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Homemade Cold, Flu and Cough Remedies

Updated: Jul 22, 2023


Do you feel like a walking Nyquil commercial.  Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever…….  and no rest.

Avoid taking OTC (or prescription for that matter) medicine for cold because they only mask the symptoms. Many have a laundry list of side-effects and many of those medications interfere with other medications or are just plain dangerous when mixed.  Remember, there are more deaths from drug interactions than from diseases.  With OTC medications,  you may be left jittery yet sleepy and every time you try to fall asleep you jerk quickly awake, dry mouthed yet still “drippy”.

Try these recipes that we have used for many years that get us through  allergy, cold, or flu.

1.  Sleep.  My #1 recipe for getting over a cold or flu is sleep.  I must take three or four naps in a day when I am under the weather.  I find it the quickest way to let my body find its own pathways to healing.

2.  A Neti Pot and Celtic Sea Salt (nasal or sinus irrigation) to flush the nasal passages and thin mucous is a Godsend for allergies, cold and congestion.  It has been prescribed in Ayurveda for centuries  to reprogram the body’s natural mechanisms against nasal infections such as hay fever, allergies, sinusitis and other upper respiratory complaints like sore throats and coughs, post nasal, drip and inflammation of tonsils and adenoids.  To use your Neti Pot, dissolve one cup (8 oz.) of warm (NOT HOT) water with 1/4 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt.  (You can use Neti Pot Salt but I find this is an unnecessary expense.  DO NOT USE TABLE SALT.)  Tilt head to the side over sink.  Place the Neti Pot in the top nostril and slowly pour water into nostril.  The water will flow out of the opposite nostril.  This may take awhile in the case of nasal congestion but it will happen with a little patience.  Repeat on the other side.

3.  Lemon, squeezed into hot water with honey (or a little hot whiskey if you are particularly fluish), is a great way to boost your Vitamin C levels which help keep the body hydrated and boosts immunity.

4.  Many natural nasal sprays work very well such as Grapefruit seed extract Nasal Spray by Nutribiotics


Many people swear by the Nutribiotics Grapefruit seed extract nasal spray. Use as recommended by the maker. Olive leaf , Colloidal Silver nasal spray also works well.

5.  Homemade cough and cold syrup allows the body to relax the mucous membranes and relax, getting the rest it needs.  It soothes sore throats, alkalizes the body (which means cold and flu viruses cannot thrive and die sooner), and relieves pain that always comes with a particularly nasty cold or flu.

To make your own homemade cough and cold syrup combine the following ingredients, mix well, and drink, as needed.

Makes 1 serving.

1 tsp. fresh grated  ginger.

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered and organic such as Bragg’s if possible)

1-2 tbsp. raw honey (local if possible) (Use 1 tbsp. for thinner concoction)

1 clove garlic, grated

1 tbsp. water (optional)  I do not use water because I prefer to coat my throat with the honey.  For children it might be wise to use the water to cut the sweetness and dilute the mixture.

6.  Homemade Chicken soup has really earned it’s nickname “Penicillin” with the anti-bacterial and anti-viral heavy hitters of onion and garlic married to the supercharged immunity boosting powers of bone broth used in most homemade chicken soup recipes.  Add to that the hydrating effects of the liquid and the “steam”  helping to loosen nasal and chest congestion and you have the ultimate comfort food for when you are down for the count. Not the can kind but made from scratch with bone in chicken. That is part of the secret healing powers of the soup.

7.  Enzymes from fresh vegetable juices can heal you from the inside out by nourishing your digestive tract encouraging the friendly bacteria to thrive boosting immunity. Vegetable juice also helps restore the alkaline/acid balance  which makes it harder for cold and flu viruses to survive.

8. Many essential oils that contain antimicrobial properties, make a powerful weapon against bacterial, viral or fungal infections.

Peppermint or eucalyptus oil in a humidifier really helped to open up my nasal passageways. If your nose is stuffy, try to dilute 1 drop of Eucalyptus Oil in 1 tbsp of carrier oil and rub it on the bridge of your nose (don’t let it touch your eyes though). Alternatively you can use Frankincense essential oil which is a great anti-inflammatory. Oregano oil is rightfully referred to as “nature’s antibiotic“. You only need a few drops of high quality organic Oregano Oil a day to give your immune system a good boost.

quiet a cough

Many, many Herbs can help with the symptoms of cold and flu. Many people use echinacea which is a great immune system booster. Taken at the first sign of symptoms, echinacea can reduce a cold’s intensity and duration, often even preventing it from becoming a full fledged infection.

A few other notables besides echinacea:

1.  A great herb for fever and aches is Feverfew.  Feverfew is a natural anti-inflammatory for sinuses. If you don’t take any other medication, you can try 500 mg Feverfew capsules with white willow bark , 2-3 times a day. White willow bark is also a natural anti-inflammatory.

2.Sambucol – This common natural remedy is an excellent defender against our arched enemy – The flu virus . And it’s safe for children too. Sambucol is made of elderberry and makes a powerful remedy for the cold and flu.

3.Goldenseal helps clear mucus from the throat. It also contains the natural antibiotic berberine, which can help prevent bacterial infections that often follow colds.

4.Fenugreek seeds act as a mucus “solvent,” having the ability to soften and dissolve hardened masses of accumulated mucus. The change in consistency allows fenugreek to help the body expel mucus and phlegm from the bronchial tubes more easily.

5. Licorice root tea for sore throats/cough.

6. Andrographis reduces the cold symptoms such as fatigue, sore throat, sore muscles, runny nose, headache, and lymph node swelling.

Use inhalations of chamomile, eucalyptus or thyme to help loosen mucus and heals the throat, nasal passages and bronchial tubes. Horsetail inhalations reduce swelling of mucous membranes Inhale steam for fifteen minutes three times daily in acute stage; when the condition is improving. Inhale steam in the evening before bed for a week or so to help heat the bronchial passages.


If you do succumb to cold and flu instead of reaching for an OTC medication with more side-effects than symptom reliever, give these home remedies a try and see if they don’t help you heal faster and make you feel better!


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