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10 Home Remedies and Treatments for Cold and its Associated Symptoms

Updated on February 13, 2019
Ansel Pereira profile image

Ansel loves to help others through what he has experienced. He believes that paying it forward is the key to success and happiness in life.

Everybody at some point catches a cold. While some may seek medication for congestion, cough, and wheezing that may arise due to a cold, many others let nature do its course of healing. A cold my often be accompanied with bouts of cough. Furthermore, persons with a severe cold frequently complain about their ears being blocked or clogged due to head cold. The symptoms associated with common cold are rather diverse and may require medication if neglected at an early stage. Home remedies and treatments work best when cold and the symptoms associated with it are detected early.


Different viruses may cause a cold, but the most common virus due to which a person develops common cold is influenza virus. A person may also develop a chest cold/acute bronchitis or head cold due to harmful bacteria or pollutants in the air. Individuals with weak immune systems are more prone to developing colds frequently than individuals with a healthy immune system. A severe cold should be treated immediately. If left untreated the condition can lead to pneumonia or severe whooping cough. Simple and effective home remedies provide quick relief from chest cold, head cold, cough, chest congestion, sore throat, blocked nose and runny nose.


Home Remedies for Cold

Given below is a list of simple treatments that work effectively for cold and various symptoms associated with it.

1. Ginger Root Tea

Ginger root tea is an effective home remedy for chest cold. Anti-inflammatory shaogals and gingerols present in ginger root soothe the throat when you have a itchy throat or a sore throat. Furthermore consumption of ginger root tea eliminates rhinoviruses which are responsible for colds. Cut slices of ginger (3/4 teaspoon) and boil in water for around 8-10 minutes. You can add honey in accordance with taste. You can have this hot decoction 3-4 times a day to get relief from chest congestion, blocked nose and head cold. While sipping this hot decoction, the vapor provides quick relief from stuffy nose. The vapor you inhale while sipping ginger root tea softens dry mucus that blocks the nasal passage and thereby eases that feeling of heaviness in the head caused by head cold. Also, this hot ginger beverage is excellent for clogged ears or blocked ears caused by cold.


2. Consume Cayenne Pepper mixed with Lemon Juice

Capsacin is a key ingredient in cayenne pepper that acts as a natural decongestant. The fiery element in cayenne pepper helps liquefy or thin out mucus when consumed. This is an excellent home remedy for sinuses, chest cold, sore throat, head cold, blocked nose, chest congestion and cough. In 1 cup of boiling water mix 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, two teaspoons of lemon juice, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and 2 teaspoons of honey. Mix the ingredients well and sip slowly. This may not be the best tasting concoction for colds but it is extremely effective and provides quick relief from various symptoms associated with common cold.


3. Steam Inhalation for Cold

Steam inhalation is one of the most common treatments for head cold. Breathing steaming vapor from a bowl of hot water provides quick relief from cold. If you have a severe head cold add a dab of Vicks VapoRub (or any other generic brand) or 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) in hot boiling water and inhale vapor. Steam inhalation provides quick relief to nasal passages and opens blocked ears due to a head cold. If you use a steam vaporizer make sure it is cleaned properly before and after use. Do not inhale steam too frequently. Steam inhalation two times a day, once in the morning and at night before going to sleep is sufficient to clear nasal passage and provide quick relief from chest congestion, blocked nose, and blocked ears due to cold.

4. Dissolve Cough Drops in Hot Water

If you have a head cold, chest cold, a runny nose, sore throat and severe bouts of cough take two cough drops (Halls or Vicks or any other generic brand-Ginger /Lemon tastes awesome) and powder them fine. Put the powdered cough lozenges in a large cup of water. Boil or microwave to dissolve the powder and you’re ready to go. As you take small sips sniff slowly. This treatment provides quick relief from sore throat and cough. This home remedy also opens blocked ears caused by a head cold. If you have that heaviness in head due to cold, this is an effective treatment that provides instant relief.

5. Eat Garlic Cloves for Asthmatic Cold and Cough

Allicin, a compound present in garlic is known for its powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties that eliminate cold. Chop up some garlic and eat. It’s best to have garlic cloves raw when you have a cold or cough. Fresh garlic is an effective home remedy for asthmatic or allergic colds, the ones resulting from dust and fine microbes in particular. Garlic is known to build a healthy immune system. If you do not like the taste of raw garlic, you can add 5-7 whole garlic cloves in a bowl of hot soup and munch on them as you sip your soup.


6. Onions for Cold and Flu

Onion is an ancient remedy for treatment of cold, flu, and its associated symptoms. Onions have antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties that help ward off colds and different types of flu. In several ancient traditions homeowners would place onions in every room of their home to ensure the onions would absorb bacteria, microbes and viruses that perpetually dwell in homes and potentially cause common colds and flu. When onions absorb microbes they develop black spots or turn fully black, In today’s times placing onions in every room is not what many home owners are in favor of.

If you have a cold, accompanied with other symptoms associated with the condition you can cut an onion at both ends and place it in a jar. Keep the jar that contains the cut onion next to your bedside while you sleep at night. In the morning, when the onion is completely black or discolored it’s an indication that the onion has absorbed bacteria/virus that dwells in your body, or absorbed microbes that lie around the room. When you wake up in the morning symptoms associated with cold and flu are alleviated and you feel much better. Also lightly sautéed dishes that contain onion rings garlic cloves, crushed ginger, honey and lemon helps loosen phlegm when you suffer from chest congestion.


7. Gargle with Warm Salt Water

A warm salt water gargle is helpful for persons who suffer from chest congestion and sore throat. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of table salt in a warm glass of water and gargle. A salt water gargle is ideally effective any time of day, but its best to have salt water gargles after meals as sore throats tend to get scratchy and irritable after food consumption.

8. Onion sugar syrup

This is an old folk remedy that is used even today in several cultures for common cold. This syrup can be stored for 10 days in the fridge and can be frozen for a longer period to be used whenever required. For this recipe you will need 2 large peeled yellow onions that are halved and quartered. Put the onions in a medium sized sauce pan and cover with water. To it add two cups of sugar. Stir lightly to form a thick consistency. Bring to a boil on high temperature and keep stirring lightly until the sugar is absorbed. Lower temperature and let simmer uncovered to a rolling boil until you get a syrupy consistency of onions and sugar.

Use the back of a spoon to mush the thick consistency that contains tiny bits of onion. Transfer the onion and sugar syrup in a glass jar. When cool, this syrup can be refrigerated. Administer 1 tablespoon of hot syrup to a person suffering with cold or cough, 3 times a day. This folk remedy is used to treat different symptoms associated with cold. This onion and sugar syrup also helps effectively release phlegm in persons with chest congestion.

9. Balanced Intake of Vitamins

A balanced intake of vitamins is essential when you have a cold or cough. Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin D consumption is necessary when you are suffering from cold and other symptoms associated with it. A balanced diet that includes fresh fruits such as papaya, apple, cranberry, banana, grapefruit and berries are an excellent choice. When you have a cold or cough make it a point to have grilled or lightly sautéed foods such as potatoes, bell peppers, and salads. If you cannot resist meat, opt for grilled chicken, fish or turkey. Avoid oily food as it can further aggravate conditions associated with cold.


10. Consume Plenty of Fluids

Symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, chest congestion, nasal congestion, sneezing, and body ache may occur with chest cold and head cold. When you have a common cold, acute bronchitis, or any other symptoms associated with the condition, the body tends to dehydrate at a rapid pace. Fluids are lost through coughing up of phlegm and a runny nose. Consume plenty of fluids to restore balance of lost fluids. Drink water at regular intervals. Hot beverages such as lemon tea and ginger tea are a good choice. If you prefer fresh juices make sure you do not have them chilled. Consume fresh juices with fiber at room temperature. Hot chicken soups are also a healthy alternative when you have a chest cold or head cold, however make sure you do not use harsh and pungent spices to flavor soups. Avoid coffee, alcoholic drinks and dairy products when you have a chest cold or head cold.


It is important that a person suffering from common cold and other symptoms associated with it take adequate rest to recuperate quickly with the above mentioned home remedies and treatments.

When you have a cold, cough, chest congestion, runny nose, and sore throat its best you avoid

• Smoking

• Consumption of Alcohol

• Direct exposure to traffic pollutants

• Oily food

• Chilled desserts

• Coffee

• Aerated drinks

• Ice Cream

• Strenuous activity

When you have a Cold…Do you?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Ansel Pereira


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