Top 15 Proven Home Remedies For Cold

Common Cold is one of the common upper respiratory tract diseases. Though it affects billions of people on a global scale, it is scarcely life threatening. Cold lasts for a span of 10 to 15 days and recedes on its own. It affects two groups of people the most:

  • Young children because their immune system is still in the developmental stage.
  • Seniors because their immunity decreases with old age.

An average adult will experience 2-3 episodes of cold annually while children experience up to 5-10 sessions of cold. If cold is left untreated in its early stage, it could lead to some secondary infections like:

  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infections and
  • Pharyngitis

Surprisingly, there is no cure for cold. It is treated symptomatically. Many people believe that if a patient receives some antibiotics, it will help treat the disease. But, it is not true. Being aware of this misconception, doctors continue to pacify with placebos. Such needless administering and side effects of antibiotics can do more harm than good. However, there are certain home remedies for cold that can help you have instant relief from the discomfort.

Types of Cold Virus

Cold is a composition of more than 200 different types of viruses while each virus projects unique symptoms. However, the commonest types of virus are as follows:

  • Rhinovirus, which is the culprit in most cases (30-80% to be precise)
  • Human coronavirus (15% approximately)
  • Influenza virus
  • Adenovirus
  • Human respiratory syncytial virus, and
  • Enterovirus

Causes of Common Cold

  • Cold is highly contagious and is brutally viral. It successfully adapts to almost all living conditions. Especially, in the low humidity zones where the virus is in its apex form. It propagates via airborne droplets when the infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • It can also spread when a person encounters contaminated objects. However, body contact is the eminent method for a virus to spread easily.
  • It affects the children who partake in social activities at school where they mingle with others who are infected. When the host brings these viruses home, they quickly spread to other members of the family.
  • The infectious ability of the Rhinovirus is dominant for the initial three days since the acquisition of the virus. After that its potential ebbs away allowing an opportunity for healing. Although it is a popular belief that cold weather is the contributing factor for cold, however, this fact needs a citation, as only certain viruses causing cold is held accountable for cooler air in the respiratory area.

Symptoms Of Cold

Patients experience the following symptoms initially:

One may also experience secondary symptoms like:

  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Fatigue and
  • Loss of appetite

Cold accompanied by fever is not common among adults, but it is prominent among children and infants. The color of your nasal secretion will vary from opaque to dark yellow-green hues.

In the initial stages of cold, you will experience chillness, fatigue supplemented by sneezing and headache. These symptoms will progress within 16 hours of virus attack, and will last up to 3 weeks. In most cases, it is normal for a post-viral cough to persist among patients (especially children).

15 Best Home Remedies For Cold

We are listing the cold remedies in reverse chronological order.

15. Betel Leaves

natural remedies for cold

Only a few people are aware that natural betel leaves can cure cold (or the symptoms and discomfort that comes with cold). According to Ayurveda, this 7-vein leaf has immense medicinal values. The leaves are heart-shaped and are widely grown in Southeast Asia. The active compounds in betel leaves are responsible for its chemopreventive and antioxidant activities. Certain pharmacological effects of chewing betel leaves include a good saliva flow, better muscular stimulation, and improved mental efficiency. To treat your cold using this herb, follow the recipe written below:

  • Step 1: Take a fresh betel leaf and tear them into small pieces.
  • Step 2: Add these torn leaves into a small pot containing water.
  • Step 3: Boil them for a while.
  • Step 4: Add a pinch of pepper powder and a few pieces of freshly cut ginger into it.
  • Step 5: Strain it. Drink a cup of it every day until your cold heals.

How Does This Work?

When fresh betel leaves are crushed, it releases a natural phenol called chavicol, which is admired for its antibacterial or antiseptic properties. When consumed, it can heal discomfort that comes with cold. To read the complete information, check this research paper.

Betel Leaves Are Not Good, If:

  • You have oral cancer.
  • You have stomach ulcers and acid reflux.
  • You suffer from tuberculosis, migraines, urticaria and epilepsy.

14. Basil Leaves And Pepper

best remedies for cold

These leaves have immunomodulatory properties. If you are suffering from any infection, you can have basil (or tulsi) leaves. Your garden will come to your rescue. It is the best bacteria-combating herb to heal clogged ears, a discomfort that comes with cold. Follow the steps given below to try a remedy using basil leaves and pepper.

  • Step 1: Take two teaspoons of basil leaves and half a teaspoon of pepper.
  • Step 2: Join both of them and put them in a blender.
  • Step 3: Boil the mixture for ten minutes and steep the mixture.
  • Step 4: Let the mixture become warm and drink the mixture for four times a day.

How Does This Work?

Basil leaves contain a rich amount of polyphenolic flavonoids (orientin & vicenin). The main health beneficial oils in this herb are eugenol, linalool, terpineol, limonene and citral (all these compounds are well-known for their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties). Basil leaves reduce the inflammation by killing the bacteria & viruses.

Black pepper, on the other hand, can induce sweating to bring down the temperature. It contains a compound called capsaicin, which can flush out the toxins and other infection-causing agents from the body.

This Remedy Is Not Good, If:

  • You are pregnant.
  • You are breastfeeding
  • You had surgery, or
  • You are going to have surgery (stop it two weeks before the schedule).

13. Ginseng

best cold remedies

This root herb is mainly taken to enhance stamina, energy and health, but it is also effectively used for simple ailments such as cold. A study conducted by Canadian researchers in 2005 claimed that taking ginseng every day could potentially reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms. It also prevents the recurrence of this simple ailment. Here is what you need to do:

  • Step 1: Wash the root thoroughly and cut it into small pieces.
  • Step 2: Crush the pieces, and add to a bowl of water.
  • Step 3: Boil the mixture for 15 minutes.
  • Step 4: Strain the mixture and drink as many times a day.

How Does This Work?

Ginseng helps in boosting the immune system. The main medicinal property in American and Asian Ginseng is ginsenoside whereas Siberian ginseng contains eletheroside. It is best known as an adaptogen.

Ginseng Is Not Good, If:

  • You are breastfeeding or pregnant.
  • You are taking medication for diabetes, warfarin (blood thinning), depression (antidepressants) and morphine.

12. Garlic

top remedies for cold

Garlic is one of the best cold deterrents used since ancient times. Its robust composition reinforces your immune system to respond proactively to the virus that causes cold. To try a remedy using garlic, follow the steps given below:

  • Step 1: Take a garlic clove and crush it to make a paste.
  • Step 2: Add two teaspoons of lemon juice, one teaspoon honey and half teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Step 3: Drink the concoction once a day, until you feel relieved from cold.

How Does This Work?

When you crush garlic, it releases the enzyme called alliinase, which converts alliin to allicin. Now, this ingredient is known to have antiviral properties to fight against the germ build-up and flushes the toxins from the body.

Garlic Is Not Good If:

  • You are having hemophilia (Clotting of blood).
  • You are planning to undergo surgery.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You are suffering from stomach ulcers. The situation might get worse.

11. Lemon Juice

get rid of cold

Lemon juice is one of the best gifts from Mother Nature. It prevents us from many fatal diseases. They also add flavor to multiple dishes and have numerous health benefits. To treat your cold with lemon juice here is what you need to do:

  • Step 1: Take two teaspoons of honey and a half teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix them well.
  • Step 2: Consume the mixture once in every two hours to notice an instant improvement.

How Does This Work?

Lemons have a type of antioxidant called bioflavonoids. Medical research has confirmed these constituents are responsible for the health and immune boosting properties of lemon juice.

Lemon Is Not Good, If:

  • You are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disorder. The symptoms will be nausea, heartburn, and vomiting.
  • You are suffering from ulcer because the lemon’s acidic content may damage the lining of the stomach, and the situation can get worse.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding a baby. It is safe if you use as part of the regular diet. However, doctors advise against the use of lemon juice or supplements in large amounts.
  • You have a bleeding disorder. Dosing amounts have to be prescribed by the physician in case of honey.

Note: Honey is not prescribed to a child under 12 years of age and who is suffering from cold.

10. Ginger

how to get rid of cold

Ginger is an ancient Ayurvedic medicine, which is used to treat many tropical diseases. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Ginger treats cold, cough and even certain stomach ailments. Here is the Ginger remedy to treat your cold:

  • Step 1: Take a half tablespoon of ginger and cut it into small pieces.
  • Step 2: Boil these pieces in a bowl until they reach the boiling point.
  • Step 3: You can strain the pieces to get medicinal properties of ginger juice.
  • Step 4: Drink the mixture twice a day to get relief from cold symptoms.

How Does This Work?

Ginger contains a chemical known as sesquiterpenes. These chemicals are specialized in the elimination of rhinoviruses (common cold virus) from the body. The other two medical components are gingerol and shogaol.

Ginger Is Not Good, If:

  • You are allergic to ginger, as it increases the risk of bleeding in some patients.
  • You are pregnant. There are some contradictions regarding the use of ginger during pregnancy. It is known to harm the sex hormone of the fetus. There is also a possible risk of low birth weight or early labor.
  • You have a heart condition. A Large dose of ginger can put heart patients at risk.

9. Cinnamon and Cloves

how to treat cold

The antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon fight cold, and reduce the pain of a sore or dry throat. It boosts your immune system, reduces the discomfort from cold and prevents the virus from occurring again.

Cloves, on the other hand, are highly beneficial for health. Apart from flavoring your dish, clove has a lot of medicinal properties. Since ancient times, they have been used for treating common cold, cough and toothache. Hence, a combo for these two herbal can do a great wonder to your ailment. To try this remedy, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Step 1: Take a tablespoon of cinnamon powder and 2-3 cloves.
  • Step 2: Add them to a small pot containing water.
  • Step 3: Boil the mixture for fifteen to twenty minutes.
  • Step 4: Strain the mixture and drink a glass of it when warm.

Note: For better results, you can add honey. You can consume the mixture three times a day for maximum benefits.

How Does This Work?

One of the main constituents of cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde. The chemical components with medicinal properties such as eugenol, methyl chavicol, and cinnamaldehyde eliminate the harmful pathogens causing cold and reduce inflammation.

Cinnamon & Cloves Remedy Is Not Good, If:

  • You are a diabetic. Blood sugar levels can become low, and it has to be monitored.
  • You have liver disease. Ensure that you take the relevant dose.
  • You are using NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).
  • For other interactions & warnings, check this link.

8. Red Onions

remedy for cold

Using onions to help the body from cold is not a placebo effect. It cures the body and eliminates the virus causing the cold. Onions contain abundant sources of sulfur (the powerful detoxifying element that assists the body in eliminating toxins and metals such as arsenic, lead, and cadmium). The major medicinal compound is quercitin while the powerful antioxidant is flavonoid, which prevents blood clots, lower cholesterol, and fights against infections like common cold.

Note: Once you slice the onions, do not store the other half for later consumption. Remember, if you slice an onion, it absorbs the bacteria and is unhealthy to eat.

  • Step 1: Slice an onion horizontally.
  • Step 2: Add some raw honey in-between the sliced onion pieces.
  • Step 3: Cover it with a lid and leave it overnight.
  • Step 4: When you open the lid in the morning, you will see a thick liquid.
  • Step 5: Have a spoon of this syrup many times in a day to get rid of cold.  

How Does This Work?

It is an excellent cleansing agent. The organosulfur compounds (thiosulfates, sulfoxides, cysteine sulfoxides) in the onion leave you teary-eyed. It is strong enough to burn the airborne virus and stray odors.

Red Onions Are Not Good, If:

  • You are a diabetic. Check your blood sugar levels and discuss with your doctor before trying.
  • You are undergoing surgery. It is safe to avoid onions or vapors of onion, as it can increase the risk of bleeding.
  • You are pregnant. You can experience symptoms of heartburn. Follow the instructions given by your physician before you use onion in the diet.

7. Spice Tea

top cold remedies

The combination of spices can effectively give relief from common cold. The mixture has a high mucilage content. To prepare this tea, follow the recipe given below:

  • Step 1: You can make a mixture of by using few coriander seeds, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon ginger, and some fenugreek seeds. You can also add few pieces of ginger if you want.
  • Step 2: Boil a cup of water.
  • Step 3: Add the mixture to the boiling water. Let it simmer for ten minutes.
  • Step 4: You can add milk if needed. Strain the mixture and sip the hot fluid slowly.
  • Step 5: You can drink this mixture every day until the signs of cold subside.

How Does This Work?

Coriander is known for its cooling nature, but when mixed with ginger, it gives heat. Ginger has a medicinal component called gingerol while the medicinal compounds in coriander are linalool and borneol. All these compounds assist in digestion, liver function and reduce symptoms of diarrhea. The other components in coriander known for their fungal and microbial actions are cineole, limonene, beta-phellandrene, and alpha-pinene. But the one to take the cake is the most powerful antibiotic named dodecenal.

Spice Tea Is Not Good, If:

  1. You are suffering from diabetes. The fenugreek seeds can lower blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if you have a similar condition.
  2. You are allergic to aniseed, fennel, caraway, mugwort. You can suffer from allergic reactions (coriander).

6. Gargle With Salt Water

cold treatments at home

Undeniably, common cold comes with few other symptoms like sore throat and cough. You can gargle with salt water to eliminate the discomfort. A sore throat leaves the tissues (of a specific area) inflamed or swollen. It happens due to the accumulation of fluids, a condition known as edema. However, salt water can pull the fluids away from inflamed tissues. If more salt accumulates, the water from the tissues is pulled to balance the concentration.

5. Milk, Ginger, and Turmeric

natural treatment for cold

Every natural remedy book tells you about the ‘magic’ portion of mixing milk with ginger and turmeric for cold. Apart from treating cold, this mixture also heals other ailments like headache and body pain. However, there is no truth in the age old myth that milk will contribute to the production of mucus.

  • Step 1: Take a glass of milk and mix one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder and ginger powder.
  • Step 2: Boil the mixture until it simmers. Then allow it to cool down.
  • Step 3: Drink the mixture thrice a day. Remember to drink the mixture before hitting the bed.

How Does This Work?

Ginger contains a chemical known as sesquiterpenes. These chemicals are specialized in the elimination of rhinoviruses from the body (common cold virus). The other two medical components are gingerol and shogaol.

Modern research shows that turmeric has a special compound called ‘Curcumin.’ It’s an active ingredient, which acts as an anti-inflammatory.

The Remedy Is Not Good, If:

  • You are allergic to ginger, as it increases the peril of bleeding in few patients.
  • You are pregnant. There are some contradictions regarding the use of ginger during pregnancy. It is known to harm the sex hormones of the fetus. There is also a possible risk of low birth weight or early labor.
  • Do not consume turmeric if you are taking medications for conditions like diabetes,    Inflammation,    Cholesterol, and blood thinners.

4. Black Pepper

at home cold remedies

Pepper is one of the best home remedies for common cold. Scientifically known as Piper nigrum, Black Pepper is a pungent, hot spice with multiple medicinal uses. In fact, it is extensively used in Ayurveda. Its antimicrobial properties help loosen the phlegm. Here is what you need to do:

  • Step 1: You can either mix black pepper with milk to get relief from cold.
  • Step 2: Or, You can mix black pepper with honey for relief.
  • Step 3: Having a runny nose? Include pepper or pepper powder in the diet.

How Does This Work?

The medicinal component is capsaicin, which assists in thinning the mucus. Also, it provides relief from chest congestion.

Black Pepper Is Not Good, If:

  • You have high blood pressure. Reduce the amount of salt or spices such as pepper.
  • You have a stomach ulcer.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

3. Echinacea

natural remedy for cold

The Echinacea herb has been used for various ailments like mumps, sore throat, wounds, measles and infections by Native American tribes. It contains flavonoids, iron, volatile oils, vitamins A, C, E that boost the immunity of an individual to ward off the virus. The herb also enhances the number of white blood cells in the body. For consumption of this herb, you can use its leaves, petals, roots or all of the combination. In the case of root fragments, you should not expose them to sunlight, but they should be kept in an area that is dry and air-tight.

How Does This Work?

Instead of killing the bacteria directly, this herb strengthens your immune system, thereby eliminating the threat. The major fighting component (interferon) not only kills germs but also infiltrate the genetic control center; this process prevents the harmful virus from growing in numbers. Interferon cells are also assisted in producing more of macrophages cells (germ eating cells) – the process is known as phagocytosis. Now, you know why this herb can be used effectively for reducing the symptoms of measles.

Echinacea Is Not Good, If:

  • You are suffering from auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
  • You can have an allergy.
  • You are suffering from atopy.

2. Eucalyptus Oil

diy cold remedies

Blocked nose, fever, and itchy throat are three common discomforts that come along with cold. All these can be treated by using pure Eucalyptus oil. It has antifungal, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiseptic, expectorant, and analgesic (pain killing) properties. Apart from treating various ailments, it also improves blood flow, destroys bacterial cells, decongest your airways and expel phlegm. Due to their immune-boosting properties, Eucalyptus oil prevents infections.

There are two ways you can use this remedy:

Option 1: Eucalyptus Oil For Blocked Nose

  • Step 1: Pour few drops of natural eucalyptus oil to a vessel containing water.
  • Step 2: Allow it to boil for a while.
  • Step 3: Take the vessel for the heat.
  • Step 4: Inhale the vapors coming from the vessel and exhale through the mouth. Use a towel to cover (so that vapors do not escape). Doing this will reduce the inflammation of the mucosal linings and breathing becomes much easier.
  • Step 5: Based on the severity, do this remedy two to three times in a day.

Option 2: Eucalyptus Oil For Easy Breathing During Sleep

When you suffer from cold, you will notice that it becomes harder to breathe. Have you ever wondered why? We will tell you – this is because the mucus collects in your throat and nose, causing breathlessness. At such times, you can follow the steps given below:

  • Step 1: Take a soft, clean cloth.
  • Step 2: Add few drops of eucalyptus on it.
  • Step 3: Place this cloth underneath your pillow.

The oil’s aroma will gradually release and help unblock your nose. It lets you have a good night sleep.

How Does This Work?

Eucalyptus oil has a complex mixture of organic compounds, which are categorized into two groups: monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. It has anti-inflammatory, decongestant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties.

Eucalyptus Oil Is Not Good, If:

  • You are allergic to strong scents.

Note: Highly toxic if ingested. It is only for topical application. It is not recommended for kids.

1. Cumin Seeds

cold remedy

Besides giving out an amazing flavor and taste to your dish, cumin seeds are an excellent home remedy for cold or flu. These small seeds are packed with natural nutrients like iron, vitamin A, and C. They strengthen your immune system to fight against infections. To try a remedy using cumin seeds for you cold, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Step 1: Add 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds in 2 cups of water.
  • Step 2: Allow them to boil for a while.
  • Step 3: Add few pieces of fresh ginger (crushed).
  • Step 4: Strain the mixture and drink the water two times a day.

How Does This Work?

Cumin seeds have strong, and distinctive flavor (from certain essential oils present in them). The significant aromatic compound is cuminaldehyde, which is known to heal bronchitis, common cold and other respiratory diseases.

Cumin Seeds Are Not Good, If:

  • You suffer from frequent heartburn.
  • You have liver problems.
  • You have low blood sugar level.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have allergy or skin rashes.

I tried this ginger remedies for 3 days and it was a miracle to see that my cold has been disappeared in the 4th day.

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