Cold is a common ailment which is caused by viruses and an average adult can get cold about two times a year. Though cold is not dangerous, it can leave the affected person in discomfort and irritated. The feeling of cold is an awful one.
An antibiotic, certainly cannot cure a cold. It is a fact that there is no cure for the common cold.
However, there are several remedies that help you reduce the symptoms of cold-like nasal congestion, sore throat, body aches, and coughing.
Luckily, these home remedies do not have any side effects. They provide relief from the discomfort caused by cold.
Did you know?
The virus that causes cold is found in all corners of the world. The microbes that cause colds can survive outside the body for 2 days. Weather plays a major role in the spread of colds. It is just a misconception that eating foods rich in Vitamin C would help to fight colds
CURE 1: Home Remedies for Cold
Many people trust a variety of home remedies to treat common cold(1). In addition to being very effective, these remedies do not have any side effects. Below are some of the most effective home remedies for treating cold.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar for Cold
This is a very popular and age-old remedy for treating cold at home. It is a mixture of Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar.
How to Use (Procedure – 1)
- Mix 1 cup apple cider vinegar to 5 cups warm water
- Add 2 tablespoons of raw honey
- Sip on to small quantities of this solution throughout the day.
How to Use (Procedure – 2)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- Mix well
Use this mixture as a gargle. Gargle your throat with this mixture for about 2 minutes and spit it out. Do this till the symptoms of cold subside. Don’t forget to brush your teeth after this.
Using apple cider vinegar thins the mucus of the throat, guiding it out of the respiratory tract more easily. Apple cider vinegar kills the pathogens that make you sick.
[Also Read: Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar]
2. Turmeric for Cold
Turmeric is another home remedy which has been used to treat cold from ages. Turmeric has an active compound called curcumin which treats many respiratory tract issues including cold. Turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which ease you from symptoms of cold and provide relief.
How to Use
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch of clove
- 1 pinch powdered black pepper
- Raw honey to sweeten
- 2 cups of water
- ¼ liter milk
- Turmeric, the more, the better!
- Boil water in a kettle on a low flame.
- When the water begins to boil, add all the herbs to it.
- Let it boil for another 5 minutes.
- Let it cool
- Strain the solution to remove the solid ingredients
- To this solution add milk and honey
- Stir well
- Now add Turmeric and mix well.
- Drink this tea 2 to 3 times a day to get relief from cold
Turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which ease you from symptoms of cold and provide relief.
Note: The more tea you the quicker would be the relieving process.
3. Garlic for cold
Garlic is considered to be a natural medicine for treating varied ailments, right at home because of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Nasal congestion is one of the major symptoms of a common cold that the affected person wants to get rid of, as fast as possible Garlic can help you treat this symptom very effectively and the process is easy too.
How to Use
- A pot of distilled water
- 5 garlic cloves
- A bath towel
- Boil the water in the pot.
- Crush the garlic cloves and discard the peels.
- Add the crushed garlic to the boiling water.
- Turn off the heat.
- Drape a towel over your head and the mouth of the pot.
- Do not allow the steam to escape.
- Inhale and exhale the steam for 10 to 12 minutes.
How many times:
You can repeat this procedure 2 times a day.
When crushed, garlic releases curative component allicin that helps in thinning of the mucus and thus helps to clear the nasal passages. It also reduces inflammation and provides relief very effectively.
CURE 2: Alternative Treatments for Cold
Yoga for Cold
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana otherwise called ‘downward dog stretch’ is a position where the head is placed below the heart. This asana promotes proper circulation of blood and lymph. The position allows an optimum flow of white blood cells all through the body and relieves you from cold and sinus.
Uttanasana is a standing and forward bend pose that enhances blood circulation. Newly formed blood in the body is sent to the head which clears blockages and also treats sinus. It relieves stress and tension by invigorating the nervous system.
CURE 3: Herbs for Cold
1. Ginger Tea for Cold
Ginger serves as a preventative measure to strengthen defenses against common cold symptoms. It also contributes to strengthening the immune system,
How to Use
- 1-inch fresh ginger root
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- Grate ginger and put it in the teapot.
- Add one cup of boiling water to this.
- Let it steep for about 3 minutes.
- Take honey and lemon juice in a separate mug
- Mix well.
- Strain the ginger tea into the mug.
- Stir well and sip.
How much to use:
You can have this tea 3 to 4 times a day to ease yourself from the symptoms of a cold.
The ginger provides heat, and honey and lemon soothe the inflammatory and throat irritations.
2. Echinacea for Cold
Echinacea is a wonderful perennial herb that can be dried and stored for many years. It treats symptoms of cold and infections very effectively and quickly(2). It is also readily available in the market. All the parts of this plant have beneficial properties.
How to Use
- Half liter distilled water
- 2 tablespoons dry Echinacea powder
- 2 tablespoons honey
- A mug
- Boil half a liter of distilled water in a bowl on a slow flame.
- Add two tablespoons of dry echinacea powder to it.
- Let it boil for another 2 minutes.
- Strain the tea into a clean mug.
- Add 2 tablespoons of honey and stir well.
- Sipping this will provide instant relief.
How much to take:
You can have this tea 3 times a day to get relief from sore throat and runny nose.
Echinacea boosts the immune system and reduces symptoms of cold, infections and flu conditions. It increases the number of white blood cells which in turn fights against bacteria and virus.
[ Read: 8 Effective Herbs That Fight Cold ]
3. Elderberry for Cold
Elderberry is used to prepare syrups and teas which help to treat upper respiratory boost body immunity. The berries are packed with antioxidants which makes it one of the best remedies for colds.
How to Use
- 1 cup Elderberries
- 1 liter of distilled water
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- A bowl to boil
- Remove the stalks of the berries.
- Add them to 1-liter water.
- Add 4 tablespoons of sugar.
- Boil till you get syrup consistency is like a syrup.
- Bring it to a cool.
Add one tablespoon of the syrup to a cup of warm water and stir well. Sip this twice to fight cold.
CURE 4: Essentials Oils For Cold
Essential Oils are concentrated sources of natural nutrients. They have been used for centuries now to treat common ailments like cold, fatigue, headache and cough. They are herbal and natural alternatives to over-the-counter medications.
1. Oregano oil for cold
Oregano Essential oil has antioxidant properties that treat respiratory illnesses and helps in clearing the pathway that infect the airways by protecting against pathogens like P. aeruginosa.
How to use
- Add a few drops to a bowl of hot water or a steam diffuser and inhale the aroma.
- Apply it on the skin by adding it to a carrier oil like coconut oil
- Oregano oil tincture can be taken orally by following the dosage instructions on the product.
- You can even have Oregano essential oil capsule based on the recommended dosage.
If you are allergic to basil, mint, lavender or sage, there is a high probability that you will be allergic to oregano too. So, it is good that you don’t use it.
- Breastfeeding and pregnant mothers should not be using Oregano essential oil.
- Before using it on children do not forget to consult a doctor.
- People with bleeding disorders should not be using Oregano oil as there is a chance that it may alter blood clotting.
[Also Read: Essential Oils for Common Cold]
2. Eucalyptus oil for Cold
Eucalyptus Oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It is the main component of cough drops and vaporubs(3). It is also a great remedy for sinus infections. It is used from nearly 2 centuries for treating cold, nasal congestion, bronchitis, congestion of the upper respiratory tract and promotes better sleep.
How to use
- 4 ounces of distilled water
- A bowl to boil the water
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- A clean cloth
- Boil the water till there is enough steam coming off it
- Add 3 to 4 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water
- Inhale the steam with a cloth over your head with the bowl inside the cloth
- Inhale the steam with your nose for about 5 to 8 minutes
How many times:
You can do this twice a day, though doing this just before going to bed promotes better sleep.
Eucalyptus oil combats inflammation of the lungs and stimulates the immune system. It acts against the virus causing cold and provides relief.
3. Lavender Oil for cold
Using Lavender essential oil is another way of treating a common cold naturally and effectively. It has antifungal, antiviral and antiseptic properties which treat the symptoms of cold and boost your immune system too.
How to Use
- Lukewarm water in your bathtub
- Lavender essential oil
- Epsom salt
- Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water
- Add 8 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil to it.
- Also, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of Epsom salt
- Soak yourself in the bath for about 20 minutes
- While bathing, breathe-in the aroma
How many times:
Follow the above procedure every alternate day to relieve from the symptoms of a common cold.
Lavender essential oil acts as a decongestant and helps in clearing the nasal passages and providing you relief from the symptoms of the common cold. Moreover, its antimicrobial and analgesic properties act very strongly and break down mucus buildup, thus providing you better sleep.
4. Black Seed Oil For Cold
Another name for black seed oil is black cumin seed oil. It is incredibly beneficial to treat common bacterial or viral infections.
How to use
- 6 to 8 drops of Black Seed oil
- ½ liter distilled water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- A bowl to boil the water
- Add ½ distilled water to a bowl
- Heat the water till it is just about to boil
- Turn off the heat
- Add 6 to 8 drops of black seed oil to it
- Add 1 tablespoon of honey to this
- Stir well till the honey dissolves completely
How many times:
Drink this solution 3 to 4 times every day.
The primary reason for using black seed or black cumin seed oil is their ability to boost the body’s natural killer cells (white blood cells) which helps to fight even cancer. Hence, this oil increases the strength and number of white blood cells and helps you to combat common bacterial or viral infections effectively.
[Also Read: Health Benefits of Black Seed Oil]
CURE 5: Drinks for Cold
Warm drinks are often consumed when you have a cold, as they provide a soothing effect on the throat. Adding ingredients that provide warmth and fight infections to these drinks or soups would speed up the recovery process.
1. Chicken Soup for Cold
Chicken soup is one of the best soups for a cold. It is a home remedy which is preferred by people having a cold or flu. It can be easily prepared at home and apart from tasting good, it provides relief to an irritated throat.
How to Use
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 tsp ginger (grated)
- ⅓ c green onion (finely chopped)
- 1-2 carrots, peeled and shredded (1 cup)
- 2 mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cups of chicken bone broth
- ½ cup of coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken pieces
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 cups zucchini noodles
- Heat oil in a large pot.
- Set the heat to medium.
- Sauté green onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and shredded carrot.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, fish sauce, and broth
- Boil for 2 minutes.
- Slow down the flame.
- Add chicken cook for 7-10 minutes.
- Add cilantro and lime juice.
- Pour it on the zucchini noodles and serve hot.
Having a bowl of chicken soup clears nasal congestion and eases the symptoms of cold. If you add vegetables to it, the nutritional values increases and also helps the immune system.
Dont’s when you have a cold
- Avoid dairy products as they thicken the mucus.
- Avoid processed foods as they aggravate the irritation in the throat.
- Avoid alcohol as it slows down your body, even the recovery process.
- Avoid sugary foods as they increase inflammation.
- Avoid eating big meals as it further weakens the immune system.
- Avoid smoking as it increases the symptoms of a cold and thickens the mucus.
How to Protect Yourself
Air and close physical contact is a medium through which cold spreads from one person to another. Respiratory secretions or stools are also sources of spreading a cold.
Follow certain precautions to save yourself from falling prey to cold.
- Frequently wash your hands with soap or effective hand washes.
- Encourage children to do the same.
- You can also use hand sanitizers.
- Don’t touch your nose, eyes, and mouth without washing your hands
- As far as possible, stay away from sick/infected people.
How to Protect Others
If you are already suffering from cold, follow the below-mentioned precautions
- Stay back home when you are sick
- Keep children indoors if they have a cold
- If you are sneezing and coughing, avoid contact with people around you.
- Avoid kissing, shaking hands and hugging as far as possible.
- Use a tissue while coughing and sneezing and dispose of the tissue after use.
- After sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose, wash your hands thoroughly.
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 below 1 year of age for treating a cold is not recommended. Similarly, some people may be allergic to certain ingredients like essential oils. Women who are lactating and pregnant need to be even more careful about these aspects.
When using home remedies or natural products for treating cold, there are certain things to be kept in mind. Some foods, herbs and essential oils might not suit everyone as they might be allergic to it. Honey should not be used for children who are below 1 year of age. Breastfeeding mothers and women in their pregnancy should be extra cautious when using essential oils.
Have adequate sleep, eat healthy, exercise a little and keep the air around you moist to ease the symptoms of common cold.
How long does a cold last?
After 2 to 3 days of getting exposed to cold, its symptoms are seen in the affected person. Cold is highly contagious during the first 3 days of being affected. A common cold lasts for a week.
Is there a vaccine for cold?
250 viruses cause cold. As it is too difficult for scientists to protect you from all of them at a time, there is no vaccine for cold yet.