Do you have a runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, coughing and watery eyes? These are all classic symptoms of colds and the flu, two common ailments caused by viruses. The recent news has bombarded us with fears of the Coronavirus which got me to start researching the best home remedies for cold and flu like symptoms. I have compiled a list of 20 Cold & Flu Remedies that I am keeping close by, but I also want to share them with you.
What is the Difference between Colds & Flu?
Colds & Flu share the same symptoms but are caused by different viruses. So how can you tell which illness you've got? An old rule of thumb states that if your symptoms tend to be from the neck up you've probably got a cold. With the Flu, you may also have a runny nose & sore throat, but on top of that, expect body aches, fever, and fatigue. Colds tend to last longer, but the Flu generally causes more discomfort.
Upper Respiratory Help:
Hydrate - Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best, but clear broth, green and herbal teas, and diluted juices are also good choices.
Eat Chicken Soup - It is a time honored treatment backed up with modern research. Chicken Soup, especially recipes rich in garlic and onions does indeed provide more than comfort. Some ingredients fight inflammation and thin mucus secretions to help relieve congestion.
Rinse the Sinuses - Nasal irrigation can help relieve congestion caused by colds and Flu. Even just spritzing your nasal passages with saline nasal drops several times a day can make a difference.
Suck on Zinc - Sucking lozenges that contain Zinc may help shorten the duration of a cold by several days.
Go Herbal - Andrographis and Echinacea are 2 herbs that top the list of cold and Flu treatments. Research supports Andrographis paniculate's effectiveness in relieving the symptoms of colds, flu, and some other upper respiratory conditions. Preparations of the dried herb are available in some health food stores and online.
Reach for Elderberry - A number of recent studies have shown that extracts of Elderberries have virus - inhibiting properties. Elderberry syrup has been shown to be effective for treating colds and Flu in some people. You might also try lozenges that combine elder extracts and zinc.
How to Help a Cough:
Reach for Horehound - If you have a productive cough, try old-fashioned horehound drops. The bittersweet herb has expectorant properties.
Suck Slippery Elm - For centuries, Native Americans used slippery elm to treat coughs and other respiratory ailments. Slippery Elm contains mucilage, a substance that, when mixed with water, becomes a slick gel. Slippery elm lozenges can soothe irritated throats and dry coughs.
Sip Syrup - Here's a home remedy that has withstood the test of time. Mix 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of honey. Heat gently until warm. Take 1 teaspoon every hour as needed.
Swig Ginger Tea - Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Ginger tea can soothe throats made raw by coughing. Add about a tablespoon of freshly grated, peeled Ginger to a cup and fill with just boiled water. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and sweeten if desired.
Rub on a Rub - Chest Rubs can help loosen congestion. Mix 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil with 2 teaspoons of almond oil. Rub some of this mixture on your chest and cover with a hot water bottle or heating pad wrapped in flannel or a soft thin towel. Leave on 20 minutes. Repeat once or twice a day.
Sore Throat Remedies:
Reach for the Salt Cure - Gargling with salt water is a simple and effective sore throat remedy. Stir a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water until the salt is completely dissolved. Take a mouthful, gargle and spit. Repeat hourly.
Sip or Gargle with Thyme - Thyme Tea is also a time-tested sore throat remedy. Sip hot thyme tea to soothe a sore throat or transform it into an effective gargle by adding a teaspoon of salt to a cup of cooled tea. Stir until the salt is dissolved and gargle with small mouthfuls. Spit; don't swallow.
Sip Sweet and Sour - Another old remedy calls for mixing equal amounts of honey and apple cider vinegar ( try 2 teaspoons of each) in a cup of hot water. Take frequent small sips of this mixture to ease sore throat pain.
Pop a Lozenge - Zinc Lozenges can soothe a sore throat as well as help shorten the duration of a cold.
Breathe Moist Air - Inhale steam by pouring just boiled water into a large bowl, draping a towel over your head and shoulders, and leaning over the water ( keep your face at least 12 inches from the water's surface)
Keep your Throat Moist - Take steps to stay hydrated. Sucking on soothing lozenges, chewing gum, and sipping warm water can help too.
Drink Tea - A variety of Herbal Teas can soothe a stressed throat. Try making a cup of tea from the Herb Mullein. Place 2 teaspoons of dried Mullein leaves in just-boiled water. Steep, strain, and sweeten, if desired. Drink a cup one to three times a daily.
Spoon in Honey and Cayenne - Mix together a teaspoon of Lemon Juice, a teaspoon of Honey, and a pinch of Cayenne Pepper in the bowl of a large spoon. Put the spoon in your mouth and slowly suck off the mixture, letting it coat your throat. Repeat two or three times a day.
Cod Liver Oil - The Bonus Remedy..
Cod Liver Oil is good to take during the Winter months. it is Rich in Vitamin D which can help bolster your immunity against infections like the cold and Flu. In dark winters people don't get enough sun exposure to make Vitamin D naturally and Cod Liver Oil is a good way to supplement this critical nutrient. You can get them in a soft gel supplement.
A Couple More Helpful Tips...
When you have a cold or Flu, avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Both tend to promote water loss.
I hope you feel well and do not need these remedies, but they are good to have on hand just in case.
Want to try an Easy Chicken Noodle Soup? Click Here
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
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