There is no escape from getting a cold or flu especially in the cooler autumn winter months. The common cold symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion and cough. If there is a fever, muscle aches, headaches and you feel extremely tired then you’ve mostly like got the flu. Even if it is a mild cold, it makes you feel unpleasant and the flu can make you feel so drained and exhausted. All you want to do is get better soon and get on with your life. So are there any cold remedies that can actually help reduce the duration of a cold? The good news is there are many common cold remedies that can be used to alleviate the symptoms and recover faster. Here are a few cold remedies that I use when I’ve got the cold or flu which I swear by to get you back to feeling yourself again sooner.
Cold remedies to use at the onset of a cold or flu:
• Take about 1000mg of vitamin C. Some scientific studies have shown that taking vitamin C, zinc or echinacea does not help with colds but my experience is while it doesn’t prevent a cold it does help reduce the duration. However you must take at least 1000mg a day to have an effect. Continue taking the vitamin C till the cold is better. I have not tired zinc and echinacea supplements.
• Eat 2-3 cloves of garlic a day. Garlic has both antibacterial and antiviral properties and it contain a compound called allicin that helps to boost the immune system. I find it quite difficult to eat raw garlic (but if you can this is best) so I sauté it in a pan for a few minutes. Another option is to crush about 3 cloves of garlic and add some honey to it (manuka honey is best), Let it rest for a couple of hours and then eat. You can also crush 3 cloves of garlic and steep in hot water and drink it like a tea. You can add some honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper if desired.
• Take honey and cinnamon. This is the best cold remedy. Mix together 1 teaspoon of honey with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Take this twice a day until the cold is better. I usually mix together a big batch and store it at room temperature. I prefer to use manuka honey. Honey should not be given to children under 1 due to the risk of botulism.
Cold remedies for sore throats:
• Gargle with salt water. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup (about 250ml) of warm water and gargle every few hours.
• Warm honey drink. Dissolve a teaspoon of manuka honey in a cup of warm water and drink every few hours. I’ve found this to be very effective at getting rid of a sore throat quickly. Add a few pieces of ginger to this mixture as well.
Cold remedies for nasal congestion:
• Use a saline spray every few hours. You can make your own saline by adding ¼ teaspoon of salt to 250ml of water that has been boiled and then cooled. Use 3 to 4 sprays per nostril.
• Steam inhalation with salt every few hours. Add about 1/3 cup salt to boiling water. Take off the heat and cover head with a towel and inhale through one nostril at a time. Most effective if done several times a day.
• Use a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer as breathing moist air helps to loosen the mucus.
• Use a second pillow to elevate the head. This will help open up your nasal passages a bit by promoting sinus drainage to the back of your throat.
Cold remedies for coughs:
• Red onion and honey. Slice a red onion and place a few slices in the bottom of a bowl. Top with honey and place more onion slices over the honey. Continue to layer onion and honey until the whole onion is used up. Cover the bowl and leave for at least 12 hours, overnight is better. There will be a sweet syrup that as collected in the bowl the next day. Take a spoonful as need. This is also a good remedy for sore throats.
• Another remedy for coughs is a mixture of equal parts honey and apple cider vinegar. Mix well by shaking and take a tablespoon every 4 hours.
• Ginger pieces in boiling water can also help soothe a cough.
• Taking a spoonful of honey before bed can help you get a restful sleep.
Practical advice to recover faster from a cold or flu:
• Drink plenty of hot or warm fluids. Drinking lots of fluids helps to keep you hydrated and loosens mucus. Try drinking warm water as it helps to keep the throat moist and reduce inflammation of the throat. Drinking hot fluids like black tea with ginger and honey also helps to soothe a sore throat. Try to reduce or stop the consumption of milk as it produces more phlegm.
• Get plenty of rest. Often when you’re sick you feel more tired than usual. This is how your body tells you that you need to slow and take a break. At the onset of a cold make sure you get plenty of rest rather than expending that energy elsewhere because our body needs all the energy to fight of the viral infection.
• Have chicken soup. A handful of scientific studies have shown that there is a lot of truth to this. Chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory as well as relieving congestion (helps thin mucus). Plus it keeps you hydrated. The studies found that while chicken soup bought at the supermarket isn’t as good as homemade it still provided similar anti-inflammatory effects. If you’re making your own chicken soup make sure to include lots of immune-boosting vegetables like sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, parsnips and leek and don’t forget the onion, garlic and ginger and herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme) and spices (turmeric, coriander powder, cumin power) to make that super soup.
These remedies won’t necessary stop you from getting sick but it certainly will help you get over a cold in a day or two if taken regularly.
• Honey and cinnamon mixture once a day
• Eat a clove of garlic once a day
The next time you’re down with the cold or flu, give a few of these cold remedies a try. I hope they will work as well you for as they do for me. Do you have any fail safe cold remedies that you use?