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Natural Home Remedies for Colds: 7 Easy Recipes

woman sneezing herbs garlic thyme
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay

Natural cold remedies aren’t just a cold season necessity – viruses can strike any time of year. If you find yourself under the weather, there are a number of natural home remedies for colds you can use to alleviate your symptoms and minimize your suffering.

Oh no, have you caught something? Most people associate cold and flu season with winter, and rightly so. That being said, if you take public transportation every day, you’re likely to develop a runny nose and scratchy throat at some point – even in the summer.

Before you turn to your medicine cabinet, why not give these natural cold remedies a chance to work their magic first?

1. Onion and Honey Cough Syrup

Natural Cold Remedies onion juice
Syrup made of onion juice, really? Believe it or not, it’s an effective natural cold remedy. (Photo: Utopia )

Onions not only make us tear up and give our dishes a unique flavor, they’re an important tool in any home pharmacy kit and a classic companion in cold season. Onions have antibacterial properties and can be combined with honey into an effective cough syrup.

You’ll find the recipe here: Homemade Cough Syrup: Onion Juice and Honey

2. Onion Sacks and Potato Neck Wraps

potatoes onions
Potato and onion wraps: This natural home remedy for colds has been around for ages. (Photo: Utopia/Binford)

Hot wraps are one of the oldest natural home remedies against cold symptoms. Potato wraps, for example, are best for sore throats.

How to make a potato wrap for around your neck:

  1. Cook unpeeled potatoes.
  2. Once they’re fully cooked, lay them inside a cotton towel and flatten them slightly. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  3. Wrap the potato towel inside another hand towel, then place around your neck and throat for a good half an hour.

Careful: Always test the wrap before placement to ensure you don’t accidentally burn sensitive skin.

Our old friend, the onion, isn’t only good for coughs, but also for earaches. Onion vapors improve circulation and reduce germs.

How to use onion sacks against earaches:

  1. For your wrap, finely chop one onion, then place it in a cotton towel or an old sock.
  2. Place your onion sack directly on your ear, holding it in place with your hand or a bandana for at least 20 minutes.

Read more: Clogged Ears Remedy: 3 Household Hacks

3. Garlic as a Home Remedy

Garlic natural cold remedy home remedy for colds
Warning: this natural home remedy for colds may cause garlic breath. (Photo: Utopia)

If you want to feel better, you may have to suffer a bit first – and in this case, that means eating garlic. It’s a natural cold remedy against bacteria and fungi. The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic are most powerful when garlic is consumed raw.

Though not for the faint of heart, the best results come from biting into a freshly peeled clove. For those who find that too intense, chop some up and put it in a salad. Raw garlic will clear your sinuses more effectively than even wasabi, and the challenge will largely be forgotten because you’ll be breathing more easily in minutes.

Garlic soup, bruschetta with garlic, garlic tea or garlic sliced in a salad – regularly eating fresh garlic as part of your diet in fall and winter months may keep you from getting sick in the first place. One tip: Avoid contact with others for at least two days following your garlic cure so they don’t catch your germs – or smell your breath!

Read more: Get Rid of Garlic Breath: 9 Remedies for Mouth and Hand

4. Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Baths

aromatherapy bath - natural home remedies for colds
Adding citrus fruits and eucalyptus to a hot bath can help you relax and clear up your sinuses (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Taryn Elliot )

Did you know you can minimize your symptoms by taking hot baths? The water’s warmth increases circulation in your mucus membranes, stopping viruses from multiplying – this works especially well during the first few days of a cold.

Adding essential oils to your bath water can amplify the warm water’s effects to help you breathe better. Simply mix a few drops to eucalyptus oil with a spoonful of olive oil before stirring it into your bathwater. It’s important to relax in peace after a hot bath, making it an excellent bedtime ritual. Even if you’ve been sick for a few days, a hot, relaxing bath can still be an effective natural cold remedy.

Caution: Do not take hot baths if you are feverish.

Read More: Boost Your Immune System: 10 Tips to Improve your Body’s Natural Defense System

5. Herbal Infusions

Ginger tea healthy ingredients
Chop, steep and add some honey: Your natural cold remedy is done! (Photo: © Utopia / Binford)

Hot tea (and plenty of it) is an essential partner in cold and flu season. Because there are so many natural herbal home remedies for colds that can be infused into tea, it’s a beverage you can easily vary depending on the symptoms.

Ginger is a classic for sore throats and upset stomachs – it’s a healing ingredient in the Indian Ayurveda tradition. Ginger is used as a home remedy to stimulate digestion and circulation, as well as reduce viral reproduction – the perfect cure for all stuffy noses. Anyone who’s had ginger tea before knows it’ll make you sweat – this tea really heats you up, from the inside out!

It’s super easy to make your own infusion – here’s how: The Benefits of Ginger Tea: How to Make a Healthy Infusion

6. Sage and Thyme for Colds

herbal home remedies for colds
Herbal remedies for colds have been used throughout history. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - guvo59)

Another helpful herb during cold and flu season is sage, commonly found in many home gardens. In the home pharmacy, sage is used to reduce sweating. It has antiseptic and anticonvulsant properties and is disliked by viruses and fungi alike. Pick leaves directly from your garden or buy some fresh at the market to drink as an infusion, or use the water for gargling. Dried sage also works, you will just need to use a bit more.

Did you think thyme was an herb used only in Mediterranean cooking? Thyme is a fantastic natural home remedy against coughs – it expands and disinfects the lungs, breaking up congestion. Thyme oil can also be used as a mouthwash against sore throats.

You can add honey to any of these infusions. Only add it once the liquid has cooled a bit. Honey is said to lose its healing properties if exposed to high temperatures. To access its soothing relief for scratchy throats, you can also eat honey directly from the spoon, allowing it to melt slowly on your tongue.

Looking for more tea ideas? Check out our Best Tea for Colds: These Blends Help Against Cough and Sore Throat

7. Salt Water

salt for natural cold remedies
Skip the expensive saline washes and do it yourself. All you need is a bit of salt and water! (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Bru-nO)

Table salt is a small miracle worker when it comes to colds – that’s why you’ll find saline nasal sprays next to the cough syrup at your local store. Nasal sprays and washes are easy and cheap to make yourself.

  1. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt in a glass of lukewarm water.
  2. Ensure you have 10-12 ounces of liquid in your glass to create the right concentration.
  3. Then pour your liquid into a clean spray bottle.

Did you know? Gargling salt water can also be beneficial when fighting colds.

Or use the salt water for home inhalations – another natural cold remedy.

  1. Dissolve two tablespoons of salt in 4.5 cups of hot water in a pot.
  2. Place a towel over your head, ensuring you cover the pot completely and inhale carefully over the steaming pot. This ensures that the healing vapors best reach your mucus membranes.
  3. Exercise caution, because the steam at the beginning is very hot – ensure that you leave enough space between your face and the pot so as not to burn yourself.
  4. Don’t forget to have tissues nearby – inhalation will cause your nose to run!

More tips: Steam Inhalation for Colds and Coughs

Read more:

This article was translated and adapted from German into English. You can view the original here: 6 pflanzliche Hausmittel gegen Erkältung

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