They say that there’s no cure for the common cold. But just because there’s no cure doesn’t mean you need to suffer.
I remember my mother used to rub Vicks Vaporub, a minty-smelling ointment, all over my chest when I was sick. Whenever I smell eucalyptus, it brings me back to the days when I was in bed with a nasty cold.
But there are many natural remedies that are just as effective as over-the-counter treatments and fewer side effects, too. In fact, you can find these ingredients right in your pantry. These remedies are safe, effective and inexpensive.
Although there are many, below are my seven top natural cough and cold remedies found in your kitchen.
1. Sea Salt Water Gargle
Salt is a preservative and healing agent and can offer relief to a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Dissolve one teaspoon of sea salt in about 8 ounces of warm water and gargle several times. Don’t swallow the water. Your throat and nasal passages will thank you.
Zinc is one of those remedies that is fast acting. It’s been shown to reduce the duration and severity of a cold. Just suck on a zinc lozenge one or two times a day (follow the packaging instructions). I find that if I take zinc without eating something along with it, it will cause an upset stomach. So be sure to eat something before you take it.
Honey is the first thing you should reach for when you have a cough or cold. Why? Honey has been used for thousands of years as an agent to fight infections. It is antifungal, antibacterial, and is a seriously potent humectant. The sticky nature of honey lends itself nicely to coating a scratchy and sore throat, and it will help knock a nasty cough off its track in no time. The best one to use is raw buckwheat honey.
This type of honey has been proven to work better than cough syrup (1) and is excellent for both adults and children (over one year of age) to control a cough. Just eat a teaspoonful right from the jar or add some to your favorite drink or food.
4. Chicken Soup and Bone Broth
This remedy dates back hundreds of years and is what our grandparents and great-grandparents relied upon to help with colds and coughs. It has been called “penicillin in a bowl.”
According to researchers, chicken soup is an effective natural remedy for the discomfort associated with colds and flu. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and encourages the movement of mucus through the nose, and this will relieve congestion. Be sure to add onions and garlic to your bowl to increase the effectiveness. Onions and garlic are chocked full of infection-fighting sulfur compounds.
Bone broth is a great immune booster and is good for gut health. It is easy to digest and tastes great – a real blessing for a soul weakened by sickness.
A nice cup of hot tea is not only delicious, but it will soothe your throat and nasal passages. It will also calm a sick tummy. Below is the recipe for my amazing spiced honey tea. It contains common spices that are powerful and medicinal. This tea will have you feeling better in no time.
Spiced Honey Therapeutic Tea
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients in an 8-ounce cup and then add warm water. Sip on this delicious drink as you experience renewed energy and relief for your throat. It is especially beneficial right before bedtime.
6. Make Your Own Garlic Lozenge
Garlic has been used throughout the centuries as a bacteria destroyer. The reason is that garlic contains a compound (allicin) that can kill bacteria and fight the germs that cause the discomforts of a cold and cough, such as pain and irritation.
Just take a clove of garlic and slice it in half. Place the garlic in your mouth and suck on it like a lozenge or breath mint (er…I guess you’ll need one after this remedy). Occasionally bite down on the clove of garlic to release the allicin. You don’t need to chew the garlic, just suck on it. If you chew it, it will probably burn a little.
Super stinky, but super effective.
7. Chest Salve
As I mentioned earlier, my mom would use the store brand of vapor rub, but let’s face it, most commercial brands contain harmful ingredients. The brand my mom used contained camphor, which is toxic if swallowed or absorbed into the body (2). Yikes! Instead, here’s a super easy recipe for making your own rub.
Melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil and then pour this oil in a heat safe container with an airtight lid. Add about ten drops of peppermint essential oil and ten drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Stir and then once it’s cool, rub a small amount under your nose or on your chest.
This stuff will keep for about two years. And be sure to make a batch before you become ill. No one wants to be in the kitchen when you’re feeling crummy. If you don’t have the time to make your own chest rub, there are a few excellent brands you can purchase online. Here is a natural and inexpensive brand that you will love.
Many essential oils are not safe for babies or small children. If you are making this rub for your little ones, make sure to dilute it and use as little as is needed, and do not put it around the nasal area. Always check with a doctor about using herbs or essential oils on young children.
There are many effective natural remedies for a cold and flu that you can use to get immediate results. Many of these items are found in your kitchen.
My top seven remedies are salt water, zinc lozenges, honey, chicken soup and bone broth, tea, garlic, and chest salve. Whenever you catch a cold, give one or several of these natural remedies a try. I’m sure you will be impressed with the results.
How many of you have tried any of the above remedies? Do you have a natural cough or cold remedy that’s been past down in your family that you can share?
For an easy guide to starting a more natural lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed and losing yourself in the process, check out these super easy tips.