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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a fact that most people stock up once a year, but by the time winter comes around, the bottles of cough mixture are out of date, or if not, they have become weakened by leaving them in the cupboard.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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