Which Home Remedies for Colds Are Most Effective?

January 16, 2014
by Michael Barber
Which Home Remedies for Colds Are Most Effective?

Dealing with a cold is miserable. Sometimes over-the-counter medications can make it worse. They make you drowsy or making your sinuses extremely dry. Here are the most effective remedies that can help relieve your symptoms and possibly shorten the time it takes to get over a cold.

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Drink Plenty of Fluids

This is an age-old remedy that might sound pretty overused, but sometimes the ones suggested the most often are the best. Drinking fluids helps to prevent dehydration and keeps your throat moistened, which can ease scratchy or sore throats. There are certain fluids thought that will help you more than others.

The number one best fluid is good old water. It thins out mucus and helps flush everything out so you can get better faster. The next best thing is non-caffeinated tea and warm liquids. Many teas are rich in antioxidants, which give your immune system a boost to fight off diseases. Next comes chicken broth. Chicken soup can help reduce inflammation helping you feel better. Some fluids you should avoid like juice, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages like cola and coffee.

Related: Are You Drinking Enough Water? Probably Not!

Neti Pots and Nasal Sprays

For congestion symptoms, you can help decrease the severity by using some sort of saline irrigation solution. This includes the use of an irrigation pot (such as a neti pot) or a saline nasal spray. A study published in the "Canadian Family Physician" found that nasal irrigation is an inexpensive way to relieve sinus and nasal conditions and it reduces inflammation.

Make your own nasal solution by combining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 8 oz of warm water (make sure it's distilled water or water that was previously boiled). Then use a neti pot or bulb syringe to clear out your nasal passages.

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Gargling with Salt Water

According to another study, which followed 387 healthy volunteers from ages 18 to 65 for 60 days during the cold and flu season, those that gargled salt water three times a day were 40 percent less likely to have an upper respiratory tract infection. It's also been found to help reduce the painfulness of sore throats when you're already sick. To make a salt water gargle, just add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to 8 oz. of warm water. Gargle for a few seconds and then spit out. Repeat this until the cup is empty.


A study published in JAMA Pediatrics demonstrated that honey is actually a better cough suppressant than honey-flavored dextromethorphan. Monitoring 105 children from the ages of 2 to 18 that had upper respiratory tract infections, honey consistently scored the best and helped improve sleep quality of the children by settling their cough. Looking for a warm drink? One of the best hot beverages to drink when you're sick is hot water, honey, and fresh squeezed lemons. It eases sore throat pain while tasting delicious.

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Many of these home remedies are made with ingredients you already have around the house, making them great options. Get over your cold quicker with these remedies.