Homemade Cold Remedies to Soothe Your Family

Nothing cures the common cold, so the best you can do is relieve the cough, sore throat and stuffy nose that come with it. But you don’t need to buy over-the-counter products — and shouldn’t in the case of children, who may have serious, even life-threatening reactions. The jury is still out on zinc and Vitamin C, but many of the homemade cold remedies your grandmother used to push really do help relieve cold symptoms. Here are a few to try the next time you get stuffed up:

Hot Drinks

A nice cup of tea is more than just soothing when you’ve got a nasty cold. It can provide immediate and lasting relief from all of the major cold symptoms — runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills and fatigue — according to a 2008 study from Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre.


Drinking fluids won’t flush the cold virus out of your system, but it will help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic. Water, juice, clear broth, and warm lemon water with honey are good options.


Research has shown that honey has properties that fight bacteria, but it works wonders on viral cough symptoms, too. A 2007 study by Pennsylvania State University’s department of pediatrics found that children with coughs due to colds experienced less coughing and better sleep when they ate small amounts of honey before bedtime. (Note: Honey is not safe for children under 2.)

Salt Water

Gargling three times a day with warm salt water can temporarily reduce sore-throat pain, according to a study in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. (It also cuts your chance of getting a bacterial infection by 40%.) Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water.

Spicy Food and Antacids

Dishes that contain hot peppers or horseradish may help clear sinuses, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. And if they should happen to give you indigestion, a teaspoon of liquid antacid can do double-duty as another of our homemade cold remedies. In addition to soothing your heartburn, it can help soothe sore throats due to post-nasal drip by coating the throat and neutralizing the acids in mucous.

Chicken Soup

Yup, it works … and science has discovered why. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that stop the movement of white blood cells called neutrophils. Neutrophilic activity causes the release of mucous, according to research by University of Nebraska Medical Center. So it’s no wives’ tale that Grandma’s favorite recipe really does soothe sore throats and other cold-related ailments — at least as well as anything from the store would.

About the Author

Gail Belsky is an editorial consultant and writer, and an adjunct professor of journalism. A 12-year veteran of women’s publications, she was a senior editor at Parents magazine and an executive editor at both Working Mother magazine and Time Inc.’s custom publishing division, where she created and edited two women’s service magazines for Target stores. Belsky worked on the launch of Time Inc.’s All You magazine and was an editorial consultant at Meredith Corp., where she created four custom publications for American Baby magazine. Most recently, she wrote a book for women, entitled The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life (Seal Press 2008).


3 Responses to “Homemade Cold Remedies to Soothe Your Family”

  1. dejack says:

    Terjemahkan dari: Melayu
    nice share. I just know that salt water is useful for that. My first fan of chili and chili, and each I had a fever chili sauce enough for me reduce fever.but after I got infected typhoid few years ago I now reduce the chili. I’ve got a fever and eating spaghetti with a spicy sauce, but Imy typhoid infection returned.

    • Anu says:

      Bloody + runny nose congestion, head/earache, aonpppuble ears, sore throat, chapped lips. Natural remedies?I’ve been like this since Saturday. Have been drinking a lot of water and had some Tylenol cold pills, but still feel terrible. Probably just a little cold, but I’d appreciate being able to breathe for the time being.A cure for getting my ears back to normal would be most awesome. Every time I swallow or breathe in too fast, they hurt and make little poppy noises. Really? I thought the flu always came with a fever.Oh, and der: Thank you for all the other tips xD I’m trying the hot water and lemon thing right now.

  2. Alla says:

    Hot honey and lemon drink is really stnohiog for a sore throat Also, eat plenty of green vegetables iron is good for keeping energy levels up in the body.Fresh fruits are great for the vitamins and anti-oxidants your body will be craving if you are feeling a bit run down.A vitamin B supplement could help aswell that will help your body to release all the energy from your food so you get the most of it all Now, just get plenty of rest and avoid alchohol!Get well soon!

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