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5 Home Remedies to Soothe Your Cold Symptoms

5 Home Remedies to Soothe Your Cold Symptoms

Cold season is in full swing – have you dodged the germy bullet so far? If you’re struggling with uncomfortable cold symptoms, check out these natural home remedies to help give you some relief!

Just about week ago I was thinking proudly about how I’d managed to make it through most of this super nasty cold season without getting sick. Of course, days later I woke up weak, feverish, and coughing with a runny nose. Serves me right for jinxing myself!

I’ve never been crazy about taking medicine, and at almost 8 months pregnant I’ve been even less willing to pop pills during this sickness, though I will admit to taking Tylenol for my fever, since a high fever can be worse for your baby than the acetaminophen.

Since shooting some NyQuil and sleeping for two days was off the table, I’ve been finding some other ways to handle my sore throat, stuffy nose, and fever chills instead!

cayenne peppers

Image Credit (man with handkerchief): Creative Commons photo by Menage A Moi
Image Credit (chilis): Creative Commons photo by Unhindered by Talent

1. Cayenne Pepper Drink

This recipe is adapted from PopSugar.

This is not what I would call “a joy to drink,” but if your nose is stuffed up, it is sure to clear things out!


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon dried cayenne pepper (start with 3/4, then add more if you can handle the extra heat)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice


Heat the water up in your kettle, then add the remaining ingredients, stirring to mix it up really well. While it’s still steamy hot, breathe in the steamy, spicy vapors.

Then, when it’s cool enough, drink up! You want to wait for it to cool off some, because this is not a sipping drink. Just get it down in a few gulps, if you can.


sea salt

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Happy Krissy

2. Salt Water Gargle

Whether it’s from post-nasal drip or just plain nasty germs, a salt water gargle can give you some relief. If your throat is very dry, though, you don’t want to use salt. For that problem, see the vinegar gargle recipe below this one.


  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water


Heat up the water in your kettle, then stir in the sea salt. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, gargle with about 1 tablespoon every couple of hours to relieve that sore throat.

3. Vinegar Gargle

Has all that coughing left your throat feeling raw? A vinegar gargle can make a big difference! Here’s how to mix up your own!


  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup warm water


Combine the vinegar and water, and gargle 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture every couple of hours.


red onion

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by tamburix

4. Red Onion Cough Syrup

An onion syrup might not sound appetizing, and I will admit that you will probably not crave this after you cold is over. But if you have a nagging cough and can’t get relief, this can be really helpful.


  • 1/2 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


Toss the ingredients together well in a bowl that has a lid. Cover, and let it sit on the counter overnight.

In the morning, the onion will have released liquid, which mixes with the sugar to create a syrup. Take by the tablespoonful to soothe your cough.


minced raw garlic

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Jason Sandeman

5. Immune-Boosting Garlic Toast

The best way to beat cold symptoms is to beat the cold, and raw garlic is full of micronutrients that help your immune system fight those nasty viruses. You can add raw garlic to anything, really, but this toast method was the most palatable to me when I was sick. Two to four cloves of raw garlic per day for the first couple of days that you’re sick can really help reduce your illness’s duration!


  • 1 slice of good, wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


Toast the bread, then spread evenly with the Earth Balance and garlic cloves. It’s a little tricky at first, but once the heat from the toast starts melting the Earth Balance, everything should combine and spread easily.


Read more: Alternative Therapies, Cold and Flu, Conditions, Health, Natural Remedies, , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
10:42AM PDT on Aug 28, 2013


5:22PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

My mom used to sweat the juice out of the onion over a low flame on the stove but other than that, these remedies all had their place at my house while I was growing up.

8:00PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Great tips, Thank You :)

5:39PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Interesting, thanks!

10:04PM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Hot stuff, great,tks.

5:01PM PST on Feb 28, 2013


8:11AM PST on Feb 28, 2013

appreciate it.

11:27PM PST on Feb 27, 2013


7:10PM PST on Feb 26, 2013

Organic veg'n diet with loads of garlic, ginger, cayenne, onion; beet, kale, spinach keeps the sicknesses away that incapacitate others. Was just taking over this fact with a veg'n friend (Apache) today who takes all of the above daily. I do not use much onion or ginger, but will do more. I also do like apple cider vinegar (organic) for health and white vinegar / baking soda for house cleaning.

4:37AM PST on Feb 26, 2013

staying healthy but im going keep these in mind if I happen to come down with a cold

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