It’s that time of the year again when cold and flu symptoms are spreading like wildfire and no matter how much you try to avoid them, you get hit with sore throats, runny noses and pesky coughs. While over-the-counter remedies are the popular choice for tackling a bad cold, there are many common cold remedies you can make and use at home that can promote a faster recovery.
1. Make Your Own Chest Salve
Vapour rubs are a popular way of soothing blocked noses and decongesting your chest and throat area. Making your own is much cheaper plus you can make it much stronger if you so wish by adding more peppermint oil. Coconut oil is also a natural antiseptic which can be an added bonus.
- 1/2 cup of coconut oil
- 15-20 drops of peppermint oil
- An airtight container
Directions: Melt the coconut oil down by leaving it somewhere warm like a radiator or airing cupboard, on the stove or microwave. Once melted, pour into the container and add the peppermint oil stirring well. Leave it to harden and then rub onto your chest or below your nose being careful not to touch your eyes while it’s on your hands.
2. Take A Sinus-Clearing Bath
Taking a hot bath is an obvious one for clearing a blocked nose and soothing a chesty cough as well as relaxing the body. Drawing a bath using Epsom salts or Himalayan Bath Salts will help detoxify, hydrate your body and draw out any nasties while providing nutrients. Adding some essential oils can add a decongestant to the mix as well.
- 1 cup of Epsom or Himalayan Bath Salts
- 3 drops of peppermint oil
- 3 drops of eucalyptus oil
- 3 drops of lavender oil
- An airtight container
Pour the salt into the container, mix the essential oils and add them to the salt making sure to stir it all together well. Add a couple of generous handfuls to a bath-full of water, sit back and relax!
3. Decongest With A Radish Or Two
When you’re suffering from a nasty cold, the last thing you probably think of doing is munching down on a radish but the peppery vegetable has antiseptic qualities. Plus, its a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. If you find yourself feeling stuffed up, have a couple of radishes to clear out that blocked nose – the spiciness will clear it up in no time.
- 2-3 radishes (homegrown or organic are the best)
Directions: Eat 2-3 radishes twice a day (or if you love them, all through the day!) Keep them in the fridge for extra relief to a sore throat and to keep them crispy.
4. Go Classic With Garlic, Ginger, Lemon And Honey
Never underestimate the power of garlic, ginger, honey and lemon as common cold remedies. Incorporating these into your daily cold-blasting ritual will boost your immune system and help to clear and soothe sore throats, coughs and blocked noses. Use them separately but why not just go all out and put them all into one powerful concoction?
- 1 medium clove of garlic
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 3-4 slices of ginger
Directions: Crush the garlic clove, and squeeze the juice of the lemon into a big mug. Add the honey and sliced ginger. Fill the mug with hot water and allow to steep for a few minutes before drinking. Aim for making one of these flu-busting drinks about 2-3 times a day for maximum effectiveness.
5. Utilise Those Crucial Bedtime Hours
When you finally fall into bed, you’re probably so exhausted and glad to be there that you don’t think about how your time in bed could help your cold and flu symptoms. Grab a load of cushions and pillows and create a comfortable gradual slope for your head and neck. This will stop all the mucus building up in one position and help to relieve congested nasal passages.
Another tip is to fill a room diffuser with some peppermint oil and keep it running throughout the night. This will help your cold and flu symptoms while you’re peacefully passed out and give you a fighting chance when you wake in the morning.
Common Cold Remedies That Aren’t So Effective
When it comes to combating your cold, there are some known remedies that aren’t really as effective as we think.
- Over-the-counter decongestants – While these can help, they are only effective in the short term and they can actually make your blocked nose worse if they’re used for more than a week.
- Ibuprofen and Paracetamol – While these can help reduce fever, they are not recommended for tackling a cold. Using both together can also be unsafe for children under 16.
- Zinc – This has had a cold-fighting reputation for a while but there’s actual little evidence that this is the case.
- Vitamin C – This is also another source of contention with recent studies showing the power of vitamin C for helping with colds and flu isn’t actually as effective as first thought. Vitamin D is fast becoming a much better cold-blaster.