Natural Cold Remedies That Actually Work
Coughing, sneezing, headache—you know the symptoms. Beat the common cold fast with these tried-and-true natural remedies.
12/05/18 — No matter what your age, having a cold can knock you off your feet and keep you in bed for weeks. Luckily, there are at-home remedies that can help alleviate symptoms such as coughing, congestion, or headaches.
It seems every family has an age-old remedy passed down for generations, so we cut through the internet’s endless cold treatment options to bring you the best. See what doctors recommend for curing a cold and why many classic cold remedies still hold true today.
Basic Cold Remedies
Bloggers and holistic healers swear by their at-home remedies and essential oil cocktails. We’re all for innovation, but there are a few tried-and-true techniques to help kick that cold to the curb. Backed by the doctors at Mayo Clinic, these are the go-to tricks that will help with your healing process.
- Get Hydrated. You’ve likely heard “drink plenty of liquids” while sick, but have you ever wondered why? In order to heal efficiently, your body needs to stay hydrated. If you have a fever or wake up in the middle of the night dewy with sweat, this is especially important. Drink water, juice, or clear broth to prevent dehydration and loosen congestion. Stay clear from alcohol, coffee, and soda, which are known to make dehydration worse.
- Sleep. Take a cold as a sign to go back to bed. Doctors recommend plenty of sleep to give your body the time it needs to heal. You’ll likely have little energy anyways when you’re sick, so allow yourself the time to stay in your pajamas, binge-watch a show, and take plenty of afternoon naps.
- Gargle Saltwater. Most doctors suggest a saltwater gargle for patients with a sore throat. To do it correctly, the Mayo Clinic recommends dissolving 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. This will temporarily relieve your pain.
- Consume Warm Liquids. It’s not a myth that chicken noodle soup is good for your health. When you have a cold, consuming warm liquids such as soup or tea might increase your mucus flow. As a bonus, if you're piled under blankets and still cold, holding a hot mug will help you finally feel warm.
- Invest in a Humidifier. Just think about how good your sinuses feel after a nice, hot shower. Keep the humidity in the air with a humidifier at home. Be sure to read the instructions to see how often you need to change the water.
Favorite At-Home Cold Remedies
If sleep and liquids still aren't doing the trick, there are a few extra steps you can take to feel better. By infusing bath bombs with certain essential oils or stirring up a mixture of honey and lemon, your cold symptoms may disappear faster. Tested by wellness bloggers and mothers alike, these DIY natural cold remedies will help you get back on your feet in no time.
- Shower Bombs. Self-care advocates will love this shower version of a bath bomb with a healing twist. Instead of filling your shower with flowery scents and biodegradable glitter, these healing cubes are made with Vicks VapoRub. As they dissolve in your shower, the decongesting scent of Vicks rises with the steam from your hot water. Learn
how to make your own cold-fighting shower bombsnow so they’re ready to use the next time a virus hits.
- Honey and Lemon Water. No one likes a coughing fit that interrupts your day. Suppress that urge to cough by mixing up a cocktail of warm water, lemon juice, and honey. The honey is thick and coats your throat. The Mayo Clinic even suggest that a spoonful of honey alone can be as effective at soothing coughs as some over-the-counter methods.
- Homemade Vapor Rub. You either love or hate the familiar smell of vapor rub. No matter your opinion, everyone can agree that this stuff works. In a study conducted on 138 children, results showed that vapor rub performed best at treating coughing, congestion, and the ability to sleep. You can make your own using coconut oil, beeswax, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, and clove oil.
- Essential Oils. Essential oils continue to rise in popularity, thanks in part to the trend in wellness and self-care and their ability to create a stress-free, soothing environment. But essential oils can do much more than fill a room with a lovely scent. Whether you use a diffuser or make an oil-based salve, there are specific essential oils that help with several common cold symptoms. Use peppermint for headaches, lavender and chamomile for sleep, and eucalyptus for congestion.