What is a cold and how to get rid of a cold naturally? The common cold is a group of upper respiratory symptoms caused by a numerous different viruses. A common cold can’t be cured by antibiotics as it’s caused by a virus which is usually harmless. Most common cold viruses are rhinovirus and corona virus but there are more than 200 viruses that may cause a common cold. Its signs and symptoms can be different depending on the type of virus that’s been causing the condition. A cold starts when the virus attaches to the lining of your throat or nose.
How to treat a cold? The fastest way to get rid of a cold, is with natural home remedies. If the symptoms still persist, you may need to see a doctor.
- 1 Cold Symptoms
- 2 How to get rid of a cold fast and naturally?
- 2.1 1. Honey
- 2.2 2. Echinacea
- 2.3 3. Goldenseal
- 2.4 4. Garlic
- 2.5 5. Ginseng
- 2.6 6. Yogurt
- 2.7 7. Lemons
- 2.8 8. Ginger
- 2.9 9. Peppermint tea
- 2.10 10. Turmeric
- 2.11 11. Eucalyptus
- 2.12 12. Astragalus tea
- 2.13 13. ACV ( apple cider vinegar)
- 2.14 14. Coriander
- 2.15 15. Elderberry
- 2.16 16. Andrographis
- 2.17 17. Olive leaf extract
- 2.18 18. Rest and relax
- 2.19 19. Steam inhalation
- 2.20 20. Health gargles
- 2.21 21. Fluids
- 2.22 22. Licorice Root
- 2.23 23. Baking Soda Tea
- 2.24 24. Marshmallows
- 2.25 25. Onions
- 2.26 26. Cayenne
- 2.27 27. Wild Mountain Oregano Oil
- 2.28 28. Colloidal Silver
- 2.29 29. Grapefruit Seed Extract
- 2.30 30. Linseed Extract
- 2.31 31. Sicilian Essential Oils
- 2.32 32. Hot or cold compresses
- 2.33 Tips to prevent a cold
A common cold symptoms may be felt about 1-4 days after catching a virus. A cold symptoms include: runny nose, itching of the throat, sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, sore throat, feeling tired, and mild cough. Usually there is no fever in adults, but a low fever is possible.
How long does a cold last? Typically, the worst cold symptoms last about 3 days, but you may feel congested for 7-10 days.
What is the difference between cold and flu?
Flu symptoms are usually more severe and start off quickly. The flu symptoms include, fever (100 – 102 F), sore throat, headache, congestion, cough, and muscle aches. You may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Most flu symptoms improve in 2-5 days but you may feel weak for 1-3 weeks.
How to get rid of a cold fast and naturally?
It’s rich in vitamin C, which is known for boosting immune function to help fight against infection. Honey will coat your throat and soothe it.
It’s been used as a natural remedy even for patients with nighttime coughs.
What type of honey should you use?
Any type of honey will do as long as it’s pure honey. To know that it’s pure honey, put it in the fridge for a few hours. If it hardens, it’s not pure. Thus, to make sure that you get 100% honey without added sugar, you should obtain it from a local farmer store.
Note: Manuka honey has the most medicinal properties that any other honey.
How to get rid of a cold overnight with honey?
- Add ½ teaspoon or 1 tablespoon of honey to lukewarm water.
- Add drops of lemon juice.
- Mix them well.
You may also opt to take it pure, i.e. without adding water or lemon.
Since honey is sweet, make sure that you brush your teeth after taking it. But do it after a few minutes so that honey will still linger in your mouth and soothe your throat.
It’s one of the most common herbs used to treat cold and other respiratory tract infections. The effectiveness of Echinacea depends on how you prepare it.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, you can’t treat common cold using the herb’s juice formulation. But you can mix Echinacea tincture with warm water and take it four times a day.
Or you can opt to use its supplement form. But make sure that you choose the right supplement. The product must indicate the amount of Echinacea added and its type.
It’s important to obtain it from a brand that guarantees of no contamination in their products.
Experts also recommend getting Echinacea supplement that also includes elderberry as another ingredient. These herbs can further help you fight against the infection.
How to get over a cold fast with Echinacea supplements?
- Take it at the first sign of a common cold.
- Take 900 mg of it per day. But divide the total dosage into 3 doses. This means that you can take 300 mg 3 times a day to reach the recommended daily intake.
- Take it for 1 to 2 weeks.
Avoid using it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have autoimmune condition, you should consult your doctor first. Echinacea may interact with the medicines you’re taking for such condition.
It’s usually used along with Echinacea. But you can take it alone.
Goldenseal is known for its ability to treat not just upper respiratory tract infection but also skin disorders, digestive conditions and liver problems.
How to take it?
If you want the easiest way to prepare and take it, you just need to obtain its nutritional supplement form.
Or you can purchase its powder form or tincture. You can use it as mouthwash too. After every meal, rinse your mouth and throat with goldenseal tincture. Avoid swallowing it as the tincture may cause stomach upset.
It’s stinky but it’s an effective home remedy for cold. Garlic has anti-viral properties that can effectively fight against the virus.
How to fight a cold fast with garlic?
- Obtain whole garlic. Make sure that it’s organic to avoid the side effects of pesticides.
- Get one clove and cut it into pieces.
- Chew the pieces of garlic.
- Drink pure orange juice immediately.
- Additionally, you can chop the garlic and mix it with a spoonful of honey.
This concoction is most effective when taken in the morning on an empty stomach. If you get a bad heartburn, try to eat a little before you eat the garlic. You can also take at night before bedtime. You need to go to bed after taking it as you might feel feverish. But don’t worry about it. It’s the garlic that’s taking action to your system.
You may need to take it every day until the symptoms subside. Just make sure that you brush your teeth well and use mouthwash so your breath won’t stink. That is, if you’re bothered with it.
It may be known for its ability to boost energy and stamina but it’s also used by natural medicine advocates as a wonderful home remedy for cold.
Ginseng has plenty of health benefits including its ability to treat upper respiratory tract infection, like common cold. It doesn’t exactly target the virus. Rather, it boosts your immune system so the body can effectively fight against the infection.
How to get rid of a cold naturally with ginseng?
- You may take it as a tea or a capsule.
- Or you may take it daily to prevent common cold. Make sure that you’re taking at least 400mg a day. However, the dose may depend on your age and overall health. You must consult the product label on how often should you take it.
- You may also check with your doctor or healthcare provider as to the most suitable dose of ginseng that you can take for your health.
Ginseng may cause diarrhea and headache to some users. Some have reported to experience vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness. Thus, you must take it with caution. Consult your physician if you’re not sure.
However, ginseng is generally safe.
Are you surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. Yogurt is known for its healthy bacteria. You may wonder how yogurt can help in fighting common cold.
We all know that yogurt assists proper digestion. With that in mind, it can keep your intestines healthy. When your gut is healthy, you’ll be healthy too.
Bear in mind that your gut is always on the front lines when you come in contact with an external bacterium. Keeping it healthy is necessary.
How to use yogurt as a home remedy for cold?
- Choose yogurt with probiotics and without flavor.
- Take it 3 times a day.
- Add some grapes and strawberries to further help you fight against the infection.
Lemons are a time-tested home remedy, not just for sore throat, but also for common cold. It may not be a cure for this condition, but it’s a viable alternative. What it does is that it soothes the discomfort caused by the virus.
The vitamin C content of lemon is high making it an effective remedy in treating this condition.
How do you get rid of a cold with lemons?
- Boil water.
- Pour it in a glass.
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Add 2 teaspoons of honey (optional).
This concoction will help soothe your sore throat caused by common cold. The lemon in it will clear up any blockage in your nose.
It can ease the symptoms of colds for a few hours. You may drink this mixture as often as you want but don’t go overboard. Lemon is very acidic. It may cause stomach discomfort, especially if you have stomach ulcer.
It’s another effective home remedy for cold that contains antiseptic properties. Ginger isn’t only great at treating common cold but it’s also beneficial in preventing the condition to arise.
Thanks to its mild sedative effects, it’ll help you get some rest while recuperating from a common cold.
How to fight a cold with ginger?
- Prepare grated ginger root.
- About 2 teaspoons.
- Add it to a cup of hot water.
- Mix it well.
- Drink it.
This mixture is safe to be taken 3 times a day. It clears the congestion while supporting your immune system. Ginger can also soothe a sore throat.
9. Peppermint tea
Peppermint is an herb with minty aroma. The menthol flavor that it has is what makes it beneficial for someone with common cold. You may mix it with other herb or use it alone.
Hot or cold, peppermint tea can alleviate the symptoms of common cold by enhancing your immune system. It also acts as an herb that prevents you from catching common cold virus. It’s rich in potassium, vitamin C, calcium and other useful components that can get rid of the colds and flu.
How to use peppermint tea for a cold?
- Add a cup of water to a pot.
- Bring it to a boil.
- Let it cool down for a bit before adding the peppermint leaves.
- Steep for at least 5 minutes.
- Strain and drink the liquid.
The strong aroma of peppermint tea can alleviate congestion in your nose, thereby, allowing it easier for you to breathe. It’s also comforting and relaxing. You can easily rest after taking this tea. Bear in mind that you need ample of rest to fight against the effects of a common cold virus.
Turmeric tea is a popular home remedy for cold in India. It tastes fantastic when it’s paired with honey and warm milk. The turmeric alone can stimulate immune system, thereby, boosting its function to help fight against the effects of common cold virus.
The curcumin in turmeric has anti-oxidant properties, antibacterial components and anti-viral agents. It’s also a powerful decongestant. You may add it to black pepper, cayenne or other herbs for common cold to make it more powerful.
How to cure a cold fast with turmeric?
- Obtain turmeric tea. Make sure that it’s organically produced to avoid pesticides.
- Or you may use grated turmeric.
- Add a cup of water to a pan.
- Bring it to a boil.
- Add the turmeric, be it powder or grated.
- Let is simmer for 10 minutes.
- Mix it well.
- Add raw honey, if you want the sweeter taste.
Honey is a great natural sweetener that you can have and it contains many nutritional benefits. However, you must not use it excessively as it’ll cancel out its many health benefits. Remember, too much of anything is bad enough for your health.
The oil of eucalyptus can be an effective home remedy for common cold. You can have it in sprays, inhalers, rubs or creams.
There are many ways to use it as a home remedy for this condition.
Application on the skin
You may apply the oil to your chest, temples, back and neck. The oil’s strong aroma will act as a vapor. So, when you inhale it, it relieves congestion as caused by the common cold virus.
- In this method, you’ll need to add boiling water to a large bowl.
- Then, add eucalyptus oil to it. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over your head to form a tent.
- Breathe the mist to moisten the nasal passages to make them thinner. Thanks to the decongestant properties of this oil, you’ll find immediate relief from this home remedy.
Eucalyptus oil is also beneficial in relieving your common cold symptoms, like sore throat and cough. Use it every day for faster treatment.
Avoid taking the oil internally as it can be fatal. It’s best to dilute it first. However, diluted form of eucalyptus oil may still cause side effects, such as diarrhea and vomiting when you ingest it. So, be aware.
12. Astragalus tea
It’s an uncommon home remedy for cold in America. However, when you go to China, the astragalus root is known for its ability to strengthen immune system and alleviate the symptoms of common cold.
It’s rich in anti-viral properties, making it useful in treating this condition. Although it doesn’t have clinical trials to examine its effectiveness, it’s been used by Chinese in treating common cold and strengthening their immune function.
How to prepare it?
You may take its capsule form that you can obtain from a health shop. Or you may prepare it as a tea by getting its powder form or dried root, or ready made tea bags.
When preparing astragalus tea, prepare a cup of boiling water. Then, add the tea bag. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool down a bit and then drink it.
You may drink the tea 3 times a day.
13. ACV ( apple cider vinegar)
We all know how incredible this stuff is. It’s one of the most versatile organic products that you must store in your kitchen. This is especially true when the cold season is coming.
It turns out, apple cider vinegar isn’t only effective in weight loss but it’s also useful in helping you prevent common cold or fight against its symptoms.
It’s true that ACV is quite acidic. Although, it’s known for its ability to maintain or keep your pH levels balanced. With slightly alkalized body, common cold virus won’t thrive.
How to cure a cold with ACV?
- Prepare a glass of warm water.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of ACV.
- Mix it.
- Drink it twice or three times a day.
You may also add it to your hot tea, like green or black tea. If you don’t like its taste, you may add some maple syrup or honey. However, drinking it pure will provide immediate relief, while giving you enough energy to fight against the effects of the germs.
Another way to use ACV when you have cold is to put a cup of ACV to your vaporizer. Then, just leave it on overnight. It’ll make it easier for you to breathe.
If you have chest congestion caused by common cold, you need to soak a small piece of clothe in ACV and lay it on your chest for about an hour.
It’s an herb commonly used by Sri Lankans as a cold remedy. They combine it with ginger to have a balanced heat. It doesn’t kill the virus but it does relieve your congestion caused by common cold.
Best way to get rid of a cold with coriander
- Prepare coriander seeds about ½ cup and 3 cups of water.
- Boil water before adding the seeds.
- Strain it.
- Drink it.
To taste, it’s best to add honey or maple syrup. You may need to drink it 4 times a day. Since it decongests your nasal passages, you need to take it as often as needed or when your nasal passages are blocked again.
It’s said that elderberry contains anti-viral properties which can eliminate influenza virus. With its unique properties, herbalists considered it as an herb that can boost immune system when you catch a common cold virus.
Elderberry is also an effective decongestant through its anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces swelling in your sinuses allowing you to breathe easily. When you use it regularly while fighting common cold, the duration of your sickness will drastically reduce.
Ways to get rid of a cold with elderberry
- You may obtain elderberry syrup from a health shop.
- Or you just prepare your own syrup. You need fresh elderberries. Put a cup of dried elderberries in a small pan. Add water to it. Allow it to boil. When it’s boiling, turn down the heat. Let it simmer for at least half an hour. Remove it from the heat. Use a potato masher to crush the berries. Crushing will cause the medicinal properties of the berries to be released. Drink the extract 1 to 3 times a day.
- You can also opt to make a tea of elderberry. Just obtain fresh elderberries, add them to a boiling water and drink it.
- To taste, you may add cinnamon or maple syrup. Honey is also a good natural sweetener.
It’s a common herb in India and China. The leaves and flowers are the only parts of this herb that are useful for treating common cold symptoms.
Several studies showed that this herb or shrub had an ability to shorten the duration of colds and flu. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties making it an effective treatment for this condition.
It’s difficult to prepare this herb. Thus, the best way to obtain it is to purchase it in supplement form.
How to take it?
- The recommended dose for relieving cold symptoms is 400 mg per day.
- Make sure that you take it as soon as the symptoms of common cold appear.
- Pair it with Siberian ginseng to make it more effective in boosting your immune function.
17. Olive leaf extract
Another herb that can strengthen your immune system and help fight against the germs causing your common cold is olive leaf extract. The leaves of olive tree contain antioxidants. But most importantly they have anti-viral properties that can effectively eliminate the virus that’s been causing your sickness.
How to use it?
- The best way to obtain olive leaf extract is to purchase it in supplement form. However, make sure that the product doesn’t only contain oleuropein but it must also indicate olive leaf extract as its main active ingredient.
- Take it every day as indicated on the product label.
- Usually, this supplement is used as prevention. However, if you already have a common cold, you need to increase its dosage by taking 180 mg a day, which is divided in 3 doses.
Olive leaf extract may interact with medicines for blood pressure and blood sugar. Thus, make sure that you consult your physician before taking it.
18. Rest and relax
You can speed up your recover quicker if adequate rest is taken. If you don’t slow down and take care of yourself when you have a cold, it will take longer for you to recover.
Sleep helps your body fight the infection that’s causing you to feel ill, especially if you are running a fever.
Additionally, the more stressed you are, the longer a common cold can last. Try to learn how to relax, take deep breaths, do yoga, meditate, and practice other calming techniques.
19. Steam inhalation
A bowl of hot water, a bath towel is all that you need to relieve pain in your throat.
How to use it:
- Lower your head over a bowl half filled with hot water and drape the towel over your head.
- Inhale deeply and allow the steam to enter into your airways.
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the bowl so as make the experience more soothing.
20. Health gargles
One of the causes for sore throat is a bacterial infection or even the presence of toxins. Clinical studies in recent times indicate that gargling with warm salt and water can help loosen the mucus and more importantly can flush out the bacteria or the toxins.
How to use it:
- Add 1/2 tablespoon of salt to a cup of hot water.
- Mix well.
- Gargle with this mixture 4 times a day.
This is one regime which will need to be repeated several times a day for optimal results.
However, caution must be maintained and the mix must not be swallowed, rather throw out the solution immediately after gargling.
There is more to water than mere hydration as is evident from the fact that those who consume plenty of water present with a clear throat or a receding infection.
When plenty of water is consumed, it results in a hydrated mucus membrane in the region of the throat. Thus, bacteria are filtered and control of symptoms is particularly effective.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
22. Licorice Root
This herb is ultimate in terms of effectiveness. It is known to healing ulcers, relieving heartburn, relieving inflammation and is equipped with potent antioxidants. Licorice root enhances the immune systems, reduces allergenic responses, and improves resistance to stress.
In addition to all this, it is also most effective at fighting fungus, viruses, and bacteria. This herb while safe for short term use has been cited for serious side effects long term.
How to use it:
- Add 1 tablespoon of licorice root for a cup of water (you can also add a stick of cinnamon and a couple of slices of ginger).
- When it starts boiling, lower the temperature and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool down before drinking it. You can drink licorice root tea once daily to harness its power.
- Deglcyrrhizinated licorice, usually prescribed for long term use, is available in chewable form for 300-400 milligrams.
- Gargling with purified water and licorice root powder is another way to use this herb.
Licorice Root Tea is known to be particularly effective for relieving throat pain. Licorice root possesses strong anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial properties.
This is one of the therapeutic teas which can reverse and reduce the swelling and inflammation in addition to soothing the mucous membrane that lines the throat.
Check out our other detailed article about strep throat remedies.
23. Baking Soda Tea
Bacterial infections can be controlled with baking soda. Baking soda tea is known to be strongly anti-bacterial.
Also, baking soda is alkaline in pH and this helps control the swelling of the mucous membrane which lines the throat.
How to use it:
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water or lemon juice.
- Drink it once a day.
Contrary to popular belief, marshmallows are strongly therapeutic. This wonder option is not new and has been used for many as the perfect antidote by those wanting to treat throat pain and throat infections.
This is not surprising considering the fact that marshmallows have a thick gelatin coat which can help soothe the inflamed or irritated throat mucus membrane, reversing the pain significantly.
Onions can be freely utilized when it comes to reducing the growth of and killing off the bacteria. Onions have antiseptic and antibiotic properties that make this food a valuable part of natural remedies for sore throat.
They are most potent eaten raw, but if you have to cook it, use a little water to prevent nutrient and potency loss.
How to use it:
- Chop some raw onions and mix it with a spoonful of honey.
- Take it couple times a day.
Cayenne and other similar hot peppers are known to contain a chemical compound known as capsaicin. Observational studies have concluded that capsaicin can relieve throat pain and the efficacy level is similar to aspirin.
However, naturalists believe that unlike aspirin, capsaicin has no adverse effects and is a relatively safe alternative therapy for those suffering from a sore throat.
To further elaborate the case in point, pain is triggered by the presence of a specific chemical secreted in the body known as substance P. Capsaicin works by inhibiting the secretion of this substance and reverses the sensation of pain.
How to use it:
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to one cup of boiling water
- Stir it well.
- Gargle when the mixture is very warm. This helps draw away the infection and brings more circulation to the area.
- You can also add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to one cup of boiling water. Let it cool down and sip it slowly.
Check out our other detailed article on how to get rid of a scratchy and itchy throat.
27. Wild Mountain Oregano Oil
Oil of wild mountain oregano is not the same as common household oregano. It rivals antibiotics in the area of eliminating virus, bacteria and fungi.
This particular herb is most impressive in aiding the treatment of upper respiratory infections and removing parasites from the body.
An added bonus of using wild mountain oregano oil is that it is efficient, safe, and natural and doesn’t increase your risk of developing resistant strains.
How to use it:
- Dilute the oil before taking it internally. Read the labels for correct dosage.
28. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal Silver is a highly effective germicide. It is a mineral and although it’s not FDA-approved for over-the-counter sales or as a controlled substance, colloidal silver is sold and can be bought as a homeopathic remedy or supplement.
Colloidal silver is used to treat everything yeast, parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Many people apply colloidal silver directly to the infected area or they gargle with a colloidal silver solution to access its healing benefits.
How to use it for cold and sore throat:
- Gargle 1-2 tablespoons for two minutes then swallow.
- Repeat this five times per day.
- If using a spray, spray your throat 10-15 times every hour or two.
29. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is an interesting conundrum. Many people cite success with using this extract in natural remedies for strep throat. A study by the German Institute of Pharmacy also found grapefruit seed extract to be highly effective in antimicrobial activity against pathogens. However, this was true for only five of the six commercially available extracts.
It would appear that benzethonium choride, the preservative in the five extracts with antimicrobial activity, is the cause for grapefruit seed extract’s germicidal potency. In the sixth commercially available extract, the preservative was not present. No antimicrobial activity could be determined and as same was found with self-made extracts from grapefruit juiceless pulps and seeds.
How to use it for sore throat:
- Add 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract into a cup of warm water.
- Gargle extensively with the solution 5-6 times a day.
30. Linseed Extract
Linseeds are flax plant seeds and are sometimes referred to as flaxseed. The flax plant normally grows in regions of cooler temperatures. It is often taken as a dietary supplement for fiber. But, it contains essential fatty acids with benefits that extend to anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
How to use it:
- Add a spoonful to 8 ounces of water and drink it. Linseed extract has been shown to perform better as an antimicrobial agent when combined with ginger root. The scientific study can be seen at ScienceDirect.com
31. Sicilian Essential Oils
Sicilian essentials oils refer to coriander, laurel, oregano, rosemary, and sage. All of these essential oils show a degree of vigor when inhibiting fungal and bacterial pathogens. Oregano oil leads the pack with the broader range of activity and the most activity and sage oil, while still effective, is the least effective of all the oils.
Note: the use of essential oils in general is cautioned for women who are pregnant and not recommended for use for the first trimester. The risk is that the essentials oils may make their way into the placenta. While no reports of complications due essential oil have surfaced, the general idea is using home remedies for safe alternatives. It is often suggested to avoid rosemary and sage for the first trimester and for women who are lactating or nursing as milk production is shown to be affected, even interrupted, by these essential oils.
- Always dilute the oils per manufacturer recommendations.
32. Hot or cold compresses
If you have congested sinuses, you may apply hot or cold packs on your sinuses. Additionally, get enough rest, sleep, and plenty of fluids to feel better. Add an extra pillow under your head. Also, don’t forget to blow your nose often.
Tips to prevent a cold
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water (scrub them for 20 seconds).
- If soap and water is not available, use alcohol- based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Try to stay away from people who are sick. If that is not possible then avoid hugging, kissing or shaking hands with sick people.
- Disinfect doorknobs and other surfaces if you have a sick person in your household.
These remedies can speed up your recovery but if your symptoms last more than 10 days, you may need a visit to your healthcare provider.