your immune system to combat the virus. In this article, you will find natural remedies, vitamins to consider for cold treatment, natural antibiotics or anti-viral, and prevention tips.
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Home Remedies for Treating Cold

There are various natural solutions which use common ingredients that are readily available in the kitchen. We have included them below so pick any one that works for you. Make sure to use organic ingredients for the home remedies mentioned below for more effective results.

1. Ginger

Ginger contains antiviral properties which help to combat virus causing cold. It stimulates perspiration and brings down the temperature. It acts as antihistamine and decongestant. This process is effective for treating cold, fever and sore throat. It is also safe for children of 12 months & above age, pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Peel and chop 10 grams of ginger into small pieces.
  • Bring a cup of water to boil and add ginger pieces into it.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the flame.
  • Cover and let it steep until it cools down to room temperature.
  • Strain, add a teaspoon of honey and consume it.
  • Repeat the process 2 times in a day until cold clears.
Note: Add ginger either raw or cooked to your dishes to boost the effectiveness.

2. Garlic

Garlic contains antimicrobial properties that ward off the virus causing cold. It is also known as immunity booster. This process is effective for treating cold, throat infection and viral fever.
  • Into a glass of warm water, add crushed garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Mix well and consume it.
  • Repeat the process 2 – 3 times in a day.
  • For extra benefits, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper into it.
Note: Add fresh garlic or few drops of garlic into your soups, salads or dishes for more effectiveness.

3. Honey and Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Both honey and cinnamon are immune boosters which not only treat cold but also prevent virus from spreading.
  • Combine 1 teaspoon raw honey and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Mix well and consume it.
  • Repeat the process 2 times in a day for 3 days.
Note: If you don’t like to consume it straight, then you can add it a cup of green tea or hot water and consume it.

4. Lemon

Lemon contains a lot of vitamin C which boosts the immune system and support body’s natural defenses. Apart from that, it also helps to balance the pH levels in the throat. This process is effective for people with cold and sore throat. This process is safe for children of 12 months and above.
  • Squeeze a whole lemon into a cup of water.
  • Add honey as per taste and gulp it down or sip slowly throughout the day.
  • For added benefits, you can add ginger or garlic juice into it.
  • Repeat the process 2 times in a day until cold clears.

5. Onion

As per World Health Organization, onion has the ability to provide relief from the symptoms including cold, cough, sore throat, congestion and other respiratory infections.

Method 1: Internal Consumption

  • Cut a red onion into thin slices and place in a glass bowl.
  • Add sugar and honey over it until it properly covers.
  • Cover the bowl and keep it aside in a dark place overnight.
  • In the morning, consume 1 teaspoon of the juice on an empty stomach.
  • Repeat the consumption, 3 – 8 times in a day to get relief from cold.

Method 2: External Application

  • Chop an onion and garlic into thin slices.
  • Massage the bottom on the foot with olive oil.
  • Place a garlic and onion slice on the application and warp with a saran wrap.
  • Wear socks and leave it overnight.
  • In the morning, remove the wrap and rinse the feet thoroughly.
  • Repeat the process once in 3 – 4 days.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar balances pH levels of the body making it difficult for the virus to multiply. The potassium present in it thins down the mucus. This process is effective for treating cold and chest congestion.
  • Into a glass of water, add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Mix well and consume it.
  • Repeat the process regularly.
  • For extra benefits, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or cinnamon powder.
Note: Add apple cider vinegar into your salads for added benefits. Add it to your vaporizer to get relief from blocked nose.

7. Tulsi or Holy Basil

As per a study published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, tulsi leaves is known to stimulate the production of immune cells to protect against the infection. It contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce the body temperature. This process is effective for treating cold and fever.
  • Add handful of tulsi leaves into a cup of boiling water.
  • Cover and let it steep for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Strain and consume the tea.
  • Follow the process 2 times in a day.
  • For taste, you can add a teaspoon of honey.

8. Steam

Steam is one of the effective ways to treat cold and stuffy nose. It not only helps you breath properly but also combats with virus causing cold.
  • Boil 3 – 4 cups of water for few minutes and remove from the flame.
  • Lean forward towards the bowl containing hot water. Make sure your face is at least 30cms away from the water to avoid burns on your face.
  • Cover your head with a towel or bedsheet in such a way that the steam vapors don’t escape.
  • Now breathe through your nostrils and release out from your mouth.
  • Continue doing this for few minutes or until the water is steaming.
  • Repeat the process 2 – 3 times in a day, especially before going to bed for a sound sleep.

9. Saline Solution

It is one of the popular natural remedies that really work for treat cold and nasal congestion. Salt contains antiviral properties which combat against the virus.
  • Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water.
  • Mix well until the salt dissolves completely.
  • Use this solution to rinse the nostril.
  • Repeat the process whenever required.
Note: You can also gargle using the saline solution for the same benefits.

10. Neti Pot

Neti pot cleans the nasal passages, moistens the mucus membranes, loosens the mucus and helps it run down the nose.
  • Combine 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of baking soda (Optional) & a cup of distilled water.
  • Take a neti pot and pour the solution into it.
  • Over the sink or wash basin, bend slightly and tilt your head to one side.
  • Breathe air with mouth and put the spout of the neti pot deep in one nostril.
  • Let the water gently flow through the nasal passages.
  • Let the water comes out from the other nostril.
  • Repeat the same process with other nostril.
  • Take a tissue; blow your nose to remove the loose mucus.
  • Repeat the process whenever required.

11. Gargle


Gargling helps to moisten the nasal passages and throat linings. This process provides relief from cold symptoms and sore throat.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of raspberry leaves to a cup of boiling water.
  • Cover and let it steep for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Once the water cools down to lukewarm temperature, strain it.
  • Add lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey into it.
  • Mix well and use it gargle.
  • Repeat the process 2 times in a day.

12. Herbal Tea

There are several herbs which support the body while healing from cold or other illness. Drinking herbal teas support immune system, relax the mind and provide relief from the cold symptoms. Herbs that can be used to treat cold are – nettle leaf, elderberry, yarrow, chamomile, peppermint, catnip, mullein and red clover.
  • Choose any one the herbs you wish to have.
  • Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of dried herbs into a cup of water.
  • Cover and let it steep for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Strain, add 1 teaspoon of honey and consume it.
  • Drink herbal tea 2 times in a day for cold relief.

13. Spice Tea

It is an Ayurvedic remedy for treating common cold. The spices help in thinning the mucus and flush them out from the nose.
  • Combine quarter cup of coriander seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoon each of cumin, and fennel seeds.
  • Dry roast the mixture and blend them into powder.
  • Bring 1 cup of water to boil.
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoon of spice powder and 1 1/2 teaspoon rock candy.
  • Let it simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Now, add 2 tablespoons of milk into it.
  • Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes and remove from the flame.
  • Strain and sip the solution slowly while it is still hot.
  • Drink spice tea once in a day until the symptoms reduce.

14. Pepper

Pepper is one of the effective natural treatments that provides relief from various cold symptoms. The capsaicin present in pepper helps to thin down the mucus and provide relief from the congestion. This process is effective in providing relief from cold and runny nose.
  • Into a glass of warm water, add 1 teaspoon of black pepper powder.
  • Mix well and consume it.
  • You can add lemon and honey to improve taste.

15. DIY Cold Syrup

This homemade syrup acts just like antibiotic syrups in providing relief from the cold. This healing syrup is not tasty but also very easy to prepare at home. This syrup is effective for treating coughs, soothe a sore throat, and the common cold.
  • Into a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon each of licorice root, marshmallow root, ground cinnamon and chopped ginger.
  • Add 4 cups of water and bring the mixture to boil.
  • Simmer the mixture over low heat until the quantity reduces to half.
  • Strain it, discard the herbs and pour back the solution into the saucepan.
  • Over a low flame, heat the solution by adding 1 cup of organic honey.
  • Let it simmer, bubbling gently for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and pour the solution into a jar.
  • Once it cools down, close the air-tight lid and store in the refrigerator.
  • Consume 1 – 2 tablespoons of the syrup daily for getting relief.
Note: The syrup will last for 3 – 4 weeks if refrigerated.

16. DIY Inhaler for Cold and Flu

This homemade inhaler for cold helps to moisten the airways, thin down the mucus, provide relief from other cold symptoms. In this recipe, we used essential oils that are effective for treating cold and headache.
  • Remove out the cotton from a blank inhaler.
  • Add 5 – 7 drops of eucalyptus, 4 drops of black spruce, 5 drops of tea tree oil, 2 drops of lavender, and 1 drop of lime.
  • Make sure to add the drops one by one as the cotton gets time to suck them in.
  • Put the cotton back and cap the inhaler.
  • Take deep breathes to inhale the aroma of the essential oils from the inhaler.
  • Repeat whenever needed.
Note: For children, reduce the quantity to 1 drop of eucalyptus, 2 drops of black spruce, 4 drops of tea tree oil, 2 drops of lavender oil, and 1 drop of lime/lemon.

17. DIY chest Salve

Want to make your own vapor rub at home? This homemade recipe for vapor rub is effective for providing relief from common cold, runny nose and headache.
  • Using a double boiler, melt down 1/2 cup of coconut oil.
  • Remove from the flame and pour it into a glass container.
  • Add 16 drops of peppermint essential oil into and stir well.
  • Seal the container after it cools down.
  • Once it hardens, massage a small amount of it on the chest and under your nose.
Note: You can store it up to 3 years in cool dark place out of direct sunlight.

18. Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry is one of the effective remedies which reduces the inflammation of the mucus membranes, relieves congestion and allows you to breathe better.
  • Into a saucepan, add 1/2 heaped cup of elderberries and 3 cups of water.
  • Bring the mixture to boil on a medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the flame and let it simmer for 50 minutes.
  • Strain the liquid through a strainer and let the solution cool down to room temperature.
  • Add one cup of raw honey into the liquid once it cools down to room temperature.
  • Stir well until it is combined thoroughly.
  • Pour the solution into a bottle and you can store it in refrigerator for 3 months.
  • Consume 1 tablespoon of the solution daily to treat/prevent cold. For children reduce the quantity to 1 teaspoon.

19. Herbal Tincture for Kids and Adults

This homemade DIY tincture provides great relief from cough and it’s much healthier too.
  • Into a 1 quart mason jar, add 2/3 cup each of dried chamomile flowers, yarrow flowers, peppermint leaf, and catnip herb.
  • Now, pour 80 – 100 proof vodka over the ingredients.
  • Close the lid and let it steep for at least 2 weeks (preferably 2 months) shaking daily.
  • Now, strain the liquid using a cheese cloth and store in a cool, dark place where it will last long.
  • Take 8 – 10 drops of tincture to kids over age of 2 whenever required.

Natural Antibiotics and Antivirals for Cold:

If you are looking out for natural antibiotics for treating cold then here are two of them that work much better than store brought ones.
  • Thyme: The herbal tea made of thyme is very effective in treating cold. Drink 1 – 2 cups of thyme tea daily until you get relief from cold and flu. Thyme oil can rubbed on the chest as a vapor rub. Pregnant women and small kids should stay away from this herb.
  • Oregano: Oregano contains potent antibiotic and antiviral properties. You can use apply a small amount of diluted oregano oil on the feet to get relief. Or else you can drink oregano tea for the same benefits.

Vitamins and Nutrients for Cold Treatment:

Deficiency of certain vitamins and nutrients makes our body vulnerable for virus attacks. Intake of foods rich in these essentials can boost up the immune system and ward off the virus. Let’s have a look at them.
  • Vitamin D3: Including vitamin D3 levels help to prevent illness and taking them while suffering from cold can speed-up the recovery. Vitamin D 3 can be obtained from 15 minutes of walk in the early morning sun. Foods that provide vitamin D include egg yolks, liver, seaweed, cheese and fortified drinks. You can also get them by taking fermented fish oil supplements.
  • Vitamin C: It is the best vitamin for suppressing cold, boosting the immunity and speeding up the recovery. Foods rich in vitamin C are oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussel sprouts, grapefruit, guava, strawberries and broccoli. You can also take vitamin C supplements for the same.
  • Zinc: Zinc is necessary for proper functioning of immune system. Zinc intake during illness reduces the suffering duration to minimum. Zinc rich foods include shrimp, kidney beans, flaxseeds, watermelon seeds, spinach, garlic, peanuts, egg yolks, lobster, chickpeas, dark chocolate, brown rice, peas, and sesame seeds. Or else you can take zinc supplements to acquire the same.

Tips and Precautions:

  • Use humidifier to moisten the nasal passages, reduce mucus blockage and good sleep.
  • Blow your nose to drain out the mucus. However doing it in a wrong way or too frequently can lead to earache.
  • Taking proper rest will help to allocate energy to support the immunity to fight against the virus causing cold.
  • Drinking hot liquids help to provide relief from the nasal congestion and avoids dehydration which further helps to soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes.
  • Take steamy bath or shower to maintain the nasal passages moisturized and helps to get relief from the blocked nose.
  • Apply a small dab of mentholated salve, eucalyptus or camphor under your nose, which helps to open up the breathing passages by numbing it to get relief from the pain of a raw rubbed nose.
  • Regular exercising and good diet will help to maintain your immune system strong and fight against the virus causing cold.
  • Chicken soup contains cysteine, which helps in thinning mucus and taking in soup form will help our body to easily absorb the nutrients. Take a cup of chicken soup twice a day while suffering from illness.
  • Eating hot and spicy food will clear the mucus and ease your stuffy nose. It is effective in getting rid of the germs in the nasal passages. Include spicy foods like pepper into your food while suffering from cold.
  • Avoid dairy products as they may increase the mucus production in some people.
  • Elevating your head while sleeping helps to get relief from the congested nasal passages and you will get better sleep without breathing problem. Add an extra pillow to elevate your head up to 4 – 6 inches.
  • Try to avoid touching your face frequently as it spreads the germs causing cold.
  • Your hands should be washed frequently after coming from the public places or before eating the food which helps to avoid germs from spreading during winter season. Or simply carry a hand sanitizer to use it whenever you don’t have an access to wash your hands.
  • Avoid smoking as it may worsen the condition and illness.
  • The root of the Astragalus is used as a traditional medicine in china from long ago to strengthen immunity & prevent the cold or flu. It has antiviral, anti-oxidant properties which helps to get rid of the cold. Take it in tea, extract or capsule form. But make sure to consult your physician before taking them.
  • Dehydration can worsen the problem. Getting enough fluids flushes out the virus from the body and moistens the nasal passages.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption as it dehydrates your body, weakens your immune system and resistance to fight against the germs which causes the problems.
  • While coughing or sneezing, use a tissue rather than covering it with your hands (this spreads the germs easily if you didn’t washed your hands) so use tissue & throw it after using it.
  • If possible try to use the disposable items if anyone in the family is affected. So that no one in the family will be affected by spreading of the virus or germs causing colds.
  • If children are affected by cold then wash their toys & other things which they use it to play.
  • Control your stress levels by doing yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. Stress levels can aggravate the illness.
Try any of the above-mentioned remedies, take vitamins necessary for boosting your immune system and follow the tips as well as precautions to get rid of cold completely.

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