10+ Natural Cold Remedies

10+ Natural Cold Remedies

10 Natural Cold Remedies at keeperofthehome.org

By Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

We’re smack in the middle of the “happiest” time of the year, but, whether we like it or not, we’re also at that time of year when illness runs rampant. And perhaps one of the most annoying–yet frequent–illnesses to battle is the common cold.

Thankfully, there are a plethora of natural cold remedies that can help you beat this nasty little virus without ever having to enter a conventional drug store. I’ve never liked conventional cold medications anyway. Besides being full of some potentially dangerous ingredients, they just make me feel, well, loopy.

And if a medication makes you feel worse than the sickness it is trying to better, then something’s not working!

So the next time that little virus rears its ugly head, pull out one of these natural cold remedies.

eating raw garlic

Image courtesy Intentional by Grace

1. Epsom Salt Baths

Besides helping you relax and sleep better at night, some believe epsom salts actually help detoxify your body, increase your white blood cell count and speed up the healing process (source)!

2. Raw Garlic

Raw garlic is full of amazing health benefits–including being anti-viral. Consuming it helps boost the immune system and fight infections (source). If eating it raw makes you squeamish, you can purchase odorless garlic capsules. But, first, check out these 7 ways to eat raw garlic. One of them might appeal to you!

3. Essential Oils

Essential oils have become my first line of defense against any ailment that has plagued our household over the past couple of years. Some tests have shown that essential oils are so strong that viruses cannot live in their presence (source).

Our favorites to use for colds are eucalyptus, peppermint and thieves oils. You can dab a drop of eucalyptus on your pajamas, which helps decongest you throughout the night. Or, try making a homemade vapour rub with eucalyptus oil.

My little girls are actually fighting mild colds right now. Before they went to bed tonight, I rubbed some peppermint oil diluted 1:1 with a carrier oil on their feet and chests.

You can also diffuse the oils into the air or add some oils to a warm bath. We use a homemade disinfectant spray made with essential oils–as well as a homemade hand soap (peppermint is our favorite this time of the year!).

My resource for all things essential oils is the Gentle Babies book and my friend Mary’s eBook on essential oil usage.

homemade saline nose spray

Image courtesy Whole New Mom

4. The Neti Pot

This natural cold remedy is probably my favorite–and I just discovered it last year!

The neti pot simply provides a way for you to easily and effectively clean out your nasal passages by pouring a warm saline solution in one nostril and allowing it to drain out the other. You can buy the saline solution at most drug stores, or you can try this recipe to make your own!

As a word of caution, be sure to use very sterile water in your neti pot.

5. Echinacea

Studies have shown that taking this herb can help boost your immune system, but the results have been mixed as to whether or not it actually prevents or shortens the life of a cold (source).

I previously took echinacea capsules daily during the cold and flu season until I discovered that it’s really best to use echinacea at the first sign of illness.

From personal experience, I have seen that when I start taking echinacea capsules, my symptoms either disappear or are very, very weak as opposed to my experiences with the cold virus before I discovered this wonderful herb!

10+ Natural Cold Remedies

Image by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

6. Elderberry Syrup

Elderberries are a natural immunity booster. You can find the berries made into a syrup at most health stores or online at such places as Vitacost (this link actually gives new customers a $10 credit!) and iherb.com (use code CEC426 for $5 free credit towards your order). Or, you can try making your own.

7. Good Nutrition

It sounds like a no-brainer, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves that optimal nutrition will generally produce better health. Are you still reeling in a sugar coma after all the pies and other treats from Thanksgiving dinner?

It might be time to make some homemade chicken soup, load up on some natural vitamin C via citrus fruits and drink some green smoothies. Last year this time, I joined up with some other bloggers to write about 5 “flu-fighting” foods–pumpkin, garlic, yogurt, breakfast and green tea.

8. Supplements

The very best vitamin and mineral sources come in real, whole foods. However…we all know that there are days, weeks and seasons when all we can do is hope to squeeze in a shower and keep the kids from killing each other. It’s during these times that upping our supplement intake may be wise.

If I feel a cold coming on, I typically up my vitamin C and zinc intake. I also take 4-6,000 IUs of vitamin D throughout the winter months–in addition to fish oil and probiotics.

raw honey

Image by kthread

9. Raw Honey

This super food is anti-viral and an immunity booster. Honey is especially effective in soothing a sore throat (always my first sign that a cold is coming).

You can also stir a little into a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. Or, sweeten some hot herbal tea with it and enjoy both the taste and health benefits.

10. Natural Cold Kicker Tinctures/Drinks

I have yet to try one of these myself, but many attest to their fast effectiveness in kicking a cold. I may add this cold kicker remedy from the Keeper of the Home archives to my to-do list this winter. This one from Paula of Whole Intentions also looks pretty potent!

Free Printable!

Not sure you’ll remember all these natural cold remedies? Click here to download the free printable below! Stick it on your fridge or in your homemaking binder as a handy reference. And feel free to share via Facebook, etc.!

10 Natural Cold Remedies Printable from keeperofthehome.org

Looking for even more natural cold remedies?

In addition to the 10 above natural cold remedies, here are some other ideas to keep your family healthy–and out of the drug stores–this winter!

Homemade Cough Syrup @ Keeper of the Home (or try this one from The Simple Homemaker)

Natural Remedies for Colds @ Creative Christian Mama

Your Flu-Fighting Kit @ Authentic Simplicity

Curing Coughs with Eucalyptus Oil @ Accidentally Green

Apple Cider Vinegar “Mock Lemonade” Immunity Booster @ Living Water Health & Wellness

Stephanie’s Natural Medicine Cabinet @ Keeper of the Home

Herbal Nurturing by Frugal Granola (an eBook full of home remedies)

I also asked my Facebook readers for their suggestions. You can read their assortment of responses here.

What are some of your favorite natural cold remedies?

Disclaimer: Although all Keeper of the Home contributors are passionate about nutrition, natural living and alternative health issues, we are not certified nutritionists, medical doctors, or practitioners of any kind. We are not licensed to counsel anyone in medical matters, nor may we be held responsible for any course of action that you choose in regards to your own health or that of your family. Please remember that what we are sharing is the result of our own experiences and years of study, but may not necessarily be the right course of action for you. We are advocates of becoming informed, knowledgeable and responsible for one’s own health, but our desire is not to be an authority on any matters of health for you, nor would we presume to have sufficient knowledge to do so. Our hope is that what we share may encourage you and start you on the road to doing your own research, and seeking out the opinions of professionals or others that you trust.

 This post includes affiliate links.


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  1. Which of these would you recommend for someone who is pregnant? I have a throat cold and laryngitis. I know not all essential oils are safe for pregnancy? Is there anything else on yournlist I should avoid?

  2. Great list!
    I always to keep those in mind at the first signs of illness. In fact this last time my husband allowed me to give him a couple of the things on the list and he had a one-day-cold (he never has a cold of less then 5-7 days).
    I also like to use coconut oil for it’s antibacterial (and many other amazing properties) prop, and grass fed butter. In fact the best way to start my day on illness days is to have a thin slice of (cold) butter with coconut oil on top (solid, as here it’s usually way too cold) and honey on top. It’s crazy good, and it soothes the throat.

    As for epsom salts, I will totally use those next time! Thank you!

  3. I’ve had a sore throat all day. So far I have eaten tons of raw garlic and turkey soup along with throat coat tea, honey, vit.C, zinc, probiotics. I think next I will take an epsom salt bath.

  4. I can attest to the effectiveness of Elderberry and Echinacea. My wife has a cold right now, so I’ll mention the Epsom Salt bath idea, she would love it!

  5. We swear by black elderberry in our house. We get an extract from our local health store (it’s made by HerbPharm) and it lasts a lot longer than the syrup. We put a few drops in grape juice every day and then take 20-40 drops several times a day when we’re feeling crummy. In our experience, it kills a cold in a day and I killed the flu in 2 days. Awesome stuff.

  6. I just found your homemade cough syrup from a 2009 post and made it last week. It was easy to make, and easy for us all to take, and really did seem to help. Thanks for posting that oh-so-long ago… 🙂

  7. Drinking Tension Tamer tea will cure running and stopped up noses, coughing, and anything that the flu throws at you. Sweeten the tea with a few drops of honey. You will feel a relieve instantly! It is safe for children over the age of 2.5 yrs old.
    my site

  8. Hello,
    I am one of your newest fans on my journey to a healthy life! Yesterday I felt a head cold coming on and instead of using my old bad habits I am going to try some of your recommendations. Thank you for sharing these.
    Have a wonderful day,

  9. This is exactly what I was looking for today, and luckily these are easy solutions that we do have around the house! Thanks!

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