Homemade Cough and Cold Remedies

Cough and cold season typically begins when autumn arrives. Being an eager beaver, my nose decided to get all stuffy and my throat a wee bit sore this past week. However, since doing GAPS this past winter, my immune system has been much stronger, and this is the first time I’ve been sick since then. Thankfully, it passed within a couple of days, and it was not nearly as bad as it has been in the past. It did not totally knock me off my feet and stretch on for more than a week like so many colds do. (I credit GAPS for this, to be honest). I did use a couple of all-natural home remedies to help, which I feel were also part of why it wasn’t as bad.

First, I want to explain why I prefer to stay away from taking drugs when dealing with the common cold or flu. I find that the pharmaceuticals that people use (that I used to use before having kids) only prolong the illness. They don’t treat the problem, they only mask it, which suppresses the body’s natural fighting mechanisms. A runny nose, for example, is the body’s way of getting rid of germs via the mucous that is dripping out. A fever is the body’s natural mechanism for killing off germs by raising your body’s core temperature (of course there are dangerous fever levels, but those are rare, and most low-grade fevers should not be drugged, in my opinion). The fatigue and achiness is generally your body’s way of getting you to slow down and rest so that it can do its job. I won’t even bother going into the junk ingredients found in most OTC’s (over-the-counter’s). Gobs of nasty sugars, colourings, and weird preservatives. I typically avoid those things in my food, so why would I be ok with swallowing them in drugs?

So, you may be wondering what DO I do when faced with a cold or flu. Well, here are a few ideas for you…

1. Tomato Tea

This is a recipe that I have not yet tried, but only because I’ve not had opportunity (which is a good thing!). I have used a similar concoction involving apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper to treat strep throat (yes, it was actually diagnosed as strep throat, and I cured it without antibiotics using that remedy when I was pregnant with Aliza). The cough and cold syrup recipe (that I will post tomorrow) is good for soothing and has mild healing properties, but this remedy is what I’m going to try first next time I’m sick.

2. Vitamin D and CLO

Whenever I feel sickness coming on, I up my dosage of vitamin D, and make sure I’m taking my cod liver oil regularly. I will take up to 12,000 IU’s a day when I’m fighting illness. This seems to do the trick nicely. The vitamin A in the CLO helps your body to absorb the Vitamin D better.

3. Colloidal Silver and Elderberry

Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic that has many claims and cautions. The official health agencies often negate it and criticize it, but then again, they’ve also villainized butter (part of the reason for why I don’t take health advice from the government!). All I have is anecdotal and personal evidence – it has cured many a sore throat for me, and several kinds of infections for friends (ear infections, throat infections, etc). You can even use it topically. Because it functions like an antibiotic, use it as infrequently as possible. It can kill the good bacteria as well as the bad guys.

Elderberry is another natural herbal immune booster, and it is one of the most popular ones. You can find it in any health food store, and even some mainstream drugstores. I haven’t personally confirmed it works because it’s more of a supplement to the other remedies, so it’s hard to tell.

4. Salt Water Gargle

The tried, tested, and true remedy if there ever was one. Salt has been used for its healing properties since the beginning of time. Put a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small half of a glass of water. Stir well. Gargle, spit, repeat. Do this as often as you think of it, for as long as you have a sore throat. It works wonders.

5. Homemade Chicken Broth

Drink lots of homemade bone broth for its amazing healing properties, and when you’re not drinking broth, drink water or herbal tea. Broth is best, but lots of liquids of any kind will help to dilute the mucous in your head. Keep a box of tissues and a restroom handy – you’ll have to pee lots and blow your nose, but it really will help your body fight the germs off faster.

6. Go to Bed Early

This is pretty self-explanatory, but hard to do! It’s so important to get extra rest to allow your body to devote its energies to fighting off germs. I often go to bed by 8:30 or 9:00 if I’m under the weather.

7. Onions by Your Bed

Onion fumes are a natural decongestant, so chop up an onion, put it in a bowl, and place it as close to your head as possible while you sleep. Safe for babies, too!

8. Steam

Steam is another one that’s safe for all ages. I find it to be one of the most effective things I can do when congested. It know it sounds gross, but I like to blow my nose out into my hand while in the shower – I find doing it while in the steam gets my nose as clear as possible, and I can breathe again!

9. Avoid Sugar

Consumption of sugar decreases the immune system, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. Beware of hidden sugars in so many processed foods (peanut butter, ketchup, deli meats, other condiments and so many more).

The next time you get sick and want to avoid the pharmaceuticals and their myriad of complications, try one (or several!) of these remedies. You may be surprised at how well they work! Tomorrow I will post a recipe for homemade cough and cold syrup using honey and onions. What other natural home remedies do you use for the flu and the common cold?

{Linked up with SortaCrunchy’s Your Green Resource}

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and this post should not be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research. Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.

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  1. Sabrina says

    I too have had problems with antibiotics. I would get so very very ill with asthma, bronchitis, double bronchitis, pneumonia, double that too, etc, that I would end up with antibiotic shots. The painful kind, cause I’m allergic to everything else.
    Because I can’t take basically anything, I try to do everything I can to get better.
    I use a Vicks vaporizer with Vicks Vapsteam solution in it in my room.
    I make a Tea that my Dr gave me the Rx for Black tea, Lemon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove & Honey. Use Boiling Water. If you need just the basic tea, the Black tea, Lemon & Honey is what makes natural Sudafed. But add the rest and it works better. Another Tea that I have had luck with loosening my breathing is Earl Grey & Mint, Boiling water & leave the bags in. Sweeten with Honey if you need it. I’ve found Double Bergamot Earl Grey works even better.
    I take L-lysine, Zinc & B-12 along with Vit. C & D & whatever is in the MultVit. & Cal-Mag-Zinc. The important one I take is Vit. A for 10 DAYS. That is the only length of time you should take extra Vit. A, and you should only do it if you are ILL.
    I wouldn’t have posted, but I have been in your child’s shoes. They are not comfortable. Good Luck

  2. MDT says

    Thank you so much!! I’ve been sick for about a week with a nasty bug, Every doctor told me to take cough meds… but I’m pregnant and I don’t feel like it would be safe. These are some great idea’s to get better faster. Thank you so much!!! 

  3. says

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  4. says

    Having coughs can surely be such a nuisance, especially when it is coupled with colds and even high fever. Common during the cold seasons, coughs are experienced at least three times a year. In kids, coughs can also bring about ear infection as their fragile lungs are unable to flush out mucus and therefore leads to excessive phlegm. But one need not suffer – there is a lot of home remedy for cough that one can easily make.

  5. says

    These are such great remedies, thanks for sharing! I’m planning to start a regiment of elderberry with our family (and get back to taking CLO regularly) but I’m going to keep this handy for other ideas when we’re under the weather.

  6. Stephanie says

    How did you know I was sick…ha. I guess I’ll have to try some of these remedies! Some I’ve heard of, others are new. Can’t wait for the cough syrup!

  7. says

    I like and use all of your remedies…except that I have never heard of the Tomato Tea one, interesting! We started using the collodial silver last year and found that it really worked well, like you, I don’t think it is a good idea to take all the time as some people do. Last year, Sadie and I both got some of Lacey’s homemade Elderberry Wellness syrup which I really only gave to the girls and it seemed to at least sooth. http://www.neohippiemama.com/2011/09/elderberry-wellness-syrup-and-tuna-chowder/. I am trying to discover if elderberries grow here and then maybe I can make my own!
    Looking forward to seeing your cold and cough syrup recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      I’m going to keep my out for more elderberry stuff. The tablets I have are sweetened with stevia. I would prefer just a tea from dried elderberries, I think.

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