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Natural remedy for sickness: Nine Of The Best Natural Cold And Flu Remedies

Nine Of The Best Natural Cold And Flu Remedies

Do natural cold and flu remedies really work? Barbara Austin, RN, MN, a nurse and complex case manager at Piedmont Sixty Plus, separates fact from fiction.

The best natural cold and flu remedies

1. Hydration

Austin’s number one recommendation for recovering quickly from a cold or flu virus is staying hydrated.

“When you’re hydrated, your body has a natural ability to flush germs out of your system,” she says.

She recommends 64 ounces of fluid a day, but talk to your doctor about your specific needs. Some people, such as those with congestive heart failure, should drink less water.

2. Vitamin C

While vitamin C hasn’t been proven to prevent cold symptoms, some studies have indicated it can shorten the lifespan of a cold. Plus, it boosts your overall health, including your immune system.

Austin recommends getting the vitamin through your diet. The fresher the food, the better. Think oranges, rather than orange juice or supplements. Overdoing it on vitamin C supplements (not dietary vitamin C) can lead to upset stomach and kidney stones.

3. Sleep

“It’s so important to get plenty of rest during cold and flu season,” says Austin.

Sleep helps your immune system function at its best to ward off nasty viruses and bacteria.

4. Honey and tea

“I’m a honey fanatic,” she says. “It has natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties.”

Add the natural sweetener (opt for a local variety when possible) to a cup of ginger or cinnamon tea to relieve a scratchy throat and stay hydrated.

5. Chicken soup

Sometimes mom really does know best! Hot liquids, such as soup, help reduce mucus buildup and keep you hydrated. A study from the University of Nebraska Medical Center found chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce a cold’s unpleasant side effects.  

6. Aromatherapy

Break up mucus by rubbing a bit of camphor or menthol salve around – not in! – your nose. You can also reduce congestion by breathing in aromatherapy oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus.

7. A steamy shower

A steamy shower or sauna is a great decongestant, says Austin. One caveat: If you are dizzy or weak from the flu, sit in a chair in your bathroom while you run a hot shower.

8. Gargling warm salt water

Dissolve 1/2 a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then gargle to relieve a sore throat.

9. Sleep with an extra pillow

To help your sinuses drain, sleep with an extra pillow under your head.

Natural cold remedies to use with caution

Nasal irrigation

“Nasal irrigation can be helpful in irrigating and hydrating nasal passages so they aren’t dry and cracked, which can break the skin’s protective barrier against viruses and bacteria,” she says. “However, it’s important to do it safely. Talk to your doctor before starting nasal irrigation therapy.”

Never use tap water for nasal irrigation. The use of contaminated tap water for sinus rinsing has been linked to a rare, but potentially deadly brain infection. Use boiled and cooled tap water, sterile or distilled water, or saline solution instead.

Herbal supplements and vitamins

Some people swear by echinacea or zinc supplements, but research on their benefits is inconclusive.

“If you’re considering any alternative medicine, talk to your healthcare provider,” says Austin. “Vitamins and supplements are not FDA-approved and there often isn’t good research on their effectiveness. For a lot of people, it’s trial and error to find what works best.”

Flu shots are available at Piedmont’s urgent care locations, primary care offices and Piedmont QuickCare at Walgreens locations.   

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

15 Cold and Flu Home Remedies

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There is no cure for a cold or the flu, but a bowl of chicken soup or a cup of hot ginger tea with honey can help manage the symptoms. Some home remedies — such as vitamin C — may slightly reduce the length of time you are sick.

Body aches, fever, chills, and nasal congestion can make you feel miserable.

While home remedies can’t cure a cold or the flu, they can help relieve symptoms — such as body aches, fever, chills, nasal congestion — during your recovery.

But, if symptoms don’t improve or you have trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, faintness, or any severe symptoms, it’s best to seek medical help.

Here, find out what cold and flu remedies you can try at home.

There is no scientific proof that chicken soup can cure a cold or flu or speed up recovery, but its ingredients contain nutrients that support your immune system. It’s also a comforting food that provides hydration and may help you feel better overall.

There is also some evidence that the nutrients in chicken soup may slow the movement of neutrophils in your body.

Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that help protect your body from infection. When they’re moving slowly, they stay more concentrated in the areas of your body that most need them. This may contribute to healing.

Try this recipe for chicken soup. You’ll need chicken, carrots, celery, and an onion. Alternatively, consider bone broth, which may also have health benefits.

If you’re using canned soup, opt for low-sodium soup varieties.

Ginger has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Uses include reducing muscle pain and managing nausea.

Make tea by simmering a few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water.

As well as providing hydration, it may soothe muscle pain, ease a sore throat, and reduce nausea, if present.

Is ginger water good for you?

Honey has a variety of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Drinking honey in tea with lemon can ease sore throat pain. Research suggests it may also act as a cough suppressant.

You should never give honey to a child younger than 12 months, as it may contain botulinum spores. While they’re usually harmless to older children and adults, infants’ immune systems aren’t able to fight them off.

Should I try raw honey?

Garlic contains the compound allicin, which has antimicrobial and possibly antiviral properties.

Adding garlic to your diet might reduce the severity of cold symptoms. According to some research, it might even help you avoid getting sick in the first place.

More research is needed into the potential cold-fighting benefits of garlic, but adding more garlic to your diet probably won’t hurt.

Can you eat raw garlic?

Native Americans have long used the herb and root of the echinacea plant for medicinal purposes.

Its active ingredients include flavonoids, chemicals that have many therapeutic effects on the body. For example, flavonoids can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Evidence indicates echinacea may help prevent a cold but is unlikely to shorten it. One 2020 study suggests that taking echinacea may help treat common cold symptoms in children.

Learn more about how ecinachea can help fight a cold

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays many important roles in your body, including supporting the immune system.

Good dietary sources of vitamin C include:

  • citrus fruits
  • red peppers
  • green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli

Adding fresh lemon juice to hot tea with honey may reduce phlegm when you’re sick. Drinking hot or cold lemonade may also help.

Vitamin C in the diet or as supplements is unlikely to prevent a cold, but some evidence suggests it may improve symptoms and it may slightly shorten the time a cold lasts.

Can vitamin C prevent or cure a cold?

Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria and yeast that are present in your body, some foods, and supplements.

They can help keep your gut and immune system healthy and may reduce your chance of getting sick with an upper respiratory infection as well as how long the infection lasts. However, more studies are needed.

Probiotic yogurt may benefit your immune system as well as providing protein and calcium. Look for products that list live bacteria on the label.

Gargling with salt water may help preventupper respiratory infections. It may also decrease the severity of cold symptoms, for instance, by easing sore throat pain and nasal congestion.

A saltwater gargle can reduce and loosen mucus, which contains bacteria and allergens.

To try this remedy at home:

  • Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a full glass of water.
  • Swish it around your mouth and throat.
  • Spit it out.

What other uses are there for a saltwater gargle?

Using a saline spray or a neti pot may help relieve nasal congestion with a cold and it might help with some symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection.

However, be sure to use only distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water water and to wash a neti pot thoroughly between uses. Not doing so could introduce microbes that could lead to potentially serious infections.

Get some tips on using a neti pot safely

Ointments containing camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol, such as VapoRub, may reduce a nighttime cough.

One or two dabs before bed can help open air passages and help improve:

  • congestion
  • sleep
  • coughing

Use it up to 3 times in every 24 hours. VapoRub is not suitable for children under 2 years.

Learn about the many possible uses of VapoRub here

Some essential oils can help manage the symptoms of a cold, flu, and other respiratory conditions. This is due to their microbial, pain-relieving, or anti-inflammatory properties.

Examples include:

  • eucalyptus
  • peppermint (menthol)
  • Frankincense
  • thyme
  • tea tree

Use a diffuser or add a few drops of essential oil to a warm bath.

How can essential oils help when you have the flu?

While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

Increased humidity may help reduce dryness and inflammation in the nose and throat.

A humidifier in your bedroom or elsewhere in your home may help you feel more comfortable. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil might also help relieve congestion.

For the same effect without a humidifier, take a long shower or linger in a steamy bathroom.

Remember, the water used in humidifiers needs to be changed daily to stop mold and other fungi from growing.

Learn more here on the types and safe use of humidifiers.

Some studies suggest that elderberry supplements may help relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and flu.

However, more research is needed.

Sometimes you can reduce a child’s fever by giving them a warm — but not hot — sponge bath. Warm baths may also help reduce cold and flu symptoms in adults.

Adding Epsom salt and baking soda to the water may reduce body aches.

Can you treat a cold with a detox bath?

Boosting your immune system probably won’t help if you already have the flu, but it can protect you from other bouts and more severe symptoms in the long term.

Tips include:

  • getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night
  • following a varied and nutritious diet
  • getting regular exercise
  • follow guidelines for flu vaccinations

Read more about habits that can help boost your immune system.

How do you cure the flu or a cold quickly?

It’s not possible to cure the flu or a cold, but rest, hydration, and home remedies — such as drinking ginger tea, using a humidifier, and diffusing essential oils — may help relieve symptoms.

What are some natural remedies for the flu or a cold?

Natural remedies that may help ease flu symptoms include honey, ginger, echinacea, elderberry, and probiotics.

Can you cure the flu in 24 hours?

There is currently no cure for the flu. It usually passes in 3–7 days with rest and home or over-the-counter remedies.

There is currently no way to cure a cold or the flu, but various dietary choices, supplements, and other home remedies may help relieve symptoms.

A small amount of evidence suggest some remedies may shorten the duration of the illness, but more research is needed.

To reduce the risk of getting a cold or flu, take steps to strengthen your immune system, such as eating healthy, sleeping well, and exercising. Having all recommended vaccinations is also an essential step.

10 folk methods of healing – Spark No. 16 (5223) dated 04/23/2012

When a person acutely feels a lack of vital energy, traditional medicine often comes to the rescue. Every nation has its own recipes

Prepared by Vladimir Tikhomirov

a kind of healing religion, it is enough to recall at least the followers of Porfiry Ivanov.

The church and official medicine support walruses in every possible way: systematic winter swimming hardens the body, increases blood circulation, relieves pain in the shoulders, joints, back, reduces depression, symptoms of asthma and insomnia.

2. Wushu (China)

Wushu is the general name for all kinds of martial and recreational arts that have existed in China since time immemorial. Chen Gongzhe, the author of the treatise “History of Chinese Wushu”, wrote: “Having mastered the systems of wushu increases the protective properties of the body, constant practice gives practical skills in achieving good health and prolongs life, and then a person does not need whole pots of medicines.” Another famous achievement of traditional Chinese medicine is acupuncture, which is now recognized as official Western science.

3. Urinotherapy (India)

In the sacred Hindu books and in the Zoroastrian “Avesta” Hindus are directly prescribed to use cow urine for the prevention and treatment of various diseases: “This is a great elixir, it is pleasant for the heart, gives strength to the mind and body, longevity. Eliminates all circulatory disorders. Balances bile, mucus and air.” Modern Indian doctors do not mind: cow urine does have antibacterial properties. And the stores even sell a soft drink based on it – the Indian answer to Coca-Cola.

4. Rope climbing (Greece)

The ancient Greeks invented not only the Olympic Games, but also the concept of therapeutic sports, the most important of which they considered not jogging or gymnastics, but rope climbing. The famous Greek physician Claudius Gehlen wrote: “If someone climbs a rope with the help of his hands, both the child and the gymnast become strong and healthy.” In Europe, the rope was remembered only in the 16th century and this exercise was included in the school curriculum.

5. Dances (Africa)

The pride of the people of the Congo is the engoz dance, which is performed to the drums of toku, loku, lungungu – this is the basis of the ritual culture of Africa. An experienced dancer on the Harvest Festival can dance for 12 hours without stopping, after which he is not afraid of any sores. In the Gambia, Africans dance the gumbe, in Burundi – amayaya, in Angola – boomu. They have one thing in common: if a sick person enters the circle of dancers, he will come back without any illness.

6. Hammam (Türkiye)

The Turkish bath, or hammam, owes its origin to the Roman terms, but the name “hammam” comes from the Arabic word “ham” – hot. The Prophet Mohammed himself declared going to the bath obligatory, saying: “The heat of the hammam increases fertility and health.” Subsequently, a special bath medicine developed in Turkey, based on the use of massage, high humidity and special aromatic oils.

7. Mate tea (America)

In 1533, for the liberation of their ruler Atahualpa, the Incas brought the Spaniards a record-breaking ransom in the whole world history in gold and silver — thus began the European familiarization with the treasures of ancient American culture. Few people remember that gold today, but another gift of the Incas – mate tea – has become a favorite drink all over the world. The drink, brewed in a special gourd, according to the conquistadors, helped restore their peace of mind. And today, mate is still recommended as a remedy for depression.

8. Okinawan Diet (Japan)

The island of Okinawa breaks all records for the number of centenarians. The secret is healthy food. The local dialect even contains a special word for healthy food – “kusuimun”, and all the islanders know that the surest way to get cured is to watch your diet. Okinawan food is low in calories, consists of local salad, vegetables and seafood, and is rich in carbohydrates. It not only helps to maintain a figure, but also protects against diseases: among Okinawans, there are practically no cores and cancer patients.

9. Vitamins (USA)

Americans created not only the fast food industry, but also the industry of quick cures for diseases. It was in the USA that the mass production of vitamins began as supplements that allow the body to return to normal in a short time. The creator of the first dietary supplements is considered to be the American chemist Karl Rehnborg, who later made a business in their production, and the regular consumption of ascorbic acid, first in the USA and then in other countries, was inspired by the discoveries of the chemist Linus Pauling, twice Nobel Prize winner.

10. Whiskey (Scotland)

The Celts who lived in what is now Scotland called whiskey “the water of life”. This life-giving drink was produced in monasteries, in limited doses, whiskey was taken orally for colds, and in order to prevent the drink was used in the treatment of infectious diseases. Later, whiskey began to be used as a disinfectant during surgical operations. Today, doctors recommend the use of whiskey in small doses in the treatment of many ailments – from bronchitis to osteoporosis.

Folk remedies for the treatment of SARS and influenza


Almost every person during the treatment of influenza or SARS at least once encountered folk remedies. There are many folk methods for treating infections caused by viruses, and they are of particular interest to those who want to recover as quickly as possible, or not get sick by talking to a carrier of the virus, or simply get sick less often during the year.

However, considering that among all folk recipes you can easily find not only really effective, but also absolutely useless or even dangerous, we recommend that you follow the rules for using folk remedies and be prudent in their choice.

In all cases, you can use folk remedies only with the permission of the doctor and subject to all his other recommendations for treatment. Effective folk remedies include alkaline-oil inhalations widely used in medicine, gargling with infusions or decoctions of medicinal herbs (chamomile, sage, coltsfoot, eucalyptus) and aromatherapy using essential oils of peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, chamomile, rosemary and lemon [2,3].

Garlic in various forms (powder, extract, etc. ) is a well-known antiviral agent. Moreover, the effect of garlic phytoncides on influenza viruses, a group of coronaviruses and adenoviruses has been proven in large scientific studies [4]. Therefore, the use of many folk remedies is justified, but we must not forget that in our time, proven natural remedies have already appeared in pharmacies, which have incorporated all the advantages of traditional medicine and all the achievements of modern pharmacology.

For example, in many cases of prevention of viral infections of the respiratory tract and the complex treatment of their complications, one remedy can replace several different folk recipes at once. At the same time, it will combine naturalness, antiviral activity and the presence of an evidence base that folk recipes do not have. One of these products is Nazaval® PLUS barrier nasal spray, created on the basis of natural ingredients (micronized vegetable cellulose and wild garlic extract). Its composition is strictly balanced according to the laws and requirements of modern medicine and pharmacology. It is intended for topical application – spraying on the nasal mucosa. The components of the spray are not absorbed into the blood and do not interfere with free breathing. The gel-like protective barrier that forms on the mucous membrane after spraying the agent prevents the penetration of viral particles into the cells of the respiratory tract. Allicin and ajoenes, well-studied phytoncides of wild garlic extract, reduce the concentration of active viruses and bacteria that can damage the respiratory mucosa, inhibiting the ability of microbes to multiply rapidly [1,5].

Thus, it is possible to use folk remedies for the treatment and prevention of acute respiratory viral infections, but it is advisable to consult with your doctor before doing this. And do not forget that the best components of folk remedies that help strengthen the body’s antiviral defenses have already been introduced into pharmacology, converted into the most accessible and safest form for the body and included in modern remedies such as Nazaval® PLUS.

There are contraindications, it is necessary to consult a specialist.

  • 1. Orlova E. S., Shabelnikova E. I. Efficacy and safety of using fine cellulose powder with garlic extract (Nasaval® PLUS) for the prevention of acute respiratory infections // Pediatric practice. – 2015. – no. 4. – S. 23-27.
  • 2. Ziborova MI Epidemiological season: forewarned is forearmed! //Practice of a pediatrician. – 2016. – no. 1. – S. 30-35.
  • 3. Sidorovich O.I. Modern approaches to the treatment and prevention of SARS and influenza in children // MS. 2014, No. 14
  • 4. Rouf R, Uddin SJ, Sarker DK, et al. Antiviral potential of garlic (Allium sativum) and its organosulfur compounds: A systematic update of pre-clinical and clinical data. Trends Food Sci Technol. 2020;104:219-234. doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2020.08.006 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7434784/
  • 5. Erofeeva M.K., Maksakova V.L., Nikonorov I.Yu., Pozdnyakova M.G. Nasaval® PLUS is a local remedy for influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections.