Home Remedies for Colds

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Our Favorite Natural Cold Remedies

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Getting a cold? These home remedies for colds will help your body through the healing process. Tell us which natural cold remedies have worked for you!

There is no “cure” for a cold, but there are certainly cold remedies that can help you feel better. Besides getting LOTS of rest, here are age-old remedies to provide the relief you need:

Home Remedies for Cold Relief

Sip warm liquids. 

Not only do warm liquids soothe the body and soul, but also they loosen congestion by increasing mucus flow and preventing dehydration. 

  • This is why chicken soup has long been a home remedy. Yes, it works! We recommend Granny’s Best Chicken Soup , which also contains garlic.
  • Clear broth, hot tea with honey, warm apple juice, and/or warm water with lemon and honey also do the trick.
  • Rose hip tea is full of vitamin C and can help prevent colds in advance—before cold symptoms start. Read more about ways to avoid the cold in the first place.

Get to the root of the problem!

Speaking of garlic, many roots, as well as plants in the onion family, have medicinal properties.

  • Historically, the layers of the onion were believed to draw contagious diseases from the patient; onions were often hung in sickrooms. Today, we know that onions have antibacterial qualities, so it seems that our forefathers weren’t too far off.
  • Cut up fresh garlic cloves and add them to chicken soup or other foods, or swallow small chunks of raw garlic-like pills.
  • Like garlic and onion, horseradish generates lots of heat to help offset colds. According to one farmer we know, a daily horseradish sandwich is the best cold remedy out there!
  • For chills, take fresh ginger root.
  • For a chest cold or bronchitis, try this remedy, submitted by one of our readers: Boil a whole onion, and afterward (once it’s cooled), drink the water. You can add a little butter and salt if the taste is unbearable!

Coughs and sore lips? Try honey.

  • Honey may help coughs (in adults and children who are older than age 1). Try adding honey to your tea. See more advice on cough remedies.
  • To treat sore lips, go to bed with honey on them.

Have a cold with a sore throat?

  • Get relief with a simple saltwater gargle—1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. See more advice on sore throat remedies.

Stuffy and congested?

  • Add moisture to the air. A cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier can add moisture to your home, which might help loosen congestion. Change the water daily and clean the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Some readers say it helps to eat loads of hot and spicy foods like chili to clear the sinuses.
  • If super stuffy, put several saline drops into one nostril, then gently suctioning that nostril with a bulb syringe. To do this, squeeze the bulb, gently place the syringe tip in the nostril about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (about 6 to 12 millimeters), and slowly release the bulb. 

Cracked or sore lips?

  • Besides putting honey on your lips, you could also massage cracked lips with a dab of earwax (yes, your own!).

Finally, a reminder: rest your body! Getting lots of sleep is probably the top remedy and it requires no special ingredients!

Janice Stillman, former editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, discusses conventional and unconventional cold remedies in this video.

Now see all the ways to prevent the common cold and flu—or, keep from getting it again!

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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