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Natural Cold Remedies

Updated on January 15, 2009
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Sunshine is a wife, mother of four, a relationship expert, a journalist, a photographer, a public speaker, and author.


There are hundreds of viruses out there just waiting to give you the common cold, and they're constantly mutating. What does that mean? The common cold is caused by one of many viruses. It attacks the mucous membrane of the nose, leaving you coughing, sneezing, and battling an endless supply of snot. Most people come down with a cold at least twice a year. The viruses that result in the common cold are airborne, which means they are passed from person to person when some one sneezes or coughs them into the air. They ride little droplets of liquid that fly out of your body like extreme surfers. When you either breathe in the droplets, or touch them on a surface and rub your eyes, wipe your nose, or lick your fingers. It's hard to stop the spread, because people are contagious one full day before they have their first symptom.

What do you do to prevent the cold? Frequent hand washing is the best deterrent, but if you find yourself in a situation where you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Avoid crowded places where germs are prevalent. Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands. Practice standard precautions. If it's wet, and it's not yours, wear gloves. Use a tissue to turn on and off sinks, and to open doors in public places, because they are germ hotspots.

So, you've done all you can to avoid it, but now you have a cold, you're achy, and you just don't feel good. What do you do now? Here are some alternatives to over-the-counter cold medicines that you can use to help you feel better and boost your immune system.


  • Fluids-making sure you get ample fluid intake is the number one most important thing you can do when you have a cold. Hot fluids such as tea and broth will help loosen sinuses and congestion. Make sure you get enough water to keep from being dehydrated. Avoid caffeinated tea and soda, coffee, and alcohol, because they will make dehydration worse.

  • Garlic-garlic contains an antibiotic. It's best if garlic is chopped, crushed, or chewed, but not cooked, because it looses its healing properties. Don't want breath that will kill vampires with one word? You can pick it up in the form of a pill at your local health food store.

  • Vitamin C-there are tons of ways to get vitamin c, but one of the best is through pineapple juice. Believe it or not, it's easier on the digestive system than orange juice.

Pineapple juice cocktail:

4oz fresh pineapple juice

2 oz cranberry juice

2 oz water

Mix, add ice, enjoy!


  • Chicken soup-grandma wasn't wrong when she fed you chicken soup. Not only can you jam pack it with antioxidant fresh foods, but the steam from the soup will help to clear your sinuses. Medical research published in the medical journal ‘Chest" show anti-inflammatory properties in chicken soup.

Grandma's Chicken Soup:

6 precooked chicken thighs

3 small potatoes-washed and chopped (peeled if prefer)

3 carrots

16 oz peas

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

16 oz corn

16 oz legumes of choice

2-16 oz cans low sodium chicken broth

Save 1 broth can for water

½ tsp thyme

1 fresh basil leaf

½ tsp fresh oregano

2 cloves garlic

1/8 tbsp cayenne pepper

Pepper to taste

Strip the meat from the chicken thighs-discard bones

Place the chicken pieces large heavy pot

Cover with both cans chicken broth and 1 can water on

med heat

Add all veggies, beans, and spices

Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 min-enjoy

Serves 4-freezable

Bulb Syringe
Bulb Syringe

  • Gargle salt water-1/2 tsp in 8 oz water can relieve a sore throat.
  • Use a salt water rinse to break nasal congestion.

Salt Water Rinse:

Mix ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp baking soda in 8oz of warm water. Fill a bulb syringe with mixture, and over a bowl, close one nostril with your finger, and squirt the solution into the other. Let the solution drain out. Repeat on the other side. Do this 3 times.

  • Use a humidifier-colds are more prominent in the winter, because the air is less humid. Using a humidifier will add needed humidity back into the air. Be sure you change the water in the humidifier daily, and completely clean it out every other day to stave off mold and fungi.
  • Blow your nose-and blow it often instead of sucking the germs that are making you sick back into your head. Blowers beware, don't blow your nose hard, because the pressure will force that gook into your ears, causing an earache.
  • Stay warm and rested-so your immune system can focus on fighting the nasty virus
  • Stay in a good mood, and laugh-rent some funny movies, watch your favorite comedian, or call your funniest friend. Laughter has been proven to relieve stress, make your immune system stronger, and it can even fight diseases.
  • Echinacea*-only works when taken during the onset of a cold. Echinacea is an immune boosting herbal remedy. Products containing Echinacea can be found in your local health food store.
  • Zinc*-zinc lozenges are said to speed up the fight against the common cold. Not many studies have been done, but people who use them swear by them.
  • Ginger*-drinking ginger tea is said to also zap the common cold. Again, there are not many studies supporting it, but people who drink it swear by it.


*Before taking any new herbal remedy, please speak with your doctor about it, and make sure to tell them about any medications you may be on as well.

These are just a few of the hundreds of natural remedies for fighting the common cold. The remedies in this article were chosen because of cost, availability, and most widely used and researched. In no way are any of these remedies intended to cure the common cold, only to relieve some of the symptoms and assist your body in the virus-fighting process. All of the remedies listed are natural alternatives to over the counter medications that can have side effects as serious as death. Please use all herbal remedies as directed, laugh more, and use universal precautions to best avoid the viruses that cause the common cold.


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    • Libsmommy profile image

      Libsmommy 9 years ago

      Wish I would of read this a few weeks ago lol. Good article.