Woman blowing her nose

Have A Cold? Try These Natural Cold Remedies

Common cold treatment options

Malaise and fatigue are setting in, and that tickle in your throat just won’t go away. You’re trying to deny it, but in another day or so you won’t be able to avoid the truth any longer: you’ve got a cold. Most of us get between two and four colds a year. While it’s well-known that there isn’t anything that will outright cure your symptoms, there are cold remedies that can help you feel better faster.

Cold remedies include plenty of fluids and rest, which allows your immune system to attack the viral intruder. But what other common cold remedies might help?

Natural Cold Remedies

All cold and flu remedies—whether they’re natural or pharmaceutical—are palliative, meaning that they are intended to ease your symptoms and make you more comfortable rather than actually cure your illness. Here are some natural ways to reduce the severity of your cold symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best, but you can also drink fruit juices if you want something with more flavor. Lots of fluids will have you visiting the bathroom regularly, which will speed up the rate at which your body eliminates the rhinovirus that’s causing your cold.
  • Gargle with warm salt water. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt or baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle with it. This will temporarily relieve your sore throat.
  • Saline nasal irrigation. If you’re congested, you can get a nasal irrigator at your local pharmacy, which can be used to flush out buildups in your nasal passages. As an alternative, you can use saline nasal drops or sprays; they don’t carry the undesirable side effects of decongestants.
  • Vitamin C. The recommended daily dosage of vitamin C is 500 milligrams, but when you’re sick, increasing this to two to three times the normal dose can speed up your recovery. Take the vitamin C throughout the day to make sure your body can absorb it.
  • Zinc. Scientific studies about the effectiveness of zinc as a cold remedy are inconclusive and hotly debated among doctors and clinicians, but there is evidence to suggest that zinc compounds, when taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, can reduce the duration and the severity of your cold.

More Home Remedies for a Cold

Eating soup warms your body and can provide some relief if you’re getting the chills. Of course, you can also use over-the-counter medications to treat your congestion and sore throat, but make sure to use these products only as directed and avoid administering them to young children—they can cause serious side effects.