Home Remedies for Cold and Flu: Natural Ways to Combat Symptoms


Colds and the flu are both illnesses caused by viruses and are considered to be normal occurrences in the life of every individual . Unfortunately, both the viruses that cause colds and the flu have no cure, however, there is an array of safe and effective home remedies that may help to alleviate the symptoms and speed up the recovery process. This article describes over 20 home remedies that are probably sitting in your home to relieve the symptoms of cold and flu.

Signs of the Common Cold and Flu Similarities

Before exploring home remedies, it’s important to understand the difference between cold and flu symptoms:Before exploring home remedies, it’s important to understand the difference between cold and flu symptoms:

Cold Symptoms

  • – Stuffy congested nose
  • – Sore throat
  • – Cough
  • – Congestion
  • – Slight body aches
  • – Mild fatigue
  • – Sneezing
  • – Watery eyes
  • – Low grade fever

Flu Symptoms

  • – High fever
  • – Chills
  • – Muscle and joint pain
  • – Fatigue
  • – Cough
  • – Sore throat
  • – Sneezing or trouble breathing through the nose
  • – Nausea or vomiting
  • – Diarrhoeal diseases (frequent in children)

Although the symptoms are almost similar, with the flu being a more serious illness than the cold. While cold symptoms may seem to develop slowly over the course of several days at most, flu symptoms seem to appear suddenly. Although both colds and flu are similar in many ways, they are caused by viruses, not bacteria, so antibiotics cannot be used to treat them. However, there are several natural remedies that can be taken at home to try and ease the symptoms.

Natural & Herbal Remedies for Treating Cold & Flu

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is crucial especially when one is sick or has an illness that affects the body’s water balance. Since both colds and flu involve loss of fluids, the body becomes dehydrated and this elongates the period of the illness. The intake of at least 8 glasses a day should be achieved especially when one is sick. Liquids that are recommended to be taken by patients include water, herbal tea, broths, soups, and diluted fruit juices. Coffee and alcohol containing beverages are also recommended as they will only add to your existing dehydration.

Get Plenty of Rest

Your body requires enough rest when you are ill to enable its healing mechanisms to work properly. It is wise to rest for more hours and avoid putting much pressure on your muscles. It’s also ok to take a sick day from school or work so the body is able to take a break. Naps are also very useful when one feels so tired from a flu or cold session.

Take a Hot Shower

An application of hot steamy shower can help in giving some comfort when one is having a stuffy nose and a cough especially when sick. The warm moist air, which is inhaled, helps in breaking up the mucus in the nasal and throats passages so that it can drain well. To enhance the results of showering for congestion and coughs, you can try adding a few drops of eucalyptus or menthol oil on the shower floor. Just don’t make the water too hot to avoid leaving your nasal passages dry and chapped like your skin after using it.

Try a Neti Pot

The utilization of a neti pot with a saline solution can be used to reduce nasal congestion by emptying the nasal cavity of excessive mucus. Specifically, a neti pot requires you to tilt your head to one side, hover the spout of the pot over the sink, and then pour the saline solution into one nostril. It shall then blow out the other nostril to expel mucus that has been extracted from the nasal passage. It is recommended that the water used should be sterile or water that has been boiled before using it on the hair.

Apply a Warm Compress

Option such as applying warm, moist compress on the face can be so helpful especially when you are experiencing sinus pains, headache, sore throat or even cough. To make a compress one must take a clean towel and wet it with warm water. Squeeze out the water and cover your nose, cheeks, eyes, and forehead for 5-10 minutes. To further experience the same level of comfort, one should just warm up the towel again periodically.

Gargle Salt Water

This is a simple remedy that any individual can try at home to ease the discomfort that comes with having a sore throat. It has antimicrobial properties and keeps the salt water in the back of your throat, mucus and disinfects the throat lining from bacteria. It helps to warm one cup of water, add one teaspoon of salt and gently gargle the solution for at least half a minute and then spit out. To be taken as often as necessary, every few hours when the pain becomes unbearable.

Have Soup or Broth

Mild soups, especially those made from broths, can be a real remedy for a cold because they facilitate the process of swallowing as well as help to unblock the clogged nose. When in a sick state, one is likely to take chicken noodle soup and chicken broth given their popularity. Other types of vegetable or bone broths are also suitable to use in preparing this dish. Broths may assist in rehydration while steam may in some cases contribute to the loosening of mucus. Cream-based soups should not be consumed as dairy products tend to produce a lot of mucus.

Drink Hot Tea

Drinking a cup of hot tea is another sure way of relieving most of the effects of cold and flu. This can help free congestion in the sinuses and even in the throat while the steam helps in loosening up phlegm. But there are also other types of herbal teas that include substances that fight diseases. Ginger, honey lemon, echinacea, peppermint and chamomile tea are harmless choices that could also help in strengthening the immune system and relieve the symptoms. Pour some honey into the tea to make it sweet as per your desired taste.

Use Humidifiers

They provide a means of introducing moisture into air to aid in all sorts of flu and cold related symptoms. The moist air is very helpful when one has a sore throat and is also helpful when one has a cough, or difficulty in breathing due to sinus. Operate your humidifiers in your bedroom at night and in other rooms where much activity happens during the day. Treat the water tanks as you do your dishes, make sure to clean the humidifiers to ensure no growth of bacteria that can spread germs in the water tanks. Or, you can also turn on the hot shower to produce some steam in the washroom.

Try Over-the-Counter Medications

If those wanting relief are willing to wait a little longer, there are many types of drugs that are available at the counter; those that are used for treatment of cold and flu. Some cold medicines like pseudoephedrine have the ability to help reduce the symptoms of nasal and sinus congestion. There are cough remedies like guaifenesin that assist in reducing throat irritation and loosening of phlegm. Simple analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce fever and symptoms such as headaches and body aches related to colds and flu. Use as directed.

Take Vitamin C Supplements

However, there is some research showing that if you start taking vitamin C supplements at high doses once you notice the initial signs of the common cold, then the duration of the disease will be reduced. The daily intake is usually between 500 to 1000 milligrams but this depends on the specific brand used. Zinc is the other supplement that might help combat viral infections and thereby reduce severity. As always, consult your doctor before starting any new regimen, including using high doses of supplements.

Drink Hot Lemonade

The following are the easiest homemade immune booster: pour hot water into a cup, add the juice of one lemon, one tablespoon of honey, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Lemons contain vitamin C which enhances the immune system while honey has anti-sore throat properties. Another bonus of cayenne pepper that may be helpful is its ability to dissolve congestion. Mix well and consume this wonderful lemonade several times a day if one is suffering from flu or any other sickness.

Use Chili Powder

Spicy chili powder has components called capsaicin which may assist in clearing congestion when one is sick. For instance, prepare a cup of hot water or tea and then add a pinch of chili powder. Just do not forget that the chili powder should not get into your eyes. If you do not wish the food to be spicy or if you have a sensitive stomach you can begin by ordering a small portion. This chili tea has the ability to help clear congested nasal passages, so it’s recommended to drink whenever congested during the day. This will help to open blocked nasal passages that are usually stuffed due to heat.

Try Honey

I wanted to share with you that honey in fact has antibacterial and soothing characteristics which make it a good natural cough remedy. To treat a cough, take 1 tablespoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and mix them together when needed. The honey has a protective layer to the throat and warms it, while the cinnamon has antibacterial properties. SHE MAY BE GIVEN THIS HONEY MIXTURE TO ALLEVIATE COUGHS AS AND WHEN REQUIRED. It is recommended that honey should not be consumed by children below the age of one since they can be affected by infant botulism.

Inhale Essential Oils

Some of the oils have ingredients like menthol, eucalyptol, and other volatile materials that can offer some relief from congestion. Some of the few varieties of oil that are ideal to be used include eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree. Add a few drops of oil to hot water in a bowl to use. Cover your head with a towel and bend low over the hot water, take steam through the nose for 5 to 10 as and when required to unblock the sinuses. Essential oils are toxic if ingested, so avoid consumption at all costs.

Consider Garlic

Its active compounds include antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory substances that might reduce the effects of cold and flu viruses. And it may also increase the healing process and strengthen the immune system to ensure you get back on your feet faster. Minced garlic should be added to chicken soup or any kind of broth for a better and deeper soothing effect. If the taste turns you off, you can try out the garlic supplements. Always consult your doctor because garlic is known to have an interaction with some of the medications that you may be using. If garlic has a side effect of causing your stomach to ache, then it is advisable to stop its use.

Have Chicken Soup

Chicken noodle soup is commonly recommended as a home cure for colds and flu and with good reason, warm soup is soothing. It also contains broth to help keep you hydrated and having it warm has the added benefit of being a natural remedy to congestion. This meat known as chicken supplies strength coming in the form of protein while these vegetables go a long way in supplying vitamins. Garlic is a spice and it has antimicrobial compounds present in it. And the taste of the old days just seems to make mental health superior according to this research. It has been observed that it is better to use real chicken and vegetable broth instead of cream based canned soups.

Stay Cozy

When you are shivering from a fever, the tendency is to grab blankets and wrap yourself up to get your temperature back to normal. Soft socks, sweat pants, long sleeve shirts, and fuzzy robes are just examples of clothing that will help you lock your body temperature in immediately. Have extra blankets neatly stacked on the couch or bed ready for use when a Guest gets cold. The warmth relieves body pains and can be used to put one in a state of calmness.

Consider Zinc Lozenges

Certain studies show that the use of zinc gluconate or acetate lozenges in the early stages of colds could reduce the severity and length of the illness. Zinc is noted to have a capability of restraining viruses from making copies of themselves within the body. However, you need to ensure that the lozenges contain not less than 13.3 mg of zinc. Let them dissolve in the mouth only when required and to do so slowly every 2-3 hours when the person is sick. Caution: Discontinue their use once symptoms subside so as not to reach toxic levels of zinc.

Have Peppermint Tea

When you have a cold or the flu, a hot cup of peppermint tea will help to clear your nasal passages and ease your coughing for a little while. In peppermint, there is an element known as menthol that is useful in the unblocking of congested areas while at the same time relieving sore throat. The steam inhaled from the hot tea may also clear the sinus passages.

The hot tea should be consumed without sugar, as it may cause inflammation of the throat lining. When sick, it is recommended that you consume up to three cups of peppermint tea to reduce the signs of sickness. It also mentioned that any food containing peppermint should be avoided by people with acid reflux.

Take Oregano Oil

This oil obtained from the oregano herb has carvacrol and thymol that can work well in clearing your system and also suppress coughs. Several minor research indicates that oregano oil could potentially decrease some symptoms associated with colds and flu such as coughing, throat irritation, stuffy nose, and muscular pain. Oregano oil can be taken as capsules following the instructions or incorporating the oil in soups, stews, and teas.

Take it in small quantities initially to avoid any chances of it causing ulcers or irritation to the stomach. They should stop using it in cases of nausea or diarrhea.

Elderberries are especially rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, therefore, this syrup can help in boosting immunity.

There are various traditional uses and benefits associated with elderberry syrup especially during the flu season. Elderberry contains components that work on an antiviral method by denying viruses access to cells. If you would prefer to buy your elderberries ready to use, you can buy elderberry syrup which is ready for consumption, or if you would like to prepare it at home you can take dried elderberries and boil them in water and honey.

Regular intake of 1-2 tablespoons daily may help alleviate symptoms of the flu. Nonetheless, one must stop consuming elderberry if he or she has an autoimmune condition.

Consider Probiotics

Probiotics are friendly bacteria which have a positive role to play in the immune system and the body health. Certain studies show that the use of probiotic supplements can effectively reduce the incidences of cold and flu experienced annually. They may also possibly reduce the duration of illnesses and decrease the intensity of symptoms experienced.

Make sure to look for a product containing a range of possible strains. To increase immunity every time you are down, consume according to the dosage indicated on the bottle. Yogurt, kimchi and kefir are additional sources of probiotics.

Get Extra Vitamin D

Research indicates patients with low vitamin D levels are at higher risk of contracting respiratory illnesses such as the common cold or the flu. Even though vitamin D is naturally synthesized through sun exposure, supplements can provide the energy needed when we are under the weather. It is also advised to seek a vitamin D3 supplement with a daily dosage between 2000 to 5000 IU. But first, have your blood levels done because too much is toxic and can cause health issues.

It is advised that you should always consult your doctor and explain to him or her all the benefits associated with the drug.

Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar is a fermented type of vinegar with friendly bacteria and enzymes that boost the immune system. It is also highly acidic, and this makes it to kills bacteria as well as dissolve mucus in patients’ throats. Taken in 1-2 tablespoons and diluted in water or tea, it is recommended to consume this remedy three to four times per day when the first symptoms of illness appear. Another use of ACV is that people also rinse their throats with diluted ACV if they have a sore throat.

It can irritate the throat or the stomach, so start off with tiny portions if the problem is severe.

Drink Echinacea Tea

Echinacea is a plant native to North America which has been for centuries by native Americans for the purpose of treating infections and enhancing the immune system. It is considered that alkaloids found in the plant increases the host resistance towards viruses by boosting the immune system. Evidence studies suggest that echinacea supplements taken early when the first sign of a common cold is experienced can slightly reduce the symptoms. One should search for the echinacea tea and is recommended to take it thrice in a day if one is feeling low.

Discontinue its use if it makes the skin break out in rashes or if it creates pains in the stomach.


When people have coughs, sore throat, and sinus congestion it is never a pleasant experience, but it is even more worse when it occurs at working, learning or studying period. Although time is a good remedy, the natural home remedies explained here can give you relief to help you sleep more comfortably until the herpes zoster clears.

It is advisable to consult with your doctor about the right dosage and contraindications of the different cold and flu products discussed above. In order to stay healthy and avoid worsening of the flu symptoms, one should drink lots of water, get more rest, and let the body’s immune system to eliminate the virus.

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