We have all had a cold at some point in our life. The sniffles, runny nose, congested head and overall tiredness are something that many of us, unfortunately, are all-too-familiar with.
A lot of times when our cold gets bad, we run to the pharmacy to get some medicine. However, many of the ingredients used in pharmaceutical products – despite how they may help reduce symptoms – are known to cause a number of side effects on their own.
For that reason, we think it’s important to educate people about natural remedies. The natural remedies that we’re going to discuss in this article can help you get rid of a cold when one strikes. If you follow a healthful, natural diet, you can also stop a cold in its tracks before it manages to take hold of you!
In addition to the over 30 remedies in this article, I’ll also tell you the one common cold remedy that doesn’t work! You’re probably taking it every time you get a cold, so you might as well stop doing it because it doesn’t seem to help. In addition, it may actually harm your kidneys in large doses, like the ones you’re probably taking.
Without further ado, here are the best natural remedies that can help you fight your cold.
1. Dandelion Root
When most people think of dandelions, they think of the resilient weeds that seem to pop up perennially in our yards. What many people don’t recognize is that the dandelion – both its leaves and roots – is an incredible source of nutrition and medicinal benefits.
The dandelion and its various parts have been shown to help promote a number of different areas of our health. It can help to ward of toxins and infections, like the common cold, while also fighting inflammation and enhancing the body’s immune function.
One of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of dandelion root is to blend the roots, after cleaning them, into a smoothie, or to drink dandelion root tea. You can also find extracted forms of dandelion in many health food stores.
2. Ginger Root
Another powerful root vegetable medicine, ginger root is widely known in various forms of traditional and folk medicine for being one of the best ways to help ward off illness.
One of the things that ginger does most effectively is fight inflammation. Consuming ginger on a regular basis can also enhance the function of your immune system, thereby making you less likely to get a cold in the first place. Another use for ginger is to help relieve the nausea associated with the common flu.
Research has revealed that probiotic supplements can actually help to shorten the length of a cold. Probiotics are substances that help your body restore a healthy balance to the flora in their intestines and other areas of their digestive systems. These bacterial help us absorb food and maintain our overall health.
Studies have shown that people taking probiotic supplements can reduce the length of their colds by as much as two days. Furthermore, their symptoms will be much less severe.
By now, turmeric has made it into most people’s medicine cabinets as well as their spice cabinets. It has shown consistent and impressive results when tested for its medicinal abilities.
Turmeric was revered by the Ayurvedics as one of the most important healing spices. It has a number of potent health benefits that can be experienced by simply taking the herb.
Among the most powerful benefits of turmeric include its ability to fight viruses. This means that it’s very useful for helping to prevent the emergence of colds. Furthermore, turmeric can help to fight inflammation and discomfort associated with colds.
If you’re going to be using turmeric, remember that the absorption of the main active compound – curcumin – can be improved by taking the spice with black pepper. Some supplements come premixed with black pepper, but if you’re using the spice on its own, try to take your black pepper about half an hour beforehand.
Zinc is a mineral that we need to consume on a regular basis to maintain our optimum health. Zinc is important for helping to regulate our hormonal systems and can be useful for helping to fight off the common cold.
Some studies have revealed that people deficient in zinc were able to cut the length of their colds by as much as three days. There was also research done that revealed zinc could help to shorten the length of a cough.
6. Lemon and Lime
Lemon and lime are great for you if you want to prevent or get rid of a cold. Don’t worry – you don’t have to suck on a lemon to receive the benefits. Instead, you can slice up some lemon or lime and mix them in with a cup of hot water. Drink this throughout the day and you’ll find that the symptoms of your cold will dwindle much faster.
Both of these fruits are shown to have antibacterial properties. This means that they can help to ward off illnesses and infections before they strike.
7. Oregano Oil
One of the most powerful and proven remedies for fighting off colds, as well as other types of respiratory illness, is oregano oil. The herb itself can also be used, but in regards to fighting off a cold, the oil is much more effective.
The most effective way to reap the benefits of oregano oil is to put it under your tongue. Unfortunately, the oil is quite powerful, and many people find that it burns them. You can swish it down quickly with water or mix it into smoothies if you think this is an easier way to handle it.
Oregano oil is particularly useful for helping people manage the symptoms of upper respiratory infections. It loosens up phlegm, helps to clear the sinuses, and makes it easier to breathe.
Garlic is one of the most powerful cold-fighting herbs on the planet. You can reap the benefits of garlic in many ways.
You can blend it up and make a liquid-like component that you can drink, but make sure that you don’t do it on an empty stomach or it’ll be uncomfortable. You can even chew raw cloves if your friends won’t be offended by your breath (and even if they are – hey, you’re trying to get better!)
There are also garlic powders and extracts available in supplement form that can provide similar benefits, but fresh is always better.
9. Chili Peppers
Hot peppers, or chili peppers, contain a compound known as capsaicin. Capsaicin is what gives these peppers their familiar burning sensation.
However, capsaicin isn’t just a nuisance compound developed by nature to bother us. It contains a number of powerful, health-boosting effects that are particularly apparent if you’re suffering from a cold.
Got a cough? Chew up a chili pepper and your airways will relax and you’ll cough up any excess mucus within minutes. Sinuses clogged? Mix some cayenne in with some lemon-ginger tea and you’ll be able to breathe before the cup is finished.
Chili peppers remain one of the most potent remedies for acute symptoms of colds. While many people worry that cayenne and other hot peppers may actually cause problems, especially regarding digestion, this isn’t the case. Capsaicin does not actually burn you, it simply causes a response in which the receptors on your tongue trigger your brain to active a pain signal.
10. Salt Water
One of the best ways that you can help to relieve some of the symptoms of a cold is with warm salt water. Salt water rinsing has been proven to break up and eliminate congestion of the nasal passageways. It also helps to get any lingering viral infections out of there.
The easiest way to do this is to mix a quarter teaspoon of salt with a quarter teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, shares many medicinal properties with sodium chloride, or table salt.
This can be squirted up your nose with an eye dropper. If you have a neti pot, a special device intended to help clear out the nasal passageways, you can use this instead.
Echinacea is a powerful herbal remedy that grows in many areas of North America, particularly in the plains regions and on the east coast. It is well-known for its ability to help improve a person’s immune system, and is considered one of the best natural remedies for helping someone overcome a cold.
Many studies have been done on echinacea and it has proven to be very effective for helping to minimize the damage of all aspects of a cold. Not only will it prevent you from getting a cold in the first place, but it will help to reduce the intensity and duration of the symptoms involved.
A good way to use echinacea is to begin drinking echinacea tea at the beginning of cold season. This will help to prime your immune system so you don’t catch cold. You can also take echinacea tincture.
12. Essential Oils
There are a number of essential oils that may help you manage the symptoms of a cold, or boost your immune system to prevent you from getting a cold in the first place. Some of the most effective ways to use essential oils involve simply steaming them.
To steam an essential oil, you can use them in the shower by sprinkling a few drops at the far end of the shower so the oil vaporizes. A more powerful form of steaming can be done by putting some drops of oil in a bowl of hot water or in a pot while it’s on the stove and inhaling the vapors.
Great oils for helping to fight colds include eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, and clove oil.
If you ever snuck into the kitchen to steal spoonfuls of honey from the cabinet as a kid, you might be surprised that what you were doing was actually great for your health. Honey is another great way to help fight the symptoms of a cold, as well as to prevent a cold from emerging in the first place.
Of course, it’s important to get high-quality honey that still contains all of its antioxidants and minerals. The most powerful honey in regards to its health benefits is known as manuka honey. It’s a bit higher in price, but it’s certainly more effective than other types of honey.
Another cool thing about honey is that it can be mixed in with other types of medicine to improve the health benefits. It can be mixed in with lemon-ginger tea to enhance the antioxidant capability and it can also help to soothe a sore throat.
Elderberries are the tart berries that grow all over the pacific northwest. They flourish right as summer turns into fall – the perfect time for Nature to provide us with medicine that will help to heal our bodies and prepare us for the upcoming season.
Elderberries have been shown to help fight swelling and inflammation. They can also help to prevent and relieve people of congestion, inflammation, and other symptoms of the cold.
Not only that, but elderberries are rich with antioxidants and phytonutrients that can make them useful for helping people prevent long-term illnesses.
15. Vitamin D (Fish Oil)
Vitamin D has been shown to be linked to an increase in the body’s immune system. Considering this, it’s easy to understand why colds are more common during winter: since most of our vitamin D is created by absorbing sunlight, it’s hard to receive as much of this immune-boosting nutrient during the cloudier months.
Fortunately, there are food sources of vitamin D that we can rely on during these times. Fish oil, particularly cod liver oil, is one of the best sources of vitamin D on the planet. It helps to prevent you from developing colds and can also help perk your immune system up so you can get rid of a cold quicker.
16. Dandelion + Honey
Dandelion roots, on their own, aren’t the easiest thing to stomach. They are quite bitter and not everyone enjoys the flavor of them. However, mixing these powerful medicinal roots together tho with honey is a great way to make yourself a good cold-fighting beverage.
17. Ginger + Honey
Making ginger tea is one great way to help fight off your cold, but another impressive way to do so is mix it with honey. The flavor of the honey mixes well with the ginger and makes a delicious tea, and both ingredients work together to help ward off symptoms of a cold.
18. Ginger + Garlic
Garlic and ginger work incredibly well as a cold remedy on their own, but the best way to take garlic is with ginger and under the tongue.
You see, trying to chew up garlic on its own will not only leave you with breath that some might find unpleasant, but it will leave your mouth with a burning sensation. Chewing up garlic with some ginger will not only nullify the burning feeling but will make your breath smell fresh.
As the garlic and ginger absorb into the bloodstream through the vessels under your tongue, you will notice an immediate improvement of symptoms. Your airways will open up, you will cough out any mucus stuck in your lungs, and your head will be less congested. The combination also boosts your immune system.
19. Lemon + Chili + Garlic + Ginger + Orange Juice
If you want to make a cold-fighting drink that will absolutely knock your cold out within a day or two, try this ultimate concoction. In a glass of orange juice, mix some lemon or lime juice and some cayenne pepper. Grate or blend some garlic and ginger into the mixture and slam it back.
The orange juice nullifies some of the more intense flavors and, in my personal experience, I find it quite palatable. This will help fight almost all the symptoms and eliminate the bacteria as well.
20. Chaga Mushroom
Chaga mushrooms are one of the best mushrooms that you can consume if you’re hoping to boost your immune system. They can be found in whole or ground up form in many health food stores, as well as ground up into capsules. They can be made into tea and eaten whole.
Onions are one of the most potent antibacterial foods on the planet. Their medicinal benefits are most apparent when they are sliced up and exposed to oxygen for several minutes, and then consumed raw. The more that they are cooked, the less potent they become.
Onions can also be made into a poultice and applied directly to the chest to enhance the flow of oxygen into the lungs and fight symptoms.
Menthol is available in various forms, but it comes mainly from the peppermint plant. There are various extracts of menthol that can be used topically and applied to the throat or chest to open up the airways in the lungs. Using menthol or peppermint essential oils for aromatherapy is also quite helpful for fighting symptoms of a cold.
Mullein is a herb that’s fairly well-known in areas where it grows for helping to soothe the symptoms of a cough. It can be boiled into water and the steam inhaler to help loosen up any excess phlegm.
Chlorella has become popular as a superfood lately, and there is a reason behind that: it’s packed with tons of nutrients that are important for helping the immune system function. Of these, vitamins A, C, and the B vitamins are especially important for helping to maintain immunity.
Chlorella has also been shown to help increase the amount of antibodies present in the body, which helps to eliminate any bacteria or viruses that might be invading.
25. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a good way to help fight off bacteria and viruses. It is known to be a potent antimicrobial agent, and it can also help a person loosen up and get rid of any excess mucus that’s hanging out in the chest.
Apple cider vinegar also contains prebiotic inulin. This stuff helps the immune system prepare more white blood cells for fighting invaders.
26. Olive Leaf Extract
Different from olive oil, olive leaf extract has been shown to have a number of potent medical applications, one of which is fighting viruses and bacteria as well as boosting the immune system. Olive leaf extract has been used to fight off colds and more serious illnesses since the times of ancient Egypt.
27. Green Tea
Green tea has been shown to be incredibly healthy. In fact, the life span in areas where people drink the most green tea is shown to be significantly longer than that in most other places of the world.
Green tea has a ton of different antioxidants, including chlorophyll, that are known to help fight off infections and boost your immune system.
Ginseng has been used to enhance immunity for thousands of years. It builds up our strength against bacteria and viruses and can help us get rid of a cold before it even strikes. It can also help us adapt to the stress and discomfort of having a cold by providing us with energy during our illness.
Goldenseal has been shown to help boost the function of the immune system by activating the spleen, where many of the cells and components involved in our immunity are stored. Goldenseal also contains a compound known as berberine, which helps to set our defensive cells in action.
Cinnamon, one of the oldest and most revered species, is also quite effective as a cold fighter. It’s great for fighting inflammation, and it can help open up the airways in your lungs so you can breathe easier when you’re suffering from a cold.
31. Coconut Oil
Despite its smooth and appealing flavor and texture, coconut oil can be deadly to viruses. It’s one of the strongest antiviral compounds around. This is because it contains a lot of lauric acid, a compound that’s known to kill strong pathogens. It can fight off not just the cold, but the flu, sinus infections, ulcers, herpes, and even AIDS.
32. Elderberries + Cinnamon
Elderberries are known for being a great cold remedy on their own, but mixed together with cinnamon, the benefits are even more pronounced. The two plants will work together to help eliminate bacteria while also reducing symptoms of a cold.
33. Ginseng + Chaga
This is a great combination if you’re running low on energy because of your cold but you’re not able to get the time off work or your responsibilities. Both of these plants are known to fight symptoms of cold and boost immunity, but they are both also quite powerful energy tonics. Taking them together will ensure that you’ll be feeling better quite quickly.
34. Echinacea + Green Tea + Mullein
If you want to make a wild tea that will help eliminate any symptoms of a cold, then this one will do the trick. You can mix all three of these teas together in a tea ball and you’ll receive the benefits of each.
On top of that, the caffeine from the green tea will perk you up a bit if you need to get something done during the day.
35. Garlic + Onions
An iconic duo that makes any meal taste better, garlic and onions put together can be a great way to help get rid of your cold symptoms. Chopping them up a bit before consuming them together will make their medicinal properties more apparent. Feel free to add some olive oil to make them easier to ingest, just don’t put too much as it very calorie dense.
36. Hot Sauce
A good, solid hot sauce – nothing like Frank’s – will not only have chili peppers in it, but a lot of other medicinal compounds that are good for helping to fight colds. Many types of hot sauce contain garlic, onions, or apple cider vinegar, and these can help you beat your cold quickly.
37. Detoxifying Baths
There are a number of reasons that having a hot, detoxifying bath can help someone overcome a cold.
One of the main reasons for this is because baths help to relieve stress. Oftentimes, when people get a cold, there is a degree of stress that accompanies it. This is often because colds strike when people are supposed to be working, and the added stress of being unable to perform at work leads them to feeling anxious.
Baths are great for relieving stress, but there is more to it than that. Taking a bath with epsom salts or essential oils can actually help to improve circulation throughout your body and fight congestion. Breathing in the steam from a detoxifying bath can speed up the elimination of your cold.
Not only that, but baths are very relaxing. They will help you fall asleep even if you’re in the most difficult stage of a cold.
There are a number of important things that you should just be doing all the time to help prevent you from catching a cold. Here are some of the simplest lifestyle remedies for boosting immunity:
- Get lots of rest. It’s not just important to rest when you’re sick. It’s important to rest all the time. If you don’t rest, your immune system will fail and you’ll get sick.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat healthy. Most of the foods on this list should be consumed at least somewhat regularly to ensure your immune system is in good shape.
- Avoid stress. It’s not always easy to avoid stress, but try to avoid putting yourself in stressful situations because this will make it easier for you to get sick.
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes, both of which can lower your immunity.
- Avoid Sugar. Refined sugar is incredibly unhealthy for us, as most of us know. However, its determinants can be even more destructive when someone is already struggling with an illness or a cold.One of the most common things that sugar does to a person is cause inflammation. This is the last thing that our body needs to deal with when we are fighting a cold. In fact, inflammation is the body’s natural response to fighting off an illness – so adding sugar into the mixture and causing more inflammation won’t help you at all!
Vitamin C? Nope.
If you’re the type of person who gets colds easily, then hopefully this article has given you enough information to remind you that we, as human beings, are capable of fighting off seasonal illnesses on our own without the help of expensive medication.
Nature provides us with enough medicine to ward off seasonal problems. The only real issue is that we are not often taught this sort of knowledge in school. With the right know-how and a bit of experience, we’ll come to learn that much of the medicine that we need grows in the ground around us.
If you know another natural remedy for the common cold, or if you’d simply like to contribute something to the others reading this article, please leave a comment below. We would be happy to hear from you!
The advice in this article is for information purposes only, and is not to be considered medical advice. Before employing any of the advice in this article, please consult your physician. Neither the author nor www.homesteadinghippy.com shall be held liable for any damage, injury, death or any side effects as a direct or indirect advice of applying the advice given in this article.
Nigel enjoys sharing wisdom regarding nutrition and health when he’s not playing music, loving nature, and being at one with the world.