The Best Natural Cold Remedies

I’m an extremely impatient person. So for most of my life, when it came to the common cold, the first thing I did was down Theraflu until my symptoms disappeared. This probably won’t surprise anyone, but these days, I try to avoid taking any sort of medication or over the counter drug unless I really, really need it. Many medicines tend to to be filled with sugar and other additives that I try to avoid in my day to day life, so I don’t think it makes much sense to start consuming those things when I’m sick. But I’m still very opposed to feeling like crap for an extended period of time. Besides the old standbys like taking Vitamin C and drinking water nonstop (seriously, nonstop, just keep flushing your system), these are my favorite natural remedies for fighting the common cold:

1. Ginger

I love ginger. But it’s even better when you have a small stomachache, nausea or any sort of cold symptoms. It works wonders, even though you need a lot of it. When I feel a cold coming on, a great way to go is by drinking the Juice Press‘ Ginger Fireball juice.

Filled with goodies like cayenne extract, oil of oregano and ginger (obviously) – it is so potent that they advise you to only drink one a day. If you don’t have a Juice Press nearby, you can also sneak some ginger into your green smoothies or just chop up some ginger and add a tiny bit of honey to hot water for ginger tea.

Lemon Ginger Tea with Raw Honey

I like to use essential oils for this, but regular old lemon juice and a knob of ginger would work just fine. Both ginger and lemon are great for soothing sore throats and all three have great antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties…plus, it tastes great. Just make sure to add the honey (and essential oils) AFTER you heat the water so that you don’t kill all the good stuff. Check out our post about the benefits of raw honey.

2. Fired Up Fennel by DAVIDsTEA

I have my best friend to thank for this gem. I was in a panic when I couldn’t stop sneezing and she recommended that I try this tea. It definitely has a unique taste (especially if you are not a fan of fennel) and pretty spicy (there are red peppers in it!), but drinking a couple cups of this really does the trick for me.

3. Raw garlic

Chop up a raw garlic clove and eat it as quickly as possible. I know this sounds horrifying – it is extremely unpalatable. There are a few moments where you literally feel your entire mouth and throat burning, but it will pass. Think of it this way: do you want to endure a few seconds of discomfort now or a whole week of the sniffles? This trick only works for me when it is raw and no, you can’t just quickly swallow a clove to avoid the taste. You need to chew it to release allicin, a very potent antibacterial that is only present shortly after garlic cloves are chopped.

4. Echinacea

According to the NIH, several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. It’s effectiveness against the flu and common colds is debated, but some studies suggest that those who take echinacea at the onset of illness felt better sooner. You can find echinacea in pill or extract form for both children and adults, but it’s important to note that it is not intended for long term use and should not be used for longer than 10 days.

5. Sleep

According to Piedmont Healthcare, it’s critical to get plenty of rest during cold and flu season. Sleep aids your immune system’s ability to fight off harmful viruses and bacteria. I know I’m not getting any kudos for originality here. This is not news to anybody (or I hope it isn’t). It is NOT okay to force your body to survive on 5 hours of sleep a night for no reason. No, you don’t need to watch another episode of Homeland. Turn off your lights, put the damn laptop away and get some sleep. Trouble sleeping? I personally love a quick sniff of Tata Harper’s Aromatic Bedtime Treatment when I’m feeling a little wired before bedtime. It’s filled with lovely notes like sweet oranges, mandarin and lavender to help you relax.

I did all of the above last week when I had a cold scare and was completely recovered in 2 days. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself.