14 All-Natural Cold & Allergy Fighters

Relieve your sinuses with these all-natural home remedies!

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read
Sick man with tea

These solutions are easy, cheap, and best of all, natural. Using essential oils and other home remedy heros, you'll be on your way to breathing right in no time! 

Soothe Your Throat

1. Ease an Itch Through Your Ear
If you’ve got an itch in your throat, scratch your ear. When the nerves in the ear get stimulated, they create a reflex in the throat that causes a muscle spasm, which cures the itch.

2. Salt Solution
Saltwater is a tried-and-true way to soothe throat irritation. But it does more than relieve pain—it may actually work to draw infections or irritants to the surface of your throat, where your body is better able to deal with them. Dissolve ½ to 1 teaspoon salt in 8 ounces warm water for an inflammation-taming gargle that you can use every hour or two. (Hint: Save those salt packets from restaurant takeout orders—each one is 1 teaspoon, making it easy to bring relief on the go.) For even more infection-fighting power, add a few dashes of turmeric.

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3. Tea for Relief
Any warm beverage will feel great going down, but this tea contains honey and herbs that fight infection and reduce inflammation. Combine 1 clove, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Place the spice mixture in a tea infuser in 2 cups boiling water. Stir in 4 teaspoons honey, and sip your way to soothing!

4. Sage-Echinacea Throat Spray
Another infection-fighting herbal combo works great as a spray! Pour ¾ cup boiling water over 2 tablespoons each sage leaves and marshmallow or licorice root. Steep for 30 minutes, then strain. Add ¼ cup echinacea tincture and 1 tablespoon honey. Pour into a clean spray bottle, and shake before spraying twice for each use a few times a day. Keep in the fridge between uses for up to a week.

Clear Your Nose

5. Press for Relief in 20 Seconds
Let’s get right to the (pressure) point! You can clear your stuffy nose and pressure-filled head by pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth while pressing a finger between your eyebrows. Hold for 20 seconds, and you’ll start to feel draining—and freedom to breathe again! The science: Pressing these two points causes the vomer bone (running through the nasal passages to the mouth) to rock, which loosens your congestion and moves fluid.

6. DIY Saline Drops
You can buy saline nasal spray or drops to soothe dry nasal passages and sinuses, and clear out mucus, bacteria, and allergens. But it’s simple to make your own nasal rinse that’s just as effective. In ½ cup warm water, mix ¼ teaspoon sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. Pair with a neti pot or small squirt bottle (available from a health food store or drugstore) to get it where it needs to go.

7. Scent Your Shower
Steam alone can help clear your head, but pairing it with the right essential oil makes it all the more powerful. Try putting a few drops of eucalyptus oil (a natural decongestant) on the floor of a hot, running shower just behind the stream of water—so it doesn’t go down the drain or create a slippery situation. Then simply inhale the steam.

8. Breathe in Deep
You can also add a drop of eucalyptus oil to a glass bowl of steaming water. Drape a towel over your head to create a tent, close your eyes, and lean your head over the bowl to take deep breaths for about 10 minutes. Repeat several times throughout the day, as needed.

9. Nose Sore From Blowing?
Relieve the rawness and lubricate for that next blow with a dab of petroleum jelly. To minimize germ spreading, apply with a cotton ball or swab.

Relieve A Cough

10. Slippery Solution
Slippery elm lozenges are a natural way to stifle that wracking cough. You can also make a tea: In 2 cups hot water, add 1 teaspoon slippery elm powder or liquid, 1 tablespoon sugar, and a dash of ground cinnamon. Then drink it up! Save this treatment for kids five and older.

11. Healing Honey
Yep, warm liquids are perfect to settle that cough. But be sure to add honey—it soothes cough receptors in the throat. Or you can take honey straight up. For adults, try up to 3 teaspoons every 2 to 3 hours as needed (don’t give to children younger than one year).

12. Go for Grapefruit
Here’s an oldie but a goodie: Place a whole unpeeled grapefruit, sectioned into four pieces, in a pot and cover with water. Heat until just before boiling. Stir in 1 tablespoon honey, then drink the vitamin-filled, soothing liquid like a tea.

13. Spice Up Chicken Soup
Add garlic to your soup to keep away more than vampires! Garlic is rich in compounds that help weaken cough-producing viruses in the respiratory track.

14. The Best Cough Cure Ever
Chocolate—yes, chocolate! What’s the secret? It has theobromine, which medical studies have found actually suppresses coughs better than codeine (a common ingredient in cough medicine). Next time a cough comes on, suck on a piece of dark chocolate.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.

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