Winter is known to be cold season. In the cold air, or even in dry heating air, the nasal mucosa is less supplied with blood and the defence cells work more slowly. Rhinoviruses, the most common cause of the classic common cold, defy low temperatures without any problems (1). Light and vitamin D deficiency also weaken the immune system. Despite the best precautions, everyone catches a cold, but a doctor or pharmacist is usually only needed in rare cases. When you have a cold, it is worthwhile to have natural home remedies at hand that you can fall back on at the first symptoms of a cold. I’ll explain what natural home remedies for colds can look like in this post 😊
Natural home remedies for colds:
- Ginger. It has anti-inflammatory (i.e. anti-inflammatory) effects, helps with nausea, joint and muscle pain (2).Always have some ginger tubers, lemons and a good, preferably raw, honey at home. Wash the (organic) ginger well for a tea, cut it into thin slices and pour boiling water over it. As soon as the tea has cooled down a bit, add fresh lemon juice. It is best to „spoon“ the (raw) honey into the tea while drinking it. If you want a stronger effect, you can also let the tea simmer on the cooker. Or make a ginger shot! Of course, ginger is great in savoury dishes like curries or soups.
- Cistus tea. The tea made from the critical cistus rose has numerous anti-inflammatory, antiviral and – bacterial properties thanks to its polyphenols (3). Other herbs proven effective for colds are elderberry, lime blossom, echinacea, rosemary and thyme.
- Chilli. It has immune-boosting and decongestant effects on mucous membranes (4). Spice up your food with chilli or drink small sips of a chilli drink for a sore throat. To do this, add some chilli powder to ginger tea and drink it in very small sips. Gargling is also enough if you don’t want to swallow the tea.
- Garlic. Its sulphurous components have an anti-inflammatory effect (5). If you tolerate it well (garlic has an anti-hypertensive effect that should not be underestimated!), you can eat raw garlic for dips, dressings or with bread. But it also works well pickled, boiled or steamed.
- Horseradish. Freshly grated and placed under the nose in a small cotton bag, it works wonders for a blocked nose thanks to the mustard oil glycosides it contains!
- Onion. Onions also contain mustard oil glycosides, sulphur compounds and other secondary plant substances that ward off viruses and bacteria, have an anti-inflammatory effect and promote circulation. For earaches, onion packets are a great help; for coughs, a syrup of onion and honey can provide relief. As a preventive measure, they can be eaten in salads or any other dishes.
- Chicken soup. It contains the protein cysteine and plenty of zinc, so it has a decongestant effect, liquefies stuck mucus and strengthens the immune system (6, 7). So next time you make chicken soup, freeze some to be ready for the next cold and have a Gals organic chicken stock on hand.
- Vitamin C. It has antioxidant effects and can shorten cold duration and severity, a Finnish study showed. Vitamin C is found mainly in parsley, kale, citrus fruits, broccoli and peppers.
- Zinc. (High-dose) zinc can shorten the duration of the common cold, according to studies (8). However, since side effects such as nausea and vomiting are possible, look for natural zinc from cereals, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and cocoa.
- Probiotic foods (or probiotics in powder form). They can prevent infections and shorten the duration of infections, as well as reduce the likelihood of needing an antibiotic (9). Probiotic foods include sauerkraut, other lacto-fermented vegetables, kefir or kombucha. At least one of these should be available in the household. Powder is available from omni-biotic, for example.
Other tips for colds:
- Inhaling over a hot water bath enriched with salt, chamomile or essential oils of thyme or eucalyptus helps to liquefy the mucus of a blocked nose and sinusitis.
- For sore throats, gargling with salt water or (cooled) tea with chilli powder (see above) helps.
- As long as you don’t have a fever, a fairly warm to hot shower is also good for sweating out germs.
- Always have a (sea salt) nasal spray ready in case the cold starts in the evening and the night becomes hell because of a blocked nose. Then it also helps to sleep on a raised pillow so that the mucus can drain better.
- Rest, drink plenty of fluids and sleep.
I hope that you find the tips for natural remedies for colds useful and that you are well prepared for the next cold! What are your best remedies for colds? Feel free to tell me in the comments.
All the best,