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How to get rid of a cough and cold - Ten home remedies you can use

Updated on June 28, 2012

Winters are the worst time possible to try to get rid of a cough. No matter what you do that pesky irritation of the throat never seems to leave you alone.

If you have too much cough syrup you can't keep alert. I know I fall right off to sleep with some of them and while the nap is refreshing when I wake up I find its made no difference whatsoever to my cough!

So how do you get rid of a cough? You get proper medication from the doctor, then you try and get rid of the symptoms of a cold and cough by treating it with some old home remedies.

Everyone has a favorite one that works best for them. Given here is a set of them that I have used on my family with varying degrees of success. Some of them are easy and others a bit difficult. Hope one of them works for you.

1. Honey and Warm Water

Heat a glass of water and add a tablespoon of honey to it. Now drink this as warm as you can. The honey soothes the throat and helps lessen the irritation caused by the cough.

2. Gargle with Warm Salt Water

If you find that your throat is beginning to hurt and you may be about to get the flu, just do this. Warm up water and add a spoon full of salt to it and do deep throat gargles. Make sure you use drinking water if you tend to swallow while gargling.

3. Lemon and Honey

The honey soothes the throat and the lemon juice gives you a good shot of natural vitamin C which helps fight cold and cough. You can mix a teaspoon of honey into the juice of a small lemon. Add some warm water if you find it too sour to swallow.

4. Vicks Vapor Rub on Feet

Before you get into bed just rub some vicks vapor rub onto the feet and wear your socks. The decongestant should also be applied on the chest, the back, the neck and the forehead for optimal effect.

5. Breathing Exercise

In Pranayam breathing you can do a combination of Kapal Bharati and Anulom Vilom. The former will clear out the mucus and the latter will help ease out respiration troubles by clearing the nasal passage. Once the mucus is out the cough will also dry off.

6. Steam Inhalation

The easiest way to get rid of congestion is to do steam inhalation. Heat up water till it is steaming then put a towel over your head and the bowl of water and inhale. A five minute bout is usually enough to loosen up the mucus.

7. Drink Kadha

Boil 4 black cardamon, 10 black pepper, 1 piece of cinnamon and about ten leaves of holy basil in 3 glasses of water. Reduce till it is one glass worth then decant and drink as warm as possible. Drink at least thrice a day till the cough goes away.

8. Turmeric powder with Jaggery

Roast half teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi) and add some grated jaggery (gud) to it and make it into a ball. Now eat this last thing before you get into bed. Do not drink any water after this. If the bitter taste of the turmeric persists eat more of the sweet jaggery but do not drink water.

9. Nutmeg Powder

Eat a quarter teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg the first thing in the morning. The spice has a number of healing properties attributed to it. It helps with flu and also with your indigestion problems. Don't eat or drink anything for 15 minutes after you eat the nutmeg powder.

10. Eucalyptus oil on pillow

This essential oil has soothing and nose unblocking properties. Since you cant use it directly on the skin in its concentrated form just pour a couple of drops on the pillow you sleep on. The smell will help keep your nose unblocked all night. You can also mix it with a regular base oil like olive oil and massage it onto your temples and throat region for relief from cold and cough.


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    • john000 profile image

      John R Wilsdon 

      3 years ago from Superior, Arizona

      Thanks for all of these aids for the common cold. I babysit my grandchildren and pick up the occasional cold from them. This hub will be extremely useful.

    • beautyandthebeast profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice good things to know.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      7 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Wow! I know about some of these but I don´t know about the vicks rub on the sole. I´ll try it as I have colds and cough now. Thanks for sharing.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      7 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Cashmere. My family remedy is. Hot Lemonade followed by two Paracetemol tablets. Then stay indoors keeping warm but with the window open. Then it's a matter of time.



    • mothercristina profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow,it's amazing how many people like your hubs! Great job and great tips, since we all suffer from colds now and then.

    • whalefeather2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the advice. I plan on trying some "when" I feel a cold or flu coming on! :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like the way of honey and warm water. Because I usually have it in my house.

    • Journey01 profile image


      7 years ago

      Some ways are very close to our lives. They always appear everyday. Thanks.

    • ideasinked profile image


      7 years ago from Mumbai, India.

      Kadha works for me like a miracle!

      Thanks for other generous tips! :) great Hub.

    • Brightonbreezy profile image


      7 years ago from Brighton, UK

      Thanks for the information, just in time before everyone goes back to school. My mum suggested King of Bitters (don't know if you've heard of it) but apparently it helps against viral infection etc. I found some info online at it helped me last year through the winter so may help others!

    • onlinekam profile image

      Muhammad Umer 

      7 years ago from Karachi Pakistan

      its so benefit for me i am doctor and its benefit for me. please ping me personally. Thanks

    • Vietnambeautiful profile image

      Minmax Travel 

      7 years ago from Vietnam

      It is a information useful. Thank you very much.

    • securityproducts3 profile image


      7 years ago

      ugh, I'm suffering from a little cold right now, the steam inhalation worked really great for me though, thanks!

    • AlexandraMorris profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very good Hub, glad i came across it. I've been having night coughs due to the weather changing. I will try one of these, thank you for the information.

    • anuws profile image


      7 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      Thank you so much for publishing this useful hub! I always love to have home remedies unless I am really very sick and cannot manage with home remedies.

    • deepak2u profile image

      Govind Deepak Kumar 

      7 years ago from Telangana,INDIA

      Excellent . Keep up the good work !

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from India

      I guess with the change in season the hub's going to prove useful to a number of people :) I'm already using a couple of remedies myself !!

    • jennzie profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great list of natural remedies! Chamomile tea with honey can be soothing when you have a cold as well.

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      7 years ago from Austin, TX

      Hello Cashmere! This hub is very timely as it is the rainy season here in our place. Great hub. :)

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      I like to thank you for this wonderful hub. It certainly helped me. great , great hub. more power to you :)

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from India

      Hope you don't get sick at all... :)

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      The first four remedies are very common here in Peru. I like the sounds of the Kadha, though! Eucalyptus on the pillow would be an easy remedy for me to try. I'll try that although I hope not to get sick anytime too soon. : )

    • profile image

      Gunjan Mohta 

      8 years ago

      It was really very helpful to me.Thanksssss a lot 4 sharing this with us!

    • Vegas Elias profile image

      Vegas Elias 

      8 years ago from Mumbai

      Good hub with some information which is new to me. I vote you up on this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I hope it will be usefull.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Like ur share...its very useful n evn i did one of ur steps...thnks for uploading

    • xplore4life profile image


      8 years ago from Beijing, China

      I think best way is to away from dust. I found I get cough when I get dust through my nose. Thanks

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks a lot for sharing these gold tips and the Indian ones to get rid of a cold the natural way. They have helped a lot!! I have been doing salt + haldi gargle and it has really helped with the phlegm in my throat.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      yes its helped me alot thanx!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub, number 6 is my favourite.

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Thank you for sharing the hub with your friends on Facebook.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 

      8 years ago

      Great tips cashmere, i have found this very useful, thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Detroit,Mi.

      I have found the best way for me to not even get a cold or the flu was to build up my immune system with good herbal vitamins and minerals. Have not had a cold or flu in over 2yrs. But if you do , try lots of Red Raspberry tea. Could make a difference in a matter of hours.

    • franciaonline profile image


      8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for this very informative hub.I will share this with friends at Facebook.

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      That's the beauty of these methods, they are old remedies that have been tested time and again.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      8 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Great tips - winter is fast approaching us, and I'll definitely keep these in mind, thank you! It's good to know that the Vicks, honey & lemon and gargling with salt water are tried and tested home remedies to clear up colds and flu, this is what we were brought up with at home and it works! :)

    • networmed profile image


      8 years ago from SPL

      The breathing exercise is interesting... it does help us relax.

    • lmw5 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great article!

    • birdslover profile image


      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for the tips, I suffer from this disease very often and sometimes its unbearable.

    • NiaLee profile image


      8 years ago from BIG APPLE

      thank you so much, tell me do you do house calls??? love and peace

    • CLStigs profile image


      8 years ago

      #4 just cracks me up! Lots of people say this works, I've never tried it, but maybe someday!

    • Grace D. profile image

      Grace D. 

      8 years ago from Missouri

      I have heard of a lot of home remedies but some of those were really new to me. I will try one the next time I get a cold!

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Use what works best for you SEO4site

      @ Rain defence, yes sleep is the natural healer of the body, but tell me just how much free time can you spare from your work to sleep?

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 

      8 years ago from UK

      Sleep is the best remedy. Definitely not heavy nights out drinking with little sleep and then going out in the cold and wet..

      I love the feeling when you go to sleep feeling ill then wake up feeling better.

    • seo4site profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi, Cashmere! Thanks fot post. Actually, I feel a've cot a cold. It's better to use as a complex treatment or it's better to choose the best one? Thank u again

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      My father uses the Jal Neti technique with great ease, I'm not quite as comfortable with it. Still its an excellent home remedy.

    • Dubuquedogtrainer profile image


      8 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

      Good hub - my favorite these days is the Neti pot. I tend to get nasal congestion due to allergies which leads to sinus infection if I can't clear up the congestion fast enough, and then bronchitis. It's always good to know about safe, home remedies - thanks for writing such a helpful hub! Voted up!

    • livingpah2004 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      You have provided great information about home remedies for cough and cold. I am having cough and cold right now. I am going to use it. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up!

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      I'll have a look wiserworld

    • wiserworld profile image


      8 years ago

      Those are some great tips for getting rid of a cough. It would be a great addition to the "how to" website I'm developing at the moment. Check it out if you are interested in contributing sometime:

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Thank you Java, and yes Vit D is as important as Vit C and all these home remedies to get rid of a cold.

    • Eliminate Cancer profile image

      Eliminate Cancer 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Lots of great ideas to ease symptoms, but don't forget Vitamin D actually fights a cold virus. Getting out for a little sunshine, or if you are really too tired, a Vitamin D supplement will do wonders for a cold

    • Java Programs profile image

      Java Programs 

      8 years ago from India

      Hi cashmere,

      This Indian style of treatment is one of the good unique share on hubpages .... Thanks for the wonderful information ... Keep the good work up ..... Voted up ...

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Most of them do

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i wish dis could work

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you very much will try it :)

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Yes honey and lemon are fine for a 14 month old. It is all natural and healthy. He will prefer more honey to lemon in his spoon though :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Is the honey and lemon one ok for my 14 mnth old? he has had a cough and cold for a while now and it's getting worse so going to try some of your tips.

    • htodd profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Thanks cashmere for the nice hub..

    • LoganBurnett profile image


      8 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      wow this hubpages in so good for information, ill try some new tricks out on my wife :) im gonna be a hero

    • sabrani44 profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome tips, will definitely try these! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • arunii profile image


      8 years ago from Delhi

      When winter starts my wife suffers cough & cold so today i decided to search on google and i found your article which is very useful

    • soulsirene profile image


      8 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! You have such a great article. Decoction of mango leaves, either young or mature, can also relieve cough. I have tried it, when my cough reached almost 2 weeks.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Cashmere, Wonderful! These are fabulous healthy tips to remedy a cold! I am all for natural solutions! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Yes ginger tea is good! very effective

    • Melis Ann profile image

      Melis Ann 

      8 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

      I love this article! I also make tea by boiling ginger root. This seems to help too. Thanks for the info.

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      The black pepper has excellent curative properties as does the chicken soup, as comfort food!

    • Ramsa1 profile image


      8 years ago from A citizen of the World

      Great tips. Thanks. My cousin gave me the lemon and honey tip a few days ago.

      My favourite cure for the cold is homemade chicken soup with chicken, barley and potato. Serve hot with black pepper.

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Thanks everyone for taking the time to read up these home remedies for the common cold and flu.

      MsMcNerdyNerd, i'm investing in a bottle of Bourbon :)

    • MsMcNerdyNerd profile image


      8 years ago

      Great article, i like the Honey and Warm Water, its a little bit like what i do when i get a cold. I make a hot toddy made of lemon tea, honey, and 2 ounces of Bourbon. It clears your cold right up, but must be 21 years old :)

    • IJR112 profile image


      8 years ago

      This is good information for everyone. I like to drink lots of tea. The steam inhalation and eucalyptus is also something I do all the time just by going into the steam room at my gym. It works wonders.

    • ravindraxfiles profile image


      8 years ago from Sri Lanka

      it makes me hard when suffering from cold. your tips are fantastic and hope to follow.. nice post anyway.

    • Easyword profile image


      8 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Great article. The information about various spices, herbs, and oils isn't very well known in America, and holistic solutions like these are often scoffed at. We need more hubs like these!

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Thank you for the tip on "Steam Inhalation"! Great advice and I am going to try that today.

    • profile image

      cchris lamar 

      8 years ago

      Wow L00L

    • mvaivata profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a really handy article. You know what else I've found helps for a cold -- especially when you have a nasty sore throat? Elderberry. I know that the jury is still out on whether or not it works, but I've been on the verge of a cold three times in the past few years, and it always stopped it right in its tracks. That's a pretty good record in my book. Thank you for your interesting hub!

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      DJs the turmeric tastes horrible, but is very effective. After all it is medicine!

      Maraiya, hope the Holy basil in the tea adds to the curative effect for you.

      Sportsgames, I know, most of the remedies do not even give you much relief.

    • sportgames profile image


      8 years ago from Ashter Street 14, New Yok

      I am all for home remedies, I don't trust pharmacies a lot since they are all for profit.

    • Maraiya Storm profile image

      Maraiya Storm 

      8 years ago from Prescott, Arizona

      I drink a lot of chai tea which is similar to one of the teas you mentioned, but I will try adding holy basil to it to see the effect.

      I've tried various alternative cold remedies, and each one works better for certain colds and flus and not other virus strains, so it's weird. Had success with: Andrographis, and currently have been using Traditional Medicinals "Breathe Easy" which greatly minimizes cold symptoms and gets you well quicker and is the best remedy I've found. Honey and lemon is soothing for the throat but doesn't quite stop a cough for very long. I found some great cough drops at hf store, they are east Indian, but can't remember the name and I think they contained a lot of ginger. Always on the lookout for cold remedies. I like the mention of Lemon Balm, it's great stuff, but I never thought of it for the throat...I used to use it for menstrual cramps years ago and it worked like a charm.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Do not use the tumurac it tastes horrible!!! All the others things work aswell if not better

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Dust allergies are horrid Skys, My mom suffers from them.

      letisha, I've not tried it, as yet :)

      Dorsi thanks a ton.

    • letisha19 profile image


      8 years ago

      yes the salt and water does work well!

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Voted up, tweeted and facebooked! I'm dealing with a nasty cold right now and using the warm salt water gargle and Airborne. It does help!

    • skys profile image

      Samad Aslam Khan 

      8 years ago

      I'm highly allergic to dust but I can't avoid it. So often I have to bear these problems. Well nice remedies are quoted here and hope these will make it possible for me to get rid of heavy antibiotic and anti-allergic medicines.

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      tea with ginger I've heard of, but salt and ginger in tea? new one

    • xplore4life profile image


      8 years ago from Beijing, China

      Tea with salt and ginger are best solution.

    • EVanDusen profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I like the Vic's on the feet idea and the eucalyptus oil on the pillow...and don't forget Chicken Soup the "Jewish Penicillin"

    • roosterbob profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great list here! I didn't know about a few of them until now. I'll add my secret - organic apple cider vinegar. You have to get used to the taste and should dilute it in water, but it's got a lot of health benefits including anti viral and anti bacterial properties. Thanks for the good read!

    • knoleskine profile image


      8 years ago from Barcelona

      My grandmother also adds a lot of ginger for us in our tea!

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Soni that sounds like an interesting home remedy. But with mustard oil involved its going to stink to high heavens isn't it?!

      Natashalh I have not tried Sage leaves tea. So have no idea how effective it is. Don't have a plant either :)

    • YvetteParker profile image


      8 years ago from AUGUSTA, GA

      #4 is my mother's personal favorite! Great article.

    • Natashalh profile image


      8 years ago from Hawaii

      Some of these I have tried, some of them I've never heard of but will try really soon because I currently feel a bit under the weather. One of my other favorite things to do is make tea from sage leaves because sage is antiseptic. It isn't really economical unless you have a sage plant, though.

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      Good information, my mother taught me about the honey, lemon and salt water gargles. They do work great for a cold. I didn't know about rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub on the feet. That is very interesting. Thank you!

    • BEAUTYBABE profile image


      8 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

      so many of us suffer every year from varying degrees of coughs and colds. A lot of people either don't want to or can't afford to buy the cough and cold mixtures from the chemist.

      The information contained in your hub is very useful for this type of situation. There are so many choices for every type of problem from a chest cold down to a runny or stuffy nose problem.

      You have gone to a lot of trouble to do this and it is going to give a lot of people help and peace of mind to know that there are alternatives such as the old fashioned way.

      They don't have to pay a fortune at the chemist.

      Great hub gets thumbs up from me and intersting and useful. I am also following you. Pam x

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      8 years ago from Pa

      Very helpful and simple steps thank you for sharing:)

    • profile image

      soni Jaiswal 

      8 years ago

      Boil mustard oil with crushed garlic along with a teaspoon of ajwain till garlic gets dark brown. Filter the oil in some utensil and then apply is warm on kids chest, back and whole body if possible leaving hair. It works like wonder and little one gets good sleep.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Liz Rayen 

      8 years ago from California

      I never get the flu (knock on wood) however, when I get a seems to last forever. Great info. The next time I get a cold.. I will try these tips.

      Voted up and useful.

      ~Lisa RusticLiving

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My mom make me hany and lemon and adds warm water I find this very usful and I'm 100% this will work


      Drink twice a day 1 in the morning and 1 befor u go to sleep and dint eat or drink after this

    • Susan Kay profile image

      Susan Kay 

      8 years ago from Headwaters of the Mississippi

      I have a killer cold right now. Will try some of these tips.

    • cashmere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from India

      Eucalyptus oil is excellent, cyoung35.

      Thank you shawn and ravi.

      I've not tried lemon Balm with Tea, that is a new one scott.

      Gelsimum would not be a home remedy since it is a homeopathic medicine. If you are looking at homeopathy then I would also recommend Bryonia, belladonna and rhus tox


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