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These home remedies for colds are all natural and ideal for beating that winter bug. From eucalyptus oil to eating raw onions, we've got lots of home remedies for you to try
Blocked up nose making you miserable? Instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet to find the best cure for the common cold, try our selection of natural home remedies to treat your flu and cold instead.
Whether it’s that time of year when temperatures are decreasing and colds are on the rise, or you’ve been unlucky enough to catch a summer cold, you’ll be wondering what the best cure for cold and flu is so you can get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
We all know that the best remedy for a cold is just a couple of days bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids, but sometimes, having a day off just isn’t an option when you have a busy schedule and children to look after.
Especially when you’re only feeling a little under the weather and don’t want to resort to medication or a trip to the doctors just to cure a cold. Instead of drugs, natural home remedies for colds are a great defence against germs going around in the office, on public transport or in the playground and to keep you protected through the winter months. And of course, many can help to just make you feel that little bit better, until your cold virus has worked its way out of your system.
Home remedies for colds
Try home-made cough syrups, home-brewed teas, plant-based remedies such as eucalyptus, spices and Echinacea root, all of which help protect you against the elements and strengthen your immune system, without relying on the pharmacy.
One of our favourite tips is to try a steam bath to clear your throat and nasal passages – like a spa treatment to get rid of our colds, which sounds like the best remedy to us!
So if you’re keen to try a natural alternative to get rid of a cold, before knocking back cold tablets or cough syrup, then there are a whole host of home remedies for colds that you can try out…
Honey contains anti-microbial properties, which kill or stop microorganism (which includes bacteria) growth.
Draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) in 2018 revealed that honey and over-the-counter remedies should be the first port of call for treating coughs over antibiotics.
They revealed that: 'Honey and cough medicines containing pelargonium, guaifenesin or dextromethorphan have some evidence of benefit for the relief of cough symptoms.'
Ginger is one traditional home remedy you could use - but don't worry, you don't have to eat it raw! Either pop it in to your favourite (savoury) recipe, or drink a cup of ginger tea, to feel the benefits. The anti-inflammatory's in ginger can help to relieve a sore throat, and can help kill the viruses that start colds in the first place. It's a win-win!
Most home remedies for colds focus on products derived from plants - such as eucalyptus oil.
Eucalyptus oil is a pure essential oil extract from the dried leaf of the eucalyptus tree and is perfect for relieving a blocked nose or sinus pains.
Getting blocked up can be such a pain, especially when it comes to bedtime but eucalyptus oil makes a great natural home remedy because the smell is strong, so a few drops on a tissue or handkerchief will work to treat your cold.
Some versions of eucalyptus oil come mixed with menthol, another plant-based-product, which makes a great treatment if you're looking to avoid non-natural products.
Raw onions may be a 'natural' remedy but they certainly don't spring to mind when you're thinking of home remedies to clear your cold.
Indeed eating raw onions may not be particularly sociable, but raw onions are effective in opening up your nasal passages and helping to shift that groggy feeling. Plus you always have onions lying around in the kitchen, so they're a perfect home-made remedy for colds that means you don't have to visit the pharmacy.
Salt water rinse is another natural remedy that is easily achieved at home, with a glass of boiled water, half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of baking powder mixed together.
Using a syringe pour this salt water rinse into your nose to clear your airways when a cold is restricting them. Although it doesn't sound particularly appealing, salt water rinse is effective and a cheap alternative to shop-bought-solutions.
Use this natural cold remedy a couple of times a day or until you feel the blockage is easing. If you have a sore throat you can also use this (with a squeeze of honey to improve the taste) to gargle and calm your throat.
We know that having a bowl of chicken soup when you're feeling under the weather is an old wives' tale and something we spent our childhood hearing, but chicken soup recipes really are a great home remedy for clearing that cold!
As well as being comforting, chicken soup thins the mucus build-up in your throat and airways to increase your breathing whilst the ingredients work to stops white blood cells from causing inflammation all over your body.
Not to mention that the vegetables are good for increasing your vitamin intake, which helps your body fight colds all year long.
Home remedies aren't usually glamorous but when you're feeling bunged up you can treat yourself to a spa treatment at home on the sofa!
The symptoms of a cold are relieved by inhaling steam - try inhaling for 5 minutes. This will help to kill off some bugs and clear your passages by liquefying the thick mucus.
Not only will this home remedy help you shift some of your cold symptoms, but it will also do a great job to clear your facial pores and give you a much needed glow - even if you're not feeling 100% you can still look good.
Home remedies for a cold don't always have to be complicated, it is worth pointing out that one of the main ways to fight a cold is simply keeping hydrated.
Hydration allows your body to function better in every way, not least your internal organs, and because water makes up 60% of the human body if you're not keeping it topped up you don't have any chance of beating a cold quickly.
You don't even need to drink energy drinks or those with high electrolytes to battle a cold, just normal tap water is essential to getting back on your feet again. You should be drinking approximately two litres of water a day or eight small glasses (this is not including caffeinated drinks).
Echinacea tablets are a natural remedy - as a herbaceous flowering plant in the daisy family - made into tablet format and when taken regularly are supposed to help to cure the common cold.
Having a good quality Echinacea product to hand will help to strengthen the immune system to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms so it is worth stocking up on some Echinacea tablets to have them in the house when cold or flu strikes and you need a natural remedy to pick you up.
Cranberry juice is another item, like Echinacea tablets, which is always worth having stocked up at home as cranberry juice is used as a home remedy for a number of common ailments, including cystitis and the common cold.
Brands such as Ocean Spray have the concentration required (minimum 25%) to be an effective natural remedy and if you drink 250ml of this twice a day then it should have the required effect.
Cranberry juice can help to prevent certain harmful bacteria from sticking in the body and the vitamin C in it helps support a strong immune system to ward off winter bugs.
Spicy foods are another home remedy which work to fight the common cold, especially the common symptoms such as a stuffy nose and head because they are a natural decongestant.
If you're not sure about diving into the chillies straight away, start with some other spicy foods that are still derived from natural ingredients, such as chilli, wasabi or horseradish. All of which can easily be integrated into meals to combat congestion without reaching for the medicine cabinet.