Does anyone else think there should be a word for that feeling where you wish you’d appreciated it more when you weren’t sick? Given that cold and flu season is officially upon us, it’s a feeling most of us will probably experience in the next few months (if you haven’t already!)
It’s also a feeling that leaves us frantically Googling home remedies in an attempt to feel normal again. Because let’s face it, while cold medications may temporarily relieve your symptoms, they don’t actually do much to make you better. There’s no shortage of natural cold remedies on the internet that claim to cure you of your symptoms. And I’ll admit that in a state of desperation, I’ve tried pretty much all of them. I’ve even rubbed Vicks on the bottom of my feet to try to stop coughing at night (hint: it didn’t work.)
To save you the hassle of trawling through hundreds of dodgy old wives tales, we’ve rounded up the natural remedies that are actually scientifically proven to work. From relieving that stuffy feeling to stopping your cough and reducing the length of your cold, we’ve got you sorted.
1. Nasal rinsing
One of the worst things about having a cold is that awful, stuffed-up feeling. This happens because your sinuses and nasal passages are inflamed — meaning excess mucus is unable to drain. Rinsing your nasal passages with a netipod and saline solution helps to rinse away phlegm, trapped pollens, and bacteria. This is proven to relieve congestion, swelling and headaches while leave the normal mucus to fight infection. Just make sure you use filtered water, as foreign bacteria from your taps can make things worse.
2. Hot ginger tea
If you don’t feel like putting water up your nose, sipping hot ginger tea has also been proven to clear congestion. This is because ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps to reduce swelling in the nasal passages. Breathing in the steam vapor from the tea will also help to unblock your stuffy nose. You can find the recipe for a ginger tea here.
3. Herbal supplements
Even if you don’t normally take supplements, you may want to stock up on some while you’re under the weather. Many people swear by taking the herb echinacea at the first sign of a cold and for good reason — it’s been proven to strengthen the body’s immune system by increasing your white blood cell count. It’s also known to reduce the longevity of a cold by a day and a half, on average. Another popular (and effective) option is a garlic, horseradish and C complex supplement. The garlic boosts your immune system, while vitamin C reduces your symptoms and horseradish relieves congestion.
4. Gargling salt water
When you’ve got a sore throat, it’s all too tempting to inhale a whole packet of lozenges in a day. Not only are these awful for your teeth, they also have a laxative effective when taken in bulk — which just leaves you with another problem! While gargling with warm water and salt seems like another one of those crazy old wives tales, it’s actually as effective for the temporary relief of sore throats as lozenges. This is because the salt creates a kind of fluid magnet, which helps to draw the virus out from the throat.
5. Coconut oil, honey, and lemon
If a nasty cough or a sore throat is keeping you up at night, this natural remedy will be a godsend. Honey is known to be as effective as soothing coughs and sore throats as over-the-counter cough medicines. Meanwhile, coconut oil helps to coat the throat and kill viruses and lemon boosts the immune system. Mix the three together and you’ve got one powerful, cold-fighting elixir! You can find out how to make it here.
6. Salt baths
Remember how we told you how to have your most luxurious bath ever? Well, if you’re sick, now is the time to do it. Not only will it instantly make you feek less yucky, the bath salts help to relieve muscle aches and clear mucus in the lungs and nasal passages. They also help to detoxify the body, meaning you be rid of your pesky cold quicker!