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Natural Relief: The Best Home Remedies for a Cold

tea next to person in bed

In December I cam down with my usual end of the year cold. I almost never get sick, but if I do it's always bound to come around the holidays. Then, after the return from a recent trip to France I found myself with down with a head cold. Between Cooper and I we've had four sicknesses in our family in the last three months and we've got our coping strategies well rehearsed by this point.

Although many variations of the common cold exist, they all leave a person feeling miserable. The sniffles, sneezes, and congestion can leave us searching for whatever relief is readily available. While over-the-counter medications can help, I usually prefer to turn to natural remedies for comfort and support. Fortunately, there are several effective home remedies that have helped us endure the unusual amount of sickness in our home recently. Let's explore some of the best options for combating the common cold from the comfort of your own home.

Honey and Lemon: One of the oldest and most effective home remedies for a cold is a warm concoction of honey and lemon. Honey is known for its soothing properties, while lemon provides a dose of vitamin C to boost the immune system. Mix a tablespoon of honey with freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of warm water for a soothing drink that can help relieve sore throat and cough.

Ginger Tea: Ginger has long been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Ginger tea can help alleviate congestion, soothe sore throat, and reduce nausea associated with a cold. Simply steep fresh ginger slices in hot water for a few minutes, (or use a micro grater as I do to add ginger to a tea steeper) then strain and enjoy.

Garlic: Garlic is a powerhouse when it comes to fighting off colds and infections. It contains compounds like allicin, which have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Adding extra garlic to your meals or consuming it raw can help shorten the duration of a cold and alleviate symptoms. I love to add garlic to broths along with ginger and sip on them when I'm feeling the constant hunger that comes on with sickness.

Steam Inhalation: Steam inhalation is a simple yet effective way to relieve congestion and ease breathing during a cold. Boil water in a pot, then transfer the hot water to a ceramic or metal bowl. Carefully lean over the bowl and inhale the steam for several minutes while draping a towel over the back of your head and the bowl to trap the steam. You can also add a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or rosemary for added congestion relief. This is something we do every couple of hours with colds in our house because it's just that effective!

Warm Saltwater Gargle: Gargling with warm saltwater can help reduce throat inflammation and kill bacteria, providing relief from sore throat and cough. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat several times a day for best results.

Soup: Soup is amazing for a sick body. Not only is it comforting and nourishing, but soups are often packed with healing ingredients. Soups are east for the body to digest, warm and filled with ingredients like garlic, vegetables, natural sodium and carbohydrates. A home made soup is a staple in our house when one of us is sick. We'll often make a batch of dal in the instant pot or a big pot os vegetable stock broth to add to simple soups which also makes cooking easier. No one wants to prepare intricate meals when they are sick.

Rest and Hydration: Last but certainly not least, one of the most important home remedies for a cold is rest and hydration. Getting plenty of rest helps to support your body's immune function. Drinking plenty of fluids like water, herbal teas, and clear broths help the body to stay hydrated and helps thin mucus.

While there's no cure for the common cold, these home remedies can provide relief from symptoms and support your body's natural healing process. Whether you prefer sipping on ginger tea, indulging in a bowl of warm soup, or simply getting extra rest, there are plenty of natural options to help you feel better faster. So the next time you're feeling under the weather, consider trying one of these time-tested remedies for soothing relief. I know they always do wonders for me.


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