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8 of the Best Home Remedies for a Cold

Even when you’re home snuggled in bed, being sick is nothing short of miserable. The fever and chills combined with congestion and body aches can truly be unbearable at times. Even if your doctor prescribes you Tamiflu, there are plenty of things you can do at home to ease your symptoms and to feel better sooner.

Here are 8 home remedies for treating a cold that are sure to work.

1. Ginger

For centuries, ginger has been used to treat all sorts of ailments. These days there are all sorts of scientific proof that ginger offers highly curative properties. From soothing a sore throat to minimizing a cough, ginger root can help alleviate common cold symptoms. The root is also great for warding off nausea.

Ginger can be consumed in many forms. Purchase a whole ginger root, cut it into slices, and boil it as a soothing drink. Ginger can also be taken in lozenge form and is even available dried and crystallized

2. Chicken Soup

That’s right, when mom made you a bowl of chicken soup when you were sick as a child, it was no old wives’ tale. Research suggests that chicken soup with vegetables slows the movement of neutrophils in the body. These are white blood cells that protect against infection. The more slowly neutrophils move, the more concentrated they are in areas of the body that need to be healed.

Chicken soup has also proven to be effective in alleviating symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Let’s not forget the fact that the broth also keeps you hydrated!

3. Honey

Honey is antimicrobial and antibacterial. Drinking a hot cup of tea mixed with lemon and honey can break up mucus and ease a sore throat. Honey has also proven to be an all-natural and effective cough suppressant. Drinking tea with honey before bed can reduce night time coughing, making it much easier for you to get the restful sleep you need to heal.

As a precaution, never give children under the age of 1 honey, as it contains botulinum spores which can be harmful to an infant’s immune system.

4. Take a Warm Bath

When you’re sick, there’s nothing more soothing than relaxing in a tub of warm water. Add baking soda and Epsom salt to the water to reduce body aches. A few drops of essential oil, such as eucalyptus, orange, lavender, or tea tree are quite soothing.

Be sure to avoid overly hot water, especially if you have a fever.

5. Salt Water Gargle

A dry and scratchy throat is quite frustrating. What’s even worse is when you cough to itch your throat, which then makes it sore and raw!

For temporary relief, try gargling 8 ounces of warm water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You can also add honey to the mix for a little flavor and to calm a tickle in your throat.

Gargling throughout the day can help to alleviate throat problems.

6. Drink Plenty of Hot Liquids

Chicken soup, tea, or a good old-fashioned hot toddy is great for relieving congestion and soothing an inflamed throat or nasal passage. Hot liquids are especially helpful at night when you’re counting on a good night’s sleep.

Herbal tea, especially ginger, peppermint, green, and chamomile are ideal when you have a cold. Adding honey, lemon, and even a shot of whiskey can make all the difference. Be sure to limit your alcohol consumption (1 hot toddy a day!) otherwise you may inflame your airways even more.

7. Try a Saline Spray

Saline sprays are great for breaking up congestion in your nasal passages. No saline spray? No problem! Create an all-natural salt-water rinse by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 3 teaspoons of salt, and 8 ounces of lukewarm distilled water. Using a bulb syringe or a Neti pot, squirt the solution into your nose, one nostril at a time, and let it drain.

8. Steam

There’s nothing more frustrating than a stuffy nose or feeling short of breath because of congestion. To make it easier to breathe, embrace the power of steam. Holding your head over a pot of boiling water or taking a steamy shower can ease congestion and thin mucus.

When inhaling steam, be careful to avoid burning your nasal passages. As an added benefit, try adding menthol or eucalyptus oil to the boiling water, both of which will help to open your airways, making it easier to breathe.


Prescription medication is sometimes needed to help your body fight off a cold. But, there are also steps you can take at home to boost your immune system, minimize symptoms, and to help your body heal faster. Try these 8 home remedies to kick your cold to the curb.

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