Home Remedies
Stylecraze

26 Effective Home Remedies For Common Cold

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
26 Effective Home Remedies For Common Cold November 27, 2017

Sneezing, runny nose, and that heaviness in the head—the ‘common’ cold can cause a lot of discomfort! People might say ‘It’s just a cold!’ But you know the suffering only when you experience it yourself. It may seem like a mundane nuisance when in reality it can cause severe discomfort and make you feel really ill. As common as a cold is, it is one of the easiest ailments to treat with home remedies. This article shall discuss these in detail. Keep reading to know more!

Let us first examine the causes, signs and symptoms, and even the stages of a cold. It is important to understand how exactly a cold can be caused so that the best remedies can be devised and used for it. Here are the symptoms of a common cold.

Common Cold Signs & Symptoms

You may experience a combination of these symptoms –

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Postnasal drip
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes

Fever may or may not be present. Usually, children experience feverish feeling with temperature ranging between 100oF to 102oF (1, 2). Read on to know how exactly a cold is caused.

Common Causes Of Cold

When you come in contact with the cold virus, it can easily infect you and cause the various symptoms mentioned above. Different types of viruses are known to cause the common cold of which the rhinovirus is most common one. An individual with a weak immune system as seen in infants and children is more prone to getting affected by the common cold (1, 2).

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. Find below the stages of a cold.

Stages Of A Cold

When you first contract the virus, the first day or two remain symptom-free.  At this juncture, the viruses that escape the body’s immune response start to incubate and replicate within the body. From day three, you start to experience mild symptoms of nasal irritation and congestion. This soon progresses to other symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, and muscle aches as the virus keep replicating and invade the cells. After day six or seven, you start to feel better because by then the body’s immune response has been successful in beginning the elimination process of the virus by producing the right antibodies. On an average, after 7-8 days, the cold symptoms start to go away by themselves.

For a majority of people, the OTC (over the counter) medications for cold and cough 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 common cold, which you can try for quick relief.

Home Remedies For Common Cold

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. Epsom Salt Bath
  3. Essential Oils
  4. Garlic
  5. Ginger
  6. Green Tea
  7. Honey
  8. Best Juices
  9. Kombucha
  10. Kadha Recipe
  11. Onion
  12. Vitamins
  13. Yogurt
  14. Turmeric Milk
  15. Soup
  16. Elderberry
  17. Humidifier
  18. Baking Soda
  19. Black Pepper
  20. Cinnamon
  21. Grapefruit Seed Extract
  22. Olive Leaf Extract
  23. Fish Oil
  24. Gargling With Hot Water
  25. Chamomile
  26. Fenugreek

Natural Ways To Treat Cold

1. Apple Cider Vinegar For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • A glass of warm water

What You Have To Do

Add the vinegar to the warm water and drink it.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink 2-3 glasses of this in the day.

Why This Works

ACV re-balances the pH levels of the body and makes the environment unsuitable for the virus to survive (3).

Back To TOC

2. Epsom Salt Bath For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • A bathtub
  • Warm water

What You Have To Do

  1. Fill the bathtub with warm water. Keep the water as hot as you can bear.
  2. Add Epsom salt and mix it in the water.
  3. Soak in this for 20 minutes or so.

If you do not have a bathtub at home, soak your feet in a bucket of warm water with 1/4 cup of Epsom salt in it.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every alternate day until you get relief from the cold symptoms.

Why This Works

To decongest the nasal passage and get relief from body fatigue caused by cold, it is ideal to take a steam bath. By adding the Epsom salt, you will help your body to detox and also relax your aching muscles (4).

Back To TOC

3. Essential Oils For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

  • 4-5 drops oregano oil OR peppermint oil OR eucalyptus oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the two oils together and apply on the chest, neck, and forehead.
  2. Leave it for as long as possible.

Another way to use essential oils is to 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.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply the essential oil blend twice a day.

Why This Works

The essential oils are not only good for a relaxing body massage, but they also come in handy in offering relief from cold symptoms. While eucalyptus oil helps overcome nasal congestion, peppermint oil functions as a nice expectorant (5, 6). Oregano oils work by killing the virus with its antiviral activity (7). The aromas of these oils help soothe your nerves and provide a sense of relaxation.

Back To TOC

4. Garlic For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon honey

What You Have To Do

Crush the garlic and ingest it along with the honey.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this twice a day.

Why This Works

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. It has antimicrobial and antiviral compounds that can kill the cold-causing virus and alleviate the symptoms (8).

Back To TOC

5. Ginger For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

  • An inch-long ginger piece
  • A cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Crush the ginger piece and let it soak in hot water for a few minutes.
  2. Strain the water, add honey, and mix well.
  3. Drink this freshly prepared ginger tea.

Ginger paste or shredded ginger can also be mixed with hot soups and stews to enhance the flavor and boost its cold-fighting effect.

How Often You Should Do This

Have 2-3 cups of ginger tea in a day.

Why This Works

Ginger is another household cooking ingredient that can be used to bring quick relief from cold symptoms by providing relief from the chills and warming up the body (9). 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 (10).

Back To TOC

6. Green Tea For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 1 green tea bag
  • A cup of hot water
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice

What You Have To Do

  1. Brew some green tea by steeping the tea bag for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add honey and/or lemon juice for taste and sip on this healthy herbal tea.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink 2-3 cups in the day.

Why This Works

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 (11). Drinking green tea is advisable as it contains plenty of antioxidants that can speed up recovery (12).

Back To TOC

7. Honey For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

1 tablespoon raw honey

What You Have To Do

Simply ingest the honey. Honey can also be added to a glass of warm milk and had before going to bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Eat honey twice a day.

Why This Works

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 (13).You should take raw or organic honey to get the maximum benefits in this regard.

Back To TOC

8. Best Juices For Common Cold

Drinking cranberry juice and orange juice during infections such as cold and cough is often recommended by doctors. These juices supply essential nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants to the body. These nutrients strengthen the immune system and help the body to fight the viral infection better and faster (14, 15). Lemon juice can also be included in the daily diet as it can supply the body with vitamin C which is essential for an efficient immune response against the cold virus (16). Simple ways to include lemon juice would be adding it to salads and herbal teas.

Back To TOC

9. Kombucha For Common Cold

Image: iStock

This version of black tea contains a wide range of biologically active compounds and organic acids. It possesses antimicrobial and pH-balancing properties that can enhance immune health as well as cardiovascular health. This fermented tea is mostly available in organic stores and can be had on a daily basis. Its components can bring about the effective elimination of the cold virus from the body while detoxifying the body of the harmful substances that have accumulated due to the sickness (17).

Back To TOC

10. Kadha Recipe For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1.5 inch piece ginger
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 5-6 holy basil leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Crush the ginger, peppercorns, basil leaves, and cloves.
  2. Add water to this and boil the water until the volume reduces to half.
  3. Strain the decoction, add honey, and drink this.

The strained herbs and spices can be used to prepare ‘kadha’ for one more time.

How Often You Should Do This

Have a cup or two of this in the day.

Why This Works

A ‘kadha’ is basically a herbal tea prepared in most Indian homes to treat cold, cough, and similar respiratory system related issues. The spices in the decoction clear up the sinuses and exert antiviral effects on the cold virus (18, 19, 20).

Back To TOC

11. Onion For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

  • 1 red onion
  • Honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Peel the onion and cut slices.
  2. Pour enough honey to cover the slices.
  3. Leave this overnight in an air-tight container in a cool place.
  4. Eat 1-2 honey-soaked onion slices in the morning.

How Often You Should Do This

Have 1-2 slices twice a day. You can also consume the leftover honey once the slices get over.

Why This Works

Onions are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents, and also expectorants. This means that they loosen up the mucus that has accumulated in your nasal passages and chest so that it can be easily eliminated from the body. They also help to restore the respiratory passages to the original state by alleviating the swelling caused by the viral infection (21, 22).

Back To TOC

12. Vitamins For Common Cold

You Will Need

Vitamin C and vitamin D supplements

What You Have To Do

Take them as directed on the package for your age.

How Often You Should Do This

Have these supplements daily and also continue them after the cold is gone to aid in the full recovery of the body.

Why This Works

Both of these vitamins are essential for the immune system to perform to its best abilities. They promote immune response when they are present in the required amounts in the body (23, 24).

Back To TOC

13. Yogurt For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

Plain yogurt

What You Have To Do

Have a cup with meals or in between meals.

How Often You Should Do This

Eat 1-2 cups of yogurt in a day.

Why This Work

Yogurt is beneficial in every season of the year. When suffering from a cold, the probiotics present in yogurt can help to reduce the inflammation within the body and also reduce the cold symptoms (25).

Back To TOC

14. Turmeric Milk For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • A glass of hot milk

What You Have To Do

  1. Add the turmeric to the milk and mix well.
  2. Drink this before going to bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every night until the cold goes away.

Why This Works

Turmeric contains curcumin which has antibiotic and antioxidant properties. Drinking warm milk containing this beneficial herb can give relief from cold and cough (26).

[ Read: Benefits Of Turmeric For Health ]

Back To TOC

15. Soup

Image: iStock

Apart from tea, you can also have hot soup, broth, and stew to get rid of cold symptoms quickly. You may opt for homemade vegetable soup and chicken soups, for example. Chicken soup has long been used as a home remedy for cold. Remember how your mom 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 (27). 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.

Back To TOC

16. Elderberry For Common Cold

You Will Need

Elderberry syrup

What You Have To Do

Drink one to two teaspoons of this syrup.

How Often You Should Do This

Have this once every day.

Why This Works

Elderberry is a herb that has been used for a long time to treat cold and flu. It contains bioflavonoids that act as immunity boosters. Elderberry also has anti-inflammatory properties that help battle swelling in the sinuses (28, 29).

Caution

For safety reasons, pregnant women and children should not be given elderberry without medical advice.

Back To TOC

17. Humidifier

Image: iStock

A dry indoor environment can make you feel uncomfortable when you are suffering from a cold. You will find your nasal passage getting dry, and this can cause irritation. Also, dry nasal passages provide an 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 ]

Back To TOC

18. Baking Soda For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • A glass of cool water

What You Have To Do

Mix the baking soda in the water and drink it immediately.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this six times on day one at two-hour intervals. On day two, drink this four times throughout the day at equal intervals. On day three, take two doses one in the morning and one in the evening. From day four onwards, drink this baking soda water once every morning until the cold is gone.

Why This Works

Baking soda restores the pH balance of the body fluids making it an unsuitable environment for the virus to survive in (30).

Back To TOC

19. Black Pepper For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A glass of lukewarm water

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the pepper powder in the water. Stir well.
  2. Drink this concoction.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat it after a few hours if required.

Why This Works

Ingesting black pepper will stem the flow of mucus and also stop the sneezing. It will also give relief from the pain in your throat and the cough (31).

[ Read: Benefits Of Black Pepper Health ]

Back To TOC

20. Cinnamon For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon organic honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Add the cinnamon to the honey and mix them together.
  2. Eat this.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this twice a day.

Why This Works

Cinnamon has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that treat the infection and give relief from cold symptoms (32).

Back To TOC

21. Grapefruit Seed Extract For Common Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

  • 10-15 drops grapefruit seed extract
  • 5 oz. water

What You Have To Do

  1. Add the extract to the water and mix well.
  2. Drink this.

For children, add 3-5 drops of the extract in the same quantity of water.

How Often You Should Do This

You can drink this up to three times a day.

Why This Works

The antimicrobial properties of grapefruit seed extract can be helpful to get rid of the viral infection (33).

Back To TOC

22. Olive Leaf Extract For Common Cold

You Will Need

1 teaspoon olive leaf extract

What You Have To Do

Take the extract with food.

How Often You Should Do This

Ingest this three times a day, along with your meals.

Why This Works

Oleuropin, a key component found in the leaves of the olive tree, possesses many properties. It has been shown to exert antiviral effect against different respiratory viruses. It also reduces inflammation in the airways (34).

Back To TOC

23. Fish Oil For Common Cold

Image: iStock

Fish oil supplements are recommended by doctors for various inflammatory issues. This is because this oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which possess anti-inflammatory properties (35). When it comes to treatment of cold, this supplement is beneficial as it opens up the respiratory passages and reduces the swelling in the nasal linings. This improves the flow of air and eases various symptoms of viral respiratory infections such as cold.

Back To TOC

24. Gargling With Hot Water

You Will Need

  • A glass of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

What You Have To Do

Mix the salt with water and gargle with this.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this twice a day.

Why This Works

Gargling with hot water can help soothe a sore throat which is commonly accompanies cold. The water hydrates your throat, and the salt helps cope with the infection (36).

Back To TOC

25. Chamomile For Cold

Image: iStock

You Will Need

  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • A cup of boiling water

What You Have To Do

  1. Steep the tea bag in hot water for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bag and drink the tea.

You may also 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.

How Often You Should Do This

Have two cups of chamomile tea every day until the cold goes away.

Why This Works

Chamomile has ingredients that clear lungs and airways. The herb also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (37).

Back To TOC

26. Fenugreek For Common Cold

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • A glass of water
  • Honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Boil the fenugreek seeds in water for a few minutes.
  2. Let this cool down, add honey, and mix well.
  3. Drink this water while it is still warm.

How Often You Should Do This

This decoction can be had up to twe times in a day.

Why This Work

Fenugreek, a common kitchen ingredient, can be used to get relief from common cold. Like most ingredients in this article, it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (38).

Back To TOC

While using home based remedies and natural products to get relief from cold is useful, you need to keep certain things in mind before using them. 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 certain ingredients like the essential oils. Women who are lactating and pregnant need to be even more careful about these aspects.

Here are some frequently asked questions about cold answered for you.

Expert’s Answers For Readers Questions

Head Cold Vs Chest Cold?

While all colds are due to viral infections, what makes a head cold different from a chest cold are the symptoms observed. Head cold involves symptoms in the head such as a headache (or heaviness in the head), runny nose, and watery eyes. In a chest cold, the congestion in the lungs is most prominent along with a cough.

Why Antibiotics Can’t Help Treat Common Cold?

An antibiotic is meant to work against bacterial infections. Since cold is a viral infection, there is no point in taking an antibiotic for it as it will have no effect on the virus.

Is There A Vaccine Available For The Common Cold?

No, there is no vaccine for the common cold. Cold can be caused by more than 200 types of viruses and making a vaccine that works against all o

Why Do You Sneeze When You Have A Cold?

To counter the attack of the virus on the nasal cells, the body produces natural inflammatory mediators like histamine. These mediators cause the blood vessels to leak and the mucus glands to produce more mucus. This causes irritation in the nose and hence we sneeze.

Is A Cold A Viral Or Bacterial Infection?

Cold is caused by a virus, hence it is a viral infection.

Does A Common Cold Cause Fever?

Fever can or cannot accompany the other symptoms of a cold. If it does, it is usually a low-grade fever.

How Long Are You Contagious When You Have A Cold?

From a day before you experience the cold symptoms up to seven days, you can pass on the virus to another person. In kids, this period can extend up to two weeks.

How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Runny Nose?

Usually, it takes 5-7 days to get over a runny nose.

Now that you know how to get rid of a cold quickly, what are you waiting for? Do try these home remedies for common cold the next time you are down with one. Sometimes, you would have to use a combination of few remedies to get an even faster relief from the symptoms. While using the remedies, eat a healthy diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables. The nutrients from these will boost your immune system.

We hope this post has helped you. Do tell us by commenting in the box given below.

Recommended Articles

The following two tabs change content below.
Profile photo of Kushneet Kukreja

Kushneet Kukreja

Skip to toolbar