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Home Remedies that Work for the Cold and Flu

By Editorial Staff

remedies for cold and fluby Info Guru Angela K. Van Winkle

It’s coming. Cold and flu season, that dreaded time of year when you try to avoid anyone with a sniffle or the faintest hint of a cough.

You sanitize your hands when you touch any public surface. You give coworkers a wide berth. You stop just short of wearing a HEPA mask when leaving the house (though, admittedly, you did consider it . . . strongly). When it seems like all the germs are out to get you, it is time to arm yourself with some handy little home remedies to keep the crud at bay, or at least make it a little more bearable.

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10. Echinacea


This flowering plant is found throughout North America and has been used medicinally for centuries. Echinacea is known as a powerful immune booster, and is commonly taken as a tea or in capsules as a supplement.

9. Salt Water Gargle

Salt Water Gargle

Known to relieve a sore throat, this method may also kill cold and flu germs lurking in the back of your throat. Gargling at least twice a day, first thing in the morning and right before bed, is supposed to be the most effective regimen to keep the bad bugs at bay.

8. Drink More Water

Drink More Water

A hydrated body is a healthy body, and a healthy body is more able to fight off the dreaded flu or cold. You can also add a slice of lemon for that extra kick of Vitamin C while you’re at it.

7. Vitamin C

Vitamin C

You hear it all the time. Got a cold? Take more C! Got the flu? Take more C! Vitamin C is a vital nutrient and antioxidant. When cold and flu season hits, taking C supplements and increasing your intake of C-rich raw fruits and vegetables certainly can’t hurt.

6. Ginger


This spicy, lemony root is touted to help soothe everything from fever to cough to stuffy noses. Boil fresh ginger root and add honey and lemon to bully your symptoms into submission.

5. Neti Pot

Neti Pot

The Neti Pot has seen an increase in popularity in the US in recent years, and it’s no wonder. Nasal irrigation is a method which not only clears the nasal passages of lurking germs, but also cleans out the excess mucous of overactive sinuses. For those times when all you want is to stick a hose up your nose and blast the gunk out.

4. Horehound


Known by herbalists to be a natural cough suppressant and expectorant, horehound has been used since ancient Egypt to battle upper respiratory infections. If you’re hacking and coughing, and your lungs feel like you’re breathing under water, take some horehound tea or throat lozenges to find relief.

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Now here’s a remedy that will really open up your sinuses. Capsaicin, the active property in cayenne pepper, thins mucous and opens nasal cavities for easier breathing. Pinch a little into hot tea (add it to your already spicy ginger tea, if you’re daring), sprinkle it on your food, take it however you can manage, because cayenne is not for the feint of heart—this stuff is hot!

2. Homemade Chicken Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup

Mothers the world over are nodding their heads with this recommendation, and there does in fact appear to be some science behind this old cold and flu remedy. Chicken soup has it all–heat and steam to clear nasal passages, vitamins and antioxidants from all the vegetables stewing in the broth, protein from the chicken to help strengthen your body, and liquid to keep you hydrated.

1. Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy

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There are many recipes for the classic hot toddy, but most agree that you must at least include honey, lemon, and a healthy dose of whiskey or bourbon. The honey and lemon will soothe a sore throat, and the liquor will warm you from the inside out. Because, let’s face it, if you have to be sick as a dog, you should at least enjoy taking your medicine.


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