Vapor rub – Vapor rubs are topical ointments made from essential oils. They help reduce symptoms of the common cold, especially in children. To use, apply it before bed to ease congestion and coughing and induce sleep. Here is a recipe for a healing vapor rub.
Herbal tea – The steam from a hot cup of tea helps open air passages to relieve congestion, while plant compounds and nutrients in the herbs help immune cells fight the infection. The best herbal teas for the common cold include lemon tea, green tea and elderberry tea.
Herbal extracts – Herbal extracts in the form of supplements strengthen the immune system so that the body can recover from the cold faster. Herbs like echinacea, eucalyptus and lemon balm are known for their powerful immune-boosting properties and protective effects against infections.
Hot baths – Steam from a hot bath will reduce congestion and relieve headaches. For a more soothing effect, add a few drops of essential oil to the water and take deep breaths.
Honey, lemon and ginger cough syrup – Honey, lemon and ginger are already cold remedies by themselves. Honey’s antioxidant properties help soothe an irritated throat. Lemon’s high amounts of vitamin C boost immunity and ginger’s potent compounds reduce coughs. Therefore, taking all three combined in the form of a cough syrup can greatly reduce the severity and duration of a cold.
Fire cider – Fire cider is a folk remedy made by infusing pungent and fiery vegetables, such as ginger, onion, garlic, horseradish and hot peppers, in vinegar. Drinking this mixture is thought to relieve sinus congestion, alleviate fevers and increase blood circulation.
Immune-boosting smoothies – Homemade smoothies made with fresh fruits and vegetables help ward off the common cold. To make an immune-boosting smoothie, just combine superfoods that are rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, such as citrus fruits, kale, apples and bananas.
Herbal cough syrup – Coughs help clear irritants and infections from the body. But if coughing affects sleep or exacerbates a sore throat, it’s best to take a cough syrup made by mixing potent herbs.
Zinc lozenges – Zinc is an essential mineral for immune health that’s known for its protective effects against the common cold and other viral infections. Health stores usually carry zinc lozenges and tablets.
Chicken soup – Eating hot chicken soup reduces mucus buildup, thus relieving a stuffy nose. It also keeps you hydrated and reduces the severity of fever and body aches. For a more nutritious soup, add vegetables like carrots, ginger, beans and garlic.
Elderberry extract – Elderberry is an herb that has a long history of use as a remedy for colds, sinus infections and the flu, primarily because of its antiviral properties. Many health stores carry elderberry extract in the form of capsules, syrups and concentrated juices.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C plays an important role in protecting the body from infections and reducing their severity should they take hold. For a stronger immune system, take vitamin C supplements and regularly eat citrus fruits as part of a balanced diet.