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Natural remedies for the cold and flu

Natural Cold Remedies

The season is upon us. I’m not talking about the holiday season. I’m talking about the cold and flu season. It’s the time of year when you feel surrounded by coughs and sneezes. If only you could live in a bubble for the next few months, but you cannot. You are vigilant about washing your hands and wiping down surfaces, but you’re bound to catch a sniffle. Your body begins to react to ward off that virus. That runny nose, cough, and fever are actually how your body fights viruses. Though these symptoms can be very annoying, supporting what your body is already doing can actually decrease the amount of time you are sick! Below are some natural remedies that can help support the actions your body is already taking.* Always be sure to consult your doctor for prolonged or severe symptoms.


When you cut an onion, you begin to cry — not out of sadness but because the potent onion causes your eyes to water and sinuses to drain. This helps break up the mucus your body is trying to excrete. Warn your loved ones before filling your room with that onion aroma!

Slice an onion (preferably yellow or white) and place it in a dish on your nightstand while you sleep to help with the congestion of a cold. Include onions in your cooking, too, because the phytochemicals found in onions may help fight off infections.

Apple cider vinegar and honey

Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. The thought of it makes my taste buds cringe, but I have braved it, and the honey helps!

Combine with honey to create a viscous gargle for sore throats.

Warm/cold compresses 

Placing warm compresses on your sinuses helps increase blood flow to that area, assisting your body to rid it of congestion. Alternating with cold packs can ease the pain of sinus pressure. This is how I spent most of Christmas day. My family found it amusing, especially since I had tissues in my nose to catch the drainage.

Warm a wet cloth in the microwave (always test the temperature before placing it on your skin). Place the warm damp cloth over your sinuses and alternate several times with the cold packs.

Steamy shower 

The warm steam helps to loosen and drain your sinuses. Eating a warm soup or having some hot tea can have similar effects! This is the perfect reason to spend an extra few minutes in the shower or heat up some of grandma’s homemade chicken noodle soup!

Black or green tea 

These contain a phytochemical known as catechin, which can work as a natural antibiotic and anti-diarrheal.

Rest and stay hydrated and warm 

Fighting off a virus takes a lot of energy. Help your body by not expending energy on other things. Grab some liquids, tissues, and a cozy blanket and turn on that TV series you’ve been meaning to catch up on!

*Always be sure to consult your doctor for prolonged or severe symptoms.



Blahd MD, W. (Ed.). (2015, July 6). 12 Natural Tips for Colds and Flu. Retrieved December 22, 2015, from

Feder MD, Lauren. (2006). Natural Baby and Childcare (pp. 154-155). Long Island City, New York: Hatherleigh Press.