I have an adverse reaction to cold medication so I don’t use it, but some of the symptoms can really be a pain without some sort of relief. I have been using many alternative remedies for years to get through cold and flu season, and I have honed them to help with the varied symptoms brought on with each new season. I’m always impressed by how effective natural, plant-based remedies can be in combating sickness and want to share my favorite home remedies in hopes that they will make cold and flu season a little easier for you this year. These tried-and-true cold remedies really work!
These are the recipes I use time and time again for cold relief. And I must say that, since I have a toddler, I’m something of a cold virus pro (hooray?). I seem to get every bug around these days. Some are mild and others knock me out, but either way, I’m grateful to have some healing home remedies on hand for relief.
Throat Relief Tea
Having a sore throat is the worst. When it hurts to swallow or talk, it’s tough to go on with your day. Luckily, you can get some relief from the pain with simple ingredients that you probably have on hand already in your kitchen. Ginger, honey, lemon, and sage are all natural anti-inflammatories and work wonders to soothe sore throat pain when brewed into a tea together.
To make sore throat relief tea, add the juice of half a lemon, one slice of fresh ginger, a few fresh sage leaves, and a half tablespoon of honey to boiling water. Allow the mixture to steep for about five minutes before drinking.
Everyone knows that chicken soup is an age-old remedy for colds, but not that many people know why. Chicken contains carnosine, an immunity-booster, and the heat of soup works to relieve congestion and soothe throat pain. While any kind of chicken soup will bring some welcome relief from cold symptoms, I like to add these other ingredients to really amp up its symptom-thwarting power.
-Chili flakes: decongest
-Black pepper: reduces mucus
-Garlic: boosts immune system
-Turmeric: reduces inflammation
Echinacea is commonly thought to help boost immunity and fight off sickness. Follow this recipe from Colleen Codekas and take the tincture at the first signs of a cold.
Essential Oil Roll-On Remedy
I add a blend of cold-fighting essential oils to a carrier oil and keep the mixture in a roller bottle so I can conveniently roll it onto my chest and the soles of my feet when I feel a cold coming on. You can also make essential oil roll-ons for insomnia and headache. Head over here to get the recipes.
Make up a batch of these sage candies for sore throats and read about the herbal history of sage.
Decongestant Steam Treatment
The humidity from warm steam helps to soothe coughs and dry sinuses, and you can make your own cold-fighting humidifier by adding decongestant and anti-inflammatory ingredients to boiling water and breathing in the steam. Start by making my Cold and Flu Relief Simmering Spices recipe, then pour just-boiled water over the simmering spices in a large bowl. Position your head over the bowl and cover both your head and the bowl with a towel to keep the steam in. Breathe deeply for about ten minutes and you will feel instant relief.
Eucalyptus Shower Steamers
These eucalyptus steamers turn your whole shower into a decongestant steam treatment! Whip up a batch using this recipe, then pop one on the shower floor and when you run the warm water it will cause the steamer to fizz and melt, releasing soothing eucalyptus into the steamy air.
Foot Soak for Cold Relief
Taking a hot foot bath reduces inflammation in the head and chest by drawing blood towards the feet. The steam from this healing foot soak also helps with congestion.
To make the foot soak, you will need:
- 1 tsp. dried comfrey root powder
- 1 tsp. dried lavender
- 1 tsp. dried mint leaves
- 2 cups Epsom salts
- 2 drops rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 6 drops peppermint essential oil
- 8 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container such as a Mason jar. To use, add about ½ cup to a warm foot bath and soak for at least 15 minutes.
Thieves’ Oil Immunity Booster
I am normally sick all the time in winter, but this year I have been using a homemade Thieves’ oil treatment on my feet and haven’t gotten sick yet. Maybe it’s from the essential oils, or maybe it’s just luck, but all I know is I’m rubbing this essential oil blend on my feet regularly and I’m feeling great. At the very least it smells good and feels nice, and at best it’s keeping my immunity strong.
To make it, simply add a few drops of Thieves’ essential oil blend (see how to make your own here or buy a pre-mixed blend) to a carrier oil (try jojoba oil, almond oil, argan oil, or olive oil) and add the mixture to a glass roll-on bottle. Use the roller to rub the oil on the bottoms of your feet once a day.
Homemade Vapor Rub
This DIY vapor rub balm can be applied to your chest to help soothe congestion and coughs. You can also rub it under your nose for a stuffy nose and sore skin from scratchy tissues. Or have someone rub some on your feet just because it feels good to get a foot rub when you have a rotten cold.
These recipes are not intended to diagnose or treat any disease and you should always check with your health care professional before trying any home remedies.