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Home Remedies For Coughs And Flu Herbals And Mustard Baths

Updated on April 4, 2017
Nell Rose profile image

Nell is a trained Psychologist and lives in London England. She has been writing since she was a child.


Colds Coughs And Flu

There are many over the counter remedies for coughs and flu, but sometimes they can be really expensive, and not quite suitable for you or your child.

As the winter approaches and children go back to school, viruses and bacteria start to go around at an alarming rate. Children are perfect incubation tools for these winter sniffles, and as their immune system is not quite developed because of their age, a sudden flu or cold can hit them very quickly.

In fact, if this happens overnight it can be quite disturbing especially if you don’t have any medicine in the cupboard that is suitable for them or you. it’s a fact that most people stock up once a year, but by the time winter comes around, the bottles of cough mixture are out of date, or if not, they have become weakened by leaving them in the cupboard.

Don’t panic, there are many things that you can find in your kitchen to help start the healing process, or at least alleviate the symptoms. Most people don’t realize that even the most common vegetable or fruit can actually be the thing that will help the cough or even bring out the sweating to make the body kick start into helping itself.

Home remedies for coughs and flu can in fact be better than the over the counter medicine. In fact most drug store bought flu remedies have many chemicals in them that may be harmful to a child if they take too much, or too often.


First of all before your family go down with the dreaded lurgy, go out and buy yourself a good herbal manual. You will be surprised to find that there are many herbs that are perfect to help you through the bad first two or three days of suffering.

Teas From Herbs

Herb teas or tisanes as they used to be known, can be made in the same way as either everyday tea or coffee. A teapot would be the most useful thing to use but you can just place the herb into the cup and pour boiling water over it. As most herbs come in little packets this shouldn’t be a problem, but if they are loose leafed teas, then make sure you have a tea strainer handy.

Sage tea

Sage tea has astringent properties and is excellent for a sore throat. Place the herb into a cup and pour the water over it. Let it steep for approx three to four minutes and then a teaspoon of honey can be added to make it sweet to the taste.


Comfrey has been used for hundreds of years for its health properties. Its name is usually associated with the words knit bone as it helps to get rid of bruises and actually help the bones heal in your body after a terrible injury. But it also has another side to it. When steeped in boiling water, it can be drank to alleviate bronchial congestion, asthma and catarrh. You can buy comfrey tablets, teas and ointment over the counter in any health store.

Elder flower

Elder flower has always been the main herb that I keep in my cupboard for outbreaks of flu and colds. This is the one that always seems to do the trick quicker. It relieves bronchial trouble, is used as a blood purifier and most important, encourages perspiration in colds and influenza. I have used this and it relieved my symptoms and helped me get over it within three days, which is pretty good considering the fact that I am asthmatic.

Hyssop is also useful for bronchial troubles.

Herbal teas
Herbal teas | Source


Garlic is very useful for its disinfectant value. It clears the body of germs, helps the digestive tract, and is invaluable as a cough and cold remedy. Nurses have been taking it while working in hospitals for years, to help keep them healthy while working near patients with flu like symptoms. Most swear by it.


Lemon has a cleansing effect on the body, and will kill bad germs that reproduce in the stomach. That’s why if you go abroad and don’t want to suffer with stomach trouble, always pour loads of lemon juice over salads and other cold food. For flu and coughs it is really useful because of its cleansing affect and of course its packed full of vitamin C.

Mustard of Ginger Foot Bath
Mustard of Ginger Foot Bath | Source

Mustard and Ginger Foot Bath

This is an old wives recipe for clearing the sinuses, opening the bronchial tubes, and allowing the mucus to release its grip on your lungs.

Get yourself a bowl of boiling water, add a couple of teaspoonfuls of mustard or ginger, something like these will have a burning effective as you know when you eat them. These are the best because they will stimulate the nerves in your body. Then leave to cool only slightly, just enough to stop you taking the skin off of your feet, and then place your feet into the water and stay there as long as possible.

If its practical, get a large sheet and place it over your body so that it covers your feet as well as the bowl. This way you will reap the benefits of being able to breath in the steam at the same time. People used to believe that this was an old wives tale with no scientific proof, but these days we all know of the art of reflexology, the manipulation of the feet muscles and arteries that can actually benefit the whole of your body. The mustard bath works because it opens up your capillaries and warms the blood. Did you know that most of the nerves in your feet actually travel up and affect your lungs and heart, as well as other internal organs? Now you can see why it works!

Asthma public domain
Asthma public domain


 Asthma is bad enough when you haven't got a cold or flu, but can be a nightmare when you are suffering with a heavy cold. A really good idea is to place two bowls with hot and cold water in them. Make sure that the water is really hot, and the other as cold as you can stand it. Keep placing your hands alternatively in each bowl. This has the same effect as the mustard on your feet. It opens up the capilliaries and nerves which connect to your lungs. This way, your breathing will ease quickly as the heat and the cold open up your bronchial tubes. I have used this method a lot as I suffered badly as a child with bronchitis. Obviously if your symptoms do not start to get better, always call a Doctor as you can seriously damage your lungs and maybe even suffocate if the airway doesn't open up enough for you to get your breath.

Never leave it too long before you call the GP, and don't ever think its not an emergency. Call an ambulance if necessary. An asthmatic can deteriorate very quickly as the oxygen cannot get through to the brain or lungs.

Remember, these remedies are really good for a normal flu attack. But if you think the patient is getting worse, always call for help. You can never be too careful.

© 2011 Nell Rose


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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Thanks Linda, you poor thing, my friend is suffering too, what with all this snow, 18 foot in places! no wonder people are not getting better, great to see you, nell

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      8 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I need some "Hyssop is also useful for bronchial troubles" asap! I've had a bronchial cough for 5 days. Ugh. It's my usually allergies, but so very annoying. Thanks for the tips Nell! :)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Thanks anupma, glad you liked it, nell

    • anupma profile image

      Dr Anupma Srivastava 

      8 years ago from India

      Very useful hub. These herbs are really very useful. I have tried some of them. Tea and garlic are really very useful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi rumana, glad you found it useful, and thanks so much for reading, nell

    • rumanasaiyed profile image


      8 years ago from Sharjah, UAE

      Hi Nell, thanks for the home remedies. I am having cold and flu very often... and I am fed up of going to doctor every time!! I am sure this is going to help me.

      Voted up useful and Shared!!!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi shara, lol! yes never thought of that! thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

    • shara63 profile image


      8 years ago from Delhi

      Nell, thanks for all these home remedies ....all these are very effective in flu & cold, but i love the mustard & ginger foot bath for its two way action..relief from flue & cold and a good Pedicure in bonus!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi rajan, that's great! I really appreciate it, I will look forward to reading it, cheers nell

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Nell, this is a wonderful list of natural herbal remedies for cough. I'm including a link to this hub in my just to be published hub " Some natural home remedies for cough". Hope it's okay with you.

      Voted this hub up and useful.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, alocsin, it really does work, hope you feel better soon, and thanks so much as always, nell

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm glad to have found this info since I'm suffering from a cold right now. I'm going to give the mustard bath a try. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, Teylina, thanks hopefully we won't need it this winter! lol cheers nell

    • Teylina profile image


      9 years ago

      Nell, so glad you wrote this. I may be a little late reading, but info like this is never really too late to read! Needed this! Up, useful, interesting--- !!!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, tebo, that can be a nightmare when you get flu, mixed with asthma it can turn really nasty. I remember a few years ago I had it so badly I should have gone into hospital, I couldn't breath, but putting your hands in hot and cold water does help to get you a bit more air, thank goodness! I hope your mother is better now? thanks nell

    • tebo profile image


      9 years ago from New Zealand

      My mother recently had a bout of fluish symptons, and her asthma increased considerably. She is good now but did take more of her asthma treatments. Lots of good suggestions here for keeping on top of these problems.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, Lita, I love Garlic too, and if I don't have any I always use Onion. and Ginger is great for car sickness! I think herbs are great because they have the original chemicals without anything added, and you can't really go wrong, but you should always check that it is compatable with your medicines, thanks for reading! cheers nell

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Garlic, lemon, and ginger are the mainstays in my kitchen, along with a lot of herbs for my diabetes. Thanks for this herbal treatment tips, Nell. Stormy days down in my country never seem to stop and I'm always on the look out for the first signs of sneezes, coughs, and colds. I dread that flu, too! Useful and vote up!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, Hello, I use loads too! stinging nettles are great for a good winter tonic, and also sunburn! that's my latest one! lol thanks again, nell

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Fantastic, Nell. I swear herbal remedies.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, Kath, yes give them a go! they make your feet lovely and tingly! lol and it does help to bring out the cold, great stuff! thanks so much nell

    • Chatkath profile image


      9 years ago from California

      So very helpful Nell - rated up and useful, as I have never tried a few of these like the mustard or ginger and I am sure they will be more beneficial than most of the costly cures found at the drug store!

      Thanks for sharing!!!!!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, Martie, hope it helps! lol I try and avoid people outside at this time of year because of all the sneezing that will be starting soon! and that awful flu jab! not sure whether to have it this year or not, I think I will just hide away until spring! thanks as always, nell

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      This hub is now safely bookmarked, to be consulted when I see the first symptom of flew on my horizon. Nell, as always you've published a hub par excellence.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, kitty, they are much better than the rubbish you buy over the counter! did you know that st johns wort, a herb, is actually what they use in anti depressants? they just take a small chemical derivative from the plant and fill it up with chemicals! surely its better to take the st johns wort without it! thanks again and blessed be!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      9 years ago from Summerland

      Voted up, awesome, and useful. It's truly wonderful to see those who believe in using herbal remedies, nature's remedies, as opposed to the crap that's pushed by the pharmaceutical companies such as mucinex, etc. Herbal remedies tend to be much more effective and far less harmful for your body when it comes to soothing/curing coughs and the flu. Great job, love you even more for this one! Blessed Be.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, Ruby, I am getting all the herbs in the cupboard ready for my hot tea before bed! lol along with a hot water bottle, two scarfs and fifteen novels to read at bedtime! ha ha thanks again nell

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great info. Nell. I hate to think about winter but i know it's coming. A warm cup of herbal tea coming up!! Thank you.....

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, Eiddwen, thanks I am so glad you found it helpful, and I loved your hub! those photos were amazing!

      Hi, Lux, I have tried Echinacea too! I still have the tablets somewhere, I will give your idea a try, thanks so much nell

      Hi, Pamela, thank you, I found out about the asthma one ages ago, and it does seem to work quite quickly, especially when you place your hands in the hot water, thanks again, nell

      Hi, Green Lotus, Elder flower really is a marvel, its worked so many times for me, thanks as always nell

      Hi, Cardisa, that must be lovely, not having a winter! I don't mind the rain as long as it is warm! lol I shall give sunflower tea a try, and thanks

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      I love herbal teas and even though we don't have winters here in Jamaica is can get really wet. I found myself sneezing this morning and I had a cup of cerasse tea. This is really good information....BTW.....dried sunflower tea is also very good.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks! I'm always ready to try a new herbal/natural cure for the flu. I will get some elder flower tea asap! Voted useful.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      You listed several herbal remedies that are new to me and since I have asthma I will be trying several of your suggestions. This is an excellent hub that I am bookmarking. Thank you for the great information.

    • LuxmiH profile image

      Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes 

      9 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

      Good one Nell! My staple is Echinecea, Zinc and Vitamin C, as my 'dreaded lurgy cure all.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      So very useful Nell and I am bookmarking as well as voting up.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Great hub as always.

      Take care


    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, thranax, maybe you should, its great stuff! lol thanks again, nell

      Hi, Taj, nice to see you! I know what you mean, not looking forward to all the germs flying about! ha ha thanks again nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, marellen, yes I believe that the original cough recipes etc do work just as well for normal flu and colds, too much paracetamol for example can kill someone if they take too much! best keep it natural! thanks nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, marellen, yes I believe that the original cough recipes etc do work just as well for normal flu and colds, too much paracetamol for example can kill someone if they take too much! best keep it natural! thanks nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, acaetnna, yes I totally agree! lol mind you I live in Bucks and it wasn't so bad this year, maybe because I didn't go away on holiday I didn't miss the rain! lol thanks for reading, cheers nell

    • profile image


      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Nell. Great hub. These will be handy this winter.

    • thranax profile image


      9 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      Good hub with good tips. I never tried a herbal remedy. The closest thing I ever used was a Ricola for coughing.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks Nell for all these great herbal remedies. Whenever my kids would get sick the first thing was tea with honey and I knew we were on the right track.

    • acaetnna profile image


      9 years ago from Guildford

      A great hub, particularly with the prospect of Winter looming. Oh how I hate the dreary times ahead. Roll on the Summer again - but we need a good one next time!!!


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