How many times have you bunked your office/school/college because you have a cold? And how many times have you heard the words ‘but it’s just a cold!’?
A common cold may seem like a mundane nuisance, but it sure can cause severe discomfort and make you feel really ill. A cold can set in owing to several reasons. The change of seasons and the intrusion of some bacteria can lead to its onset. You may develop cold after getting wet in the rain, and also in the winters. Whatever the root cause is, cold can be quite cumbersome. It is often accompanied by fever, headache, sore throat, cough, a bland taste in mouth, stuffy nose, and lethargy (1).
But then, what if you could treat your cold overnight? Sounds amazing, right? That is what this post talks about. Go ahead and read.
Ways To Treat Cold
In most instances, a cold does not persist for very long. Some people may get relief in a few days, though a cold lasting for a week or more is not very uncommon. For a majority of people, the OTC cold and cough medications are the most sought after methods to battle the condition. However, most of these medications just suppress cold instead of giving long-term relief. You can opt for various homemade and natural remedies to get relief from cold and cough.
Below listed are the top natural and home remedies for cold, which you can try for quick relief.
Common Cold Home Remedies
1. Drinking Hot Beverages
Drinking hot beverages will help loosen sinus secretions. Studies have indicated that those who drink warm beverages during cold get quick relief from cold symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and fatigue (2). Drinking tea is advisable, and you may also drink herbal tea. Non-caffeinated hot drinks are ideal for those afflicted with cold.
2. Taking Hot Soup And Broth
Apart from tea, you can also take plenty of hot soup, broth, and stew to treat relief from cold symptoms quickly. You may opt for homemade vegetable soup and chicken soups, for example. Chicken soup has long been used as a home based remedy for cold. Remember how your mum used to give you chicken soup when you had a cold as a child? Well, she did understand the benefits of this home remedy. Studies have shown that chicken soup consumption can limit the generation of white blood cells that aggravate cold symptoms (3). Also, the fumes from the soup will thin the mucus and help it flow out of your nose and the nutrients present will boost your energy levels.
3. Using Steam Bath
To decongest the nasal passage and get relief from body fatigue caused by cold, it is ideal to take a steam bath. Fill the bathtub with warm water and soak your body in it for 20 minutes or so. You can even soak your legs in a bucket half filled with warm water for relief.
4. Steam Inhalation
If you do not feel like taking a shower, more so in winter, but want relief from cold, opt for a quick steaming treatment. Heat a big bowl of water. Place it on the floor or table. Now lean over it, but refrain from getting too close to the hot water. The steam vapor will enter your nostrils and loosen up the mucus. You may also wrap a towel around your head. The common cold usually causes your nose to get stuffy and blocked. This can make breathing difficult. Steam inhalation is the best home remedy for common cold that clears this stuffiness. You can also add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the water if you like.
Garlic, a common kitchen ingredient, is known for its numerous beneficial properties for human health. A few studies have indicated that it can be used to expedite relief from cold (4). You can take garlic in many ways. Chewing raw garlic can be too much for most people owing to its pungent smell. However, garlic, in its crushed form, can very well be mixed in hot soup and broth, and eaten. Mixing crushed garlic with honey is another way. However, you can also gulp down garlic capsules with water. The University of Alabama’s associate professor of environmental science and biology, Dr. David W. Kraus, says that it is a mistake to use garlic in foods just after crushing it. You should crush garlic and let it sit for some time before adding it to soups and curries. This leads to an enzyme reaction that enhances garlic’s healing benefits.
Ginger is another household cooking ingredient that can be used to bring quick relief from cold symptoms (5). It has an aroma that is soothing to your nose. Besides, ginger is also known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Its natural spiciness helps clear congestion in the nasal passage to an extent. You can use ginger in a number of ways to treat a cold. You can mix shredded fresh ginger in herbal tea and drink it to clear your nose and get relief from a sore throat. Ginger paste or shredded ginger can also be mixed with hot soups and stews to enhance the flavor and boost its cold-fighting effect.
7. Ginger And Cloves
Both ginger and cloves have been used in Asian cultures for centuries for their medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties. A paste made of cloves, ginger, and salt can cure common cold and also help alleviate some of the symptoms. Take half teaspoon of this paste twice a day.
8. Taking Honey
Honey is known for its potent healing and antiviral properties. It can be effective in treating cold and soothing sore throat. Its antioxidants help the immune system battle virus or bacteria that cause cold (6).You should take raw or organic honey to get the maximum benefits in this regard. It is possible to take honey in many ways. Eating raw honey twice a day is advisable. You may also mix a spoon of honey in a glass of warm milk and gulp it down before hitting the bed. You can even use it instead of sugar to make herbal teas.
9. Using Turmeric
Turmeric, one herb found in nearly every kitchen, can also be used to get effective relief from cold symptoms. Turmeric has an ingredient called curcumin that has several health benefits. The herb also has antibacterial properties. Curcumin serves as a natural anti-inflammatory agent (7). This helps in relieving chest congestion and clears the nasal passage. You may boil turmeric in water and inhale the steam to clear the nose. Using turmeric powder with warm milk for drinking is also advisable. You may also drop some honey in the milk to add to the flavor and boost its cold-fighting capacity.
[ Read: Benefits Of Turmeric for Health ]
10. Gargling With Hot Water
When you are down with a cold, sore throat is one of the symptoms that you have to cope with. Gargling with hot water can help soothe a sore throat. When you use warm salt water for gargling, you get instant relief. The water hydrates your throat, and the salt helps cope with the infection. Add some shredded ginger to this water to boost its efficacy. Gargle with this solution twice a day or so to stave off the cold.
11. Using Elderberry
Elderberry is a herb that has been used for a long time to treat cold and flu (8). It was used a lot in European countries for this purpose. It contains bioflavonoids that act as immunity boosters. Elderberry also has anti-inflammatory properties that help battle swelling in the sinuses. Among the several variants of elderberry, the European elderberry or black elderberry is used the most for this purpose. You can easily find Elderberry syrup in the market nowadays. For safety reasons, pregnant women and children should not be given elderberry without medical advice.
12. Using Essential Oils
The essential oils are not only good for a relaxing body massage, but they also come in handy in offering relief from cold symptoms. There are many essential oils you can pick, but lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils work wonders for staving off cold and flu. While eucalyptus oil helps overcome nasal congestion, peppermint oil functions as a nice expectorant. The aroma helps soothe your nerves and promotes a sense of relaxation.
There are many ways to use these essential oils for cold relief.
- You may massage essential oils for immense relief from a cold. The oil mixed in a base oil can be safely applied to your chest, neck, and forehead. However, keep in mind that these oils are strong and should be applied after diluting with mild carrier oils. Almond, olive, and coconut oils serve as ideal carrier oils.
- You can opt for a steam bath with water infused with essential oils. Fill a bathtub or bucket with warm water. Then add a few drops of essential oils in it. Bathe in the water and obtain the benefits.
- You may also use a diffuser to spread the aroma of essential oils all over the room and house. This will offer relief to your nose and help kill bacteria or virus in the air.
13. Eating Oysters
Oysters are not only good for giving your libido a boost, but they can also be useful for fighting cold. These molluscs are rich in zinc and contain more of this mineral than any other food item. Studies have shown that zinc can be effective when you take it when the cold sets in (9). It also boosts your immune system.
14. Eating Mushrooms
Not many people are aware of it, but eating mushrooms can help you battle and overcome cold. You may pick from mushroom varieties like maitake, portobello, and white button, etc. You may add mushrooms to soups and enjoy them.
15. Greek Yogurt
Some people may frown at the idea of eating yogurt when suffering from cold, but eating Greek yogurt does help. This yogurt contains probiotics or healthy live bacteria that help boost your immune system. Your body’s inflammatory response also gets a boost. It is recommended that you buy unflavored Greek yogurt and add some honey atop to enhance taste and boost the cold-fighting effects too.
16. Using A Humidifier
A dry indoor environment can make you feel uncomfortable. You will find your nasal passage getting dry and this can cause some irritation. Also, dry nasal passages provide the ideal environment for the virus to proliferate and make your cold worse. Run a humidifier in the room to supply moisture to the air inside and this will keep your nose and nasal tissue moist.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Treat Dry Nose ]
17. Using Pepper Variants
Using various types of pepper, mostly known as culinary ingredients, can be effective in alleviating the symptoms of a cold. Using pepper may not heal cold, but the ingredients of pepper may expedite healing.
(a) Using Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper, when ingested with honey and fresh ginger, can soothe a sore throat and clear up your nose. Mix all these ingredients with warm water and take a sip a few times every day.
Use a small amount of cayenne pepper powder in warm water and gargle with it to clear the throat.
(b) Using Black Pepper
You may mix black pepper with tamarind paste and dilute this in water. Add some melted butter as well. Drink the mix twice a day. This mixture helps clear sinus. You can also mix about half a teaspoon of fresh ground pepper in a glass of lukewarm water. Stir it well and drink this concoction. It will stem the flow of mucus and also stop the sneezing. You can also gargle with ground pepper water to help your throat pain.
[ Read: Benefits Of Black Pepper Health ]
You may also mix either cayenne pepper or black pepper in a powdered form with soups and broths. Doing so will add a tangy flavor to the soups and boost the cold-fighting effect.
18. Chamomile Cure
Chamomile is a herb that can be used to get relief from cold (10). It has ingredients that clear lungs and airways. The herb also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
You may use steam inhalation using chamomile leaves in warm water. Fill a pot with hot water and then drop some dried or fresh chamomile leaves in it. Now lean over the pot and inhale the steam vapor. Try this twice a day for expediting relief from cold. You may also drink chamomile tea to get relief from a sore throat and blocked nose.
19. Using Saline Nasal Drops
To get relief from blocked nose caused by cold, you may use saline nasal drops. While you can find several nasal drops in medical shops, it is possible to make a homemade nasal drop. Boil eight ounces of water and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt in it. Fill this salt solution into a nasal spray bottle and use it four to six times a day. It will not only thin the mucus, but also allow it to be expelled from your nose.
20. Using Fenugreek
Fenugreek, a common kitchen ingredient, can be used to get relief from common cold. Studies have indicated that it can be used to fight symptoms of a cold like a sore throat (11). You may boil fenugreek seeds in water and let it steep for some time. When it gets cool, strain the seeds. Mix the water with some honey and drink it.
21. Drink A Lot Of Fluids
A cold means the production of mucus in your respiratory track. By drinking a lot of fluids, you will help thin the mucus, which can flow freely and be expelled from your body. The mucus also contains the virus that causes common cold and this means you will be helping your body heal quicker. Usually, you should be looking to sip water or drink hot tea every two hours. Drink about eight ounces of fluid each time.
22. Get Adequate Rest
There is no better cure for the common cold than rest. Not only will you help your body recover from the bout of cold quickly, you will also not spread the infection. Try to stay in bed, watch TV or read a book. Yes, you do need rest, even if it’s just a cold!
23. Eat More Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, contain vitamin C, which helps to boost your immune system. This helps your body fight the virus better and hasten the healing process.
Points To Keep In Mind
While using home based remedies and natural products to get relief from cold is useful, you need to keep certain things in mind. Using certain foods and herbs may not be suited for all. For example, giving honey to kids younger than one year for treating a cold is not recommended. Similarly, some people may be allergic to foods like oyster. While buying mushrooms, you need to look for their freshness as well. Similarly, caution should be taken while using essential oils on your skin. Women who are lactating and pregnant need to be even more careful about these aspects.
Do try these home remedies for common cold the next time you are struck down with one. Usually, you would have to use a combination of few remedies, but trust me when I say, they are very effective.
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