It’s that time of year – cold and flu season. People across the country are scrambling to keep their immune systems strong and find ways to battle colds naturally.
But, just how do you do that? Are there natural remedies for colds that actually work? Like a loud, bellowing, sneak-up-on-you sneeze, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Many natural remedies provide safe and effective relief.
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Here are five natural remedies you can try when you or family members have a cold.
You know that old-time practice of feeding sick children chicken noodle soup? Well, there just might be something to it.
While chicken soup won’t cure a cold, bone broth is full of nutrients. It may help fight inflammation and help you rest so your body can fight the virus. In addition, drinking hot beverages can soothe a sore throat while the steam calms irritated nasal passages.
It’s best to make your own bone broth. You can control the ingredients and it’s much more affordable. You can make it by simmering the bones and connective tissues of any animal, but chicken and beef are most common in the U.S.
Plus, for those who do still consume meat, drinking bone broth allows you to get all of the nutrition you can from the parts of the animal you can’t eat.
As often recommended, vitamin C is an effective preventative against the common cold as it boosts the immune system. It can also diminish the reproduction of viruses and reduce inflammation and mucus in your nasal cavity.
It’s best for you and the planet if you can get your vitamin C from the foods you eat. These foods are high in vitamin C: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kiwi, lemons, oranges, parsley, peaches, strawberries, and tomatoes. If you need an additional boost, vitamin C supplements are a great choice — and if gummy chewable vitamins aren’t for you, try capsules.
Many essential oils are known for their ability to support the immune system and fight off threats to your body. Some of these oils include clove, cinnamon, frankincense, oregano, geranium, lavender, melaleuca (also known as tea tree oil), eucalyptus, and rosemary.
When shopping for essential oils, look for high quality, pure oils labeled as independently tested and safe for consumption. You want to select products from a company that does not adulterate their oils, and only companies that are confident in the purity of their oils label them this way.
Earth911 has a guide to the seven essential oils to have in your medicine cabinet, as well as guidance about using essential oils to make your own natural remedies.
Drinking fluids and staying hydrated is key to recovering from the common cold. Hot herbal tea is a great choice for averting dehydration and preventing the drying of your nose and throat at the same time. Many teas also have antioxidant properties that help support the immune system and flush toxins from your body. Be sure to choose a sustainable tea.
Many foods have been renowned for centuries for their antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Some of these foods include onions, garlic, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers.
Raw apple cider vinegar is also known for its ability to fight off threats to your body. Combine ingredients into a formula called the Master Tonic or Fire Cider to help you combat the common cold this winter. Make it now, because it takes some time to brew.
If that’s not enough natural cold prevention, here are several links to more helpful remedies:
Feature image courtesy of Allan Foster, Originally published on December 29, 2014, this article was updated in February 2023.