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5 Herbal Remedies for the Common Cold

Updated on December 20, 2019
Anne Carr profile image

Anne is a teacher and freelancer with a passion for writing. She also has experience caring for gerbils.

The Power of Herbs

Herbs like echinacea have powerful healing properties and benefits for the body.
Herbs like echinacea have powerful healing properties and benefits for the body.

Fighting Off The Bug

A common cold can sometimes be simple to cure but sometimes severe. Many times we are left with the remnants of a cold long after the initial sickness. Herbal remedies can sometimes help to speed up the process of recovery from an illness like the cold, lessen the symptoms, as well as build up your immune system to fight off any infections faster.

1. Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb with a flowering plant commonly known as coneflower. It can be found in the Rocky Mountain areas of the United States. Echinacea has been known for generations to have positive healing effects on the human body. Many times, if you go to the grocery store or an herbal supply store, you will see echinacea commonly used in teas. If you are fighting off a cold or other common illness, tea is the perfect way to use this herb. Not only does tea help with the throat and sinuses, but the echinacea will generally work to relieve symptoms in the upper respiratory area. Pairing lemon or honey with echinacea tea will do wonders to help relieve those symptoms.

An antibacterial

Garlic is a natural antibacterial.
Garlic is a natural antibacterial.

2. Garlic

As crazy as it may sound, garlic can actually help fight off the common cold. Garlic is a known antibacterial, so it will work to help fight off any viruses that you may have. The best way to use garlic to treat a cold is by taking a garlic supplement, however, cooking your food with garlic also seems to do the trick. It all depends on whether you can stand to eat garlic or if you would prefer to take a supplement.

Clearing the Sinuses

Mint is especially helpful for clearing the sinuses.
Mint is especially helpful for clearing the sinuses.

3. Mint/Menthol

If you go to the store and look at any cough syrups or cough drops, you will find that most of them have one thing in common; they all contain menthol. Menthol and anything from the mint family as far as plants go is a very effective way to help fight off cold and flu symptoms. The strength of the mint actually helps to clear blocked sinuses and open airways, so if you are dealing with a lot of congestion, menthol is the way to go. The best natural way to use this remedy is to drink mint tea, but you can also make a rub to put on your chest that will also help clear up congestion.


Ginseng has powerful healing properties.
Ginseng has powerful healing properties.

4. Ginseng

Ginseng is a very powerful herb that has various uses and healing qualities. Ginseng can improve your immune system and lower blood sugar, and typically works to shorten the length of a cold. However, if you are using this supplement, be careful with how much you take. Always only take the recommended amount of ginseng. Because of the properties and powers of this herb, you should check with your doctor as well as cross reference any medication interactions before taking ginseng.

Ginger Root

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory.

5. Ginger Root

When you were a kid, did you ever get ginger ale when you were sick? Maybe your parents said it helps to “settle your stomach” or something like that. The truth is, ginger root is actually highly beneficial and effective for treating the common cold. Ginger root has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with alleviating a sore throat. If you decide to use ginger root to help with your cold, you can find fresh ginger root at your local supermarket. Many people like to make this into a tea and mix it with other things like honey. This is the best way to consume the ginger as it will be easy to concentrate the ginger.

Use Your Best Judgment

When it comes to looking for herbal remedies for the common cold, use your best judgment. If you feel like some of these aren’t really helping, you should see your doctor. However, if you have a short term illness, these ideas might be helpful. Of course, you can’t take these remedies as being the only way to fight sickness. Always discuss with your doctor your options and see what they have to say about it first.


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