Home Remedies for Cough and Cold


Medically Reviewed by ,
September 20, 2023

home remedies for cough and cold

Home remedies for cough and cold: flu and cold are very common, but there is no specific treatment for them. Prescription medicines, over the counter medicines and some conventional medications may help in easing the symptoms and shortening the duration of illness. In addition to this, there are many natural remedies for short-term relief – and there are a few which can really work wonders for you. Now, just see which one would be better for you.

Hot Tea

Hot tea is far better than any other hot beverages, as far as remedies for cough and cold are concerned. Even the steam relieves nasal congestion, eases breathing soothes throat. The fluid helps in relieving throat pain, inflammation and soreness in the throat. In addition, fluid keeps electrolytes balance in check. Black and green teas have to offer plenty in terms of their disease-fighting ability – as both are rich in antioxidants that help in checkmating both cold and flu.


Zinc and power to fight cold and flu goes hand in hand. According to some research studies, zinc helps prevent some proteins from forming. Cold viruses use that proteins to grow and multiply. There is no study that claims that zinc stops colds, but it may help shorten the duration of infection and its severity if taken within 24 hours of infection. It is better to continue its usage for at least five days. But, do not use zinc nasal drops as they are not approved by FDA.

Vitamin C

When it comes to remedies for cough and cold, vitamin C’s cold fighting abilities are promising. It helps shorten cold symptoms by a day or two, but cannot treat cold completely. However, if taken at a dose of around 200 mg per day, vitamin C helps in significantly reducing the episodes of cold. This is extremely beneficial for those who are under severe physical stress. But, taking vitamin C supplements after being infected by cold viruses doesn’t offer any benefit.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is one of the best home remedies for cough and cold. It offers dual benefits – first of all, it eases stuffy nose when a person inhales the steam; next, it replenishes the lost fluids owing to severe cold. The warm, salty broth helps in improving sore throat as well.

Garlic and ginger

Garlic and ginger are considered as the best home remedies for cough and cold. Both have shown promising results in alleviating the symptoms of cold and flu if taken on a daily basis. Still, to know the real benefits, more research studies are needed. Garlic and ginger are packed with nutrients. They can be used as food – in addition to spicing up food, they help in easing stuffy nose.

Saltwater Gargle

Among the best home remedies for cough and cold – saltwater gargling is the one. It helps in decreasing the severity of throat irritation and soreness by removing germs and irritants. It also helps in reducing inflammation and throat discomfort. To keep the throat moist when it becomes scratchy, warm and salty water gargling is better.


Steam humidifier is a far better option to consider for a stuffy nose. For a runny or stuffy nose, pour some mint oil or any natural decongestant in a hot water trough and breath in the vapours. Or else, use a room humidifier instead. To get instant relief from congestion lean over a bowl with hot water and decongestant by keeping a towel over your head. If it is not possible, then simply take a hot shower by keeping the door of your bathroom shut.

Nasal Strips

One of the best remedies for cold and cough – especially if you want to get rid of night-time nasal congestion is Nasal strips. They are commercially available. You can use these strips and put them on your nose overnight. Though there may be no improvement in the stuffiness, yet you will get more space for airflow and breathing.

Saline Irrigation

Saline irrigation is helpful in relieving nasal congestion and improving cold and flu symptoms. When you drip or spray saltwater into your nose the hardened mucus becomes soft and thin and gradually comes out of your nose. OTC saline washes are available or you can make your own. The water you are using should be free from contamination and dirt. It is better to use boiled, filtered and cooled water for making nasal saline wash. To make a saline wash, use boiled water warmed to room temperature. Use one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon baking soda. By holding one nostril, squirt the liquid into the other by using a bulb syringe. Repeat this process twice or thrice and do it for the other side nostril as well.

Neti Pot

The same above saline solution can act as another remedy for cough and cold. Use it in a different pot – commonly known as Neti pot. Fill the saline solution in this pot and flush your nasal pages. By doing so, your mucus becomes thinner and drains more easily. Individuals suffering from an ongoing or chronic sinusitis benefit from Neti pots. A neti pot helps in easing pain, pressure, nasal congestion and facial pressure. A bottle with a nozzle is good to generate force that flushes your sinuses.


When it comes to herbal home remedies for cough and cold, echinacea is the best choice as it augments immunity with its antimicrobial properties. Though there is no conclusive research that claims it to be a potent cold fighter, it can shorten cold symptoms by a day or two. Some other studies show mixed results. Whatever may be the case, you can try it when you feel that your symptoms are getting aggravated.

Hot Cocktail

This is a proven age-old remedy for cough and cold, but only for adults. This is beneficial especially before bedtime as black tea and coffee are not good at that time. To make this soothing drink, take some whiskey or bourbon, add a teaspoon of honey and lemon juice to it. This cocktail helps relieve cough, sore throat and make you sleep better. Remember! Avoid excess drink as it may make you awake.

Use Vicks VapoRub

Cold and flu infection can make your skin, around the nose and your nostrils, irritated and sore. This is due to repeated blowing and wiping your nose. Therefore, Vicks VapoRub is one of the best remedies for cough and cold. This is a menthol-infused ointment. Use a dab and apply on throat, chest and under your nose. The menthol vapours help in easing congestion by opening the nasal passages and relieving cough. Avoid using it for children under 2 years age and applying it on raw skin.

Let Your Fever Work

Unless your fever is not very high and making you uncomfortable, it is good for your colds and flus as the germs that cause cold and flu do not thrive under high temperatures. It is in fact the best natural remedy for cold and flu. However, it is better to seek immediate medical care if your temperature is above 102 or 103 degrees Fahrenheit and it is not coming down quickly even after treatment. Be careful with regard to infants and children as a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit warrants medical attention.

Bed Rest

Anyone suffering from cold and flu can feel better if they take proper rest for a day or two under covers. Plenty of rest, taking fluids, consuming nutritive foods is better in improving energy levels, augmenting immunity and warding off germs. Another important thing is to keep yourself warm. All these measures will help boost your immunity.


Science M, Johnstone J, Roth DE, Guyatt G, Loeb M. Zinc for the treatment of the common cold: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ. 2012 Jul 10;184(10):E551-61. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.111990. Epub 2012 May 7. PMID: 22566526; PMCID: PMC3394849.


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