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Natural Remedies for Cold Symptoms

It's happened to all of us: the coughing, the sneezing, the congestion, and other nasty cold symptoms. Try these all-natural cold remedies, most of which use items you already have at home.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
April 25, 2016

Steam Away Congestion

Steam is a wonderful household remedy for colds. Heat water on the stove or in the microwave until it’s almost boiling, pour it into a bowl and breathe in as you lean over it. Stick your tongue out as you do it—this will open the throat and allow more steam through, preventing membranes from drying out. To keep the steam from dissipating too soon, drape a towel over your head to create a little "tent" for you and the bowl.  

Scallions for a Stuffy Nose

Stuffy nose? Don’t spend money on decongestant—head to your fridge instead. Cut the “root” end of two scallions (green onions) and carefully insert the white ends into your nose (being cautious not to shove them too high!). You may look silly, but your nose will start to clear in a couple of minutes.  

Soothe a Sore Throat with Lemon

When you have a cold, there are several different ways to take care of a sore throat. The simplest method is to gargle with one part lemon juice and one part warm water. Our favorite way is to fill a shot glass with honey, then warm it in the microwave for about 10 seconds on high. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, then drink. You can also dissolve two non-coated tablets in a glass of water and gargle. (Just be sure to note that this only works with aspirin—don’t try it with other pain relievers like ibuprofen.)

Zinc for the Common Cold

Taking zinc to help get over the common cold has become extremely popular over recent years, thanks to research that showed that, as long as you take it at the first sign of symptoms, zinc lozenges could reduce the duration and severity of the common cold. (For children, a cold syrup high in zinc had the same effect on colds.) Other supplements that help fight off colds faster include probiotics (look for refrigerated brands at your health food store that contain acidophilus and bifidobacterium) and garlic. If you want to skip pricey supplements, adding fresh garlic to your diet can be just as beneficial. Crush a clove or two into a serving of hot chicken soup and boost your immune system while fighting off vampires at the same time.

Have an Earache? Here's Another Onion Cure

Oil found in raw onion is antimicrobial, which makes onions great cures for upper respiratory ailments. If you have a minor earache, onion may help. Slice a fresh onion and heat it in the microwave on high for one minute. Wrap it in cheesecloth or another thin cloth so that it doesn’t burn your skin, and then hold it against the ailing ear for 20–30 minutes. See a doctor if the pain gets worse or continues for longer than 24 hours.  

Sounds Crazy, But It Works!

If you have a cold that’s been hanging around forever, try this old Lubin family remedy to rid yourself of congestion once and for all. Get a pair of cotton socks damp, but not dripping, with cold water. Put them on, and then put a pair of dry wool socks on over them. Go to bed immediately. As you sleep, the heat from your upper body will be drawn down to your feet, allowing the inflammation to reduce. You’ll also be stunned to find that your feet are warm and dry by morning.  Do you have a cold cure or old family remedy for cold symptoms? Let us know in the comments! And don't forget to follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day.

The suggestions offered here are for informational purposes only.  The Authors and Publisher do not accept liability for damages arising from the use, attempted use, misuse or application of any of the suggestions included on this website.

Image by Shutterstock.

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