Natural Remedies

Top 10 Remedies for the Common Cold

| Modified: Sep 24, 2020
Add New Post Top 10 Remedies for the Common Cold

The common cold can have symptoms that range from "an irritating nuisance" to "a miserable inconvenience." Natural remedies for the common cold work to relieve the symptoms and kill the actual virus causing the cold. Home treatment can nip colds in the bud and the earlier the treatment begins, the faster the results are seen.

Symptoms of a common cold include stuffy and/or runny nose, headache, sore throat, cough, stuffy or painful ears, and malaise. Colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not kill viruses and most over the counter remedies only treat symptoms. Simple herbs and vitamin supplements can actually kill the cold viruses and reduce the duration of the cold.

Colds Versus Allergies

Colds often start with a sore throat, headache and stuff nose. While these symptoms are common with allergies as well, colds usually start suddenly. Oftentimes with colds your symptoms begin a day or two after being around someone else who was sneezing and coughing but came to work anyway.

Colds Versus The Flu

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between a cold and the flu. Cold symptoms are usually more mild. Usually with a cold, there is little to no fever. Bed rest is ideal but it is usually possible to push through with work or school. When you have the flu you usually have a fever and body aches as well. With the flu it is very difficult to carry on with work or school and bed rest is usually unavoidable. For remedies for the flu, see this page.

Five Quick Steps to Stop Your Cold Dead in its Tracks!

The sooner treatment begins for a cold, the better. Head for the kitchen cabinet and get some salt for a good old fashioned gargle. This will begin to kill the germs in the throat and bring pain relief. You may wonder if this penny remedy is worth the bother. But remember, salt does kill germs. Think of how salt was used to preserve foods before refrigeration. Consider the dead sea (where nothing can live) which is a salt lake. Great grandmothers recommended this for good reason!

1. Salt Water Gargle

Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt (preferable sea salt) to 1/4 cup very warm water. Gargle deeply.

For the stout-hearted -  add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the salt gargle. This will be a spicy concoction but will make it more powerful. Cayenne kills germs and relieves pain as well.

Skeptics can view this video to see the cayenne pepper gargle in action.

The next step is to kill the germs in your nose with salt.

2. Salt Water Sniffing

Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 1/2 cup of warm water, not quite as warm as is used to gargle with.

Pour a bit of this into the palm of  aclean hand and snort it up into the nose. Or use a straw or eye dropped to drip it into the nose. (Lie down and tilt the head back to do that.)

Have a box of tissues on hand, this will immediately begin to clean out the sinuses.

Again, if you are feeling brave, follow the treatment with a bit of cayenne pepper. Dip a q-tip into water and then into the cayenne pepper to get a bit of cayenne onto the end of the q-tip. Use the q-tip to apply the cayenne inside each nostril. (No need to go very far into the nose.) This is going to sting and cause. It will clear out the sinuses in a hurry.

3. Hot Healing Tea

Now it is time to brew a mug of healing tea, so put the kettle on.

Use regular black tea or green tea, or make apple cider vinegar tea.

Use one tea bag or 1 Tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar per mug of tea.

Sweeten with honey, blackstrap molasses or raw sugar. Do not sweeten with artificial sweetener.

While the kettle is boiling or the tea is steeping, stop by the bathroom and get the hydrogen peroxide and grab a cotton ball.

4. Clean Out Germs in Your Ears

Pour a cap full of hydrogen peroxide into each ear. This will kill germs in the ears and help to prevent an ear infection. Use the cotton ball to absorb excess hydrogen peroxide.

5. Rest!

Get back to the mug of tea. Sit down with feet up and enjoy the tea.

Tempting as it is to keep up normal routines when suffering with a cold, rest will allow the body to use its energy to fight the cold virus.

Repeat the salt water gargle, salt water sniffing, hydrogen peroxide in ears, rest and tea every few waking hours.

The above cold cure is in most homes. It is very inexpensive and carries few side effects.

At the same time, there are many more wonderful natural remedies for colds, so choose what suits!

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw and organic apple cider vinegar is a quick an easy cold cure. It breaks up congestion and helps to alkalize the body. It can be added to a glass of water and taken as a tonic, or added to a mug of hot water with some honey as a tea.

7. Garlic

Raw garlic has antiviral properties and is a great quick cold cure. It can be added to soups, eggs, rice or any number of dishes. It can be spread on toast with butter or honey. Ideally, take at least a clove of garlic four times daily until your symptoms resolve.

8. Baths

Baths are a relaxing way to relieve cold symptoms. Add 1 cup of baking soda or 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the bath water and soak. The baking soda will help to alkalize the body. The hydrogen peroxide will help to oxygenate the body. Add 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil to the bath water help with nasal congestion.

9. Vitamin Supplements for Colds

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can be taken several times a day when fighting a cold. In fact, the body needs more vitamin C when sick.


Zinc is important for the immune system. Zinc supplements are usually taken once daily with a meal. Studies suggest that zinc reduces the duration and severity of cold viruses.1

Vitamin D

Often colds come along in winter months when the body has less sun exposure (and therefore fewer opportunities to make its own vitamin D.) A vitamin D supplement can help the immune system to fight a cold.

10. Diet

Eat nutritious foods to provide the body with energy and nutrients to fight the cold. Avoid sugars and processed foods. Avoid dairy as it will make congestion worse. Warm soups, broths, teas and juices are ideal.

Do you have a natural remedy for a cold? Or perhaps a home treatment that you learned from your grandmother? We would love to hear from you! Continue reading to learn the interesting natural remedies our readers have used to cure their colds fast!




Additional Pages of Interest:

Colds in Children
Colds in the Elderly

Jean's Famous Tomato Tea

Posted by Susan (USA)

Jean, from Wisconsin sent us this remedy on May 30, 2003. After drinking this recipe hot, writes Jean, "Your sinus congestion will disappear REAL fast. All these ingredients not only work on the immediate symptoms, but add plenty of vitamin C to fight a cold, and garlic to fight infection.

Recipe: Add 1 cup tomato juice, 1 tsp chopped fresh garlic, 1/2 tsp of hot sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, and a pinch or two of celery salt for flavor. Heat ingredients and drink hot."

EC: Read the considerable reader feedback (130 plus emails) on Tomato Tea here, including Jean's updated remedy!

ACV and Baking Soda, Cayenne

Posted by Mimijewels (San Diego) on 03/13/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I have had a cold and relapse 3 times including strep throat. Went to doctors to get rid of that. Cold was coming on again and I put Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), cayenne pepper, baking soda and I feel great. Will keep sipping ACV with Soda and cayenne ...determined to get rid of this

Apple Cider Vinegar, Cayenne, and Honey

Posted by Olddude (Chattanooga, Tn) on 06/03/2012
1 out of 5 stars

My story: went on vacation, got a bug/cold/running nose/coughing and so on. Came back, got worse. Tried all the Apple Cider Vinegar and cayanne, and so on. Did not cure it. finally went to the doctor, one steroid shot and nasal meds, got well sort of in 3 days. Its June 2, I am finally well, what I had was from zell. Ears got clogged up, sinusis bad, chest and lungs screw up somewhat. Yes the doctors meds killed all the stuff, but it still took another 7 days to finally leave my body, So, Apple Cider Vinegar and all these remedys did not kill this mess I had, but I kept taking them. I guess sometimes u gotta go see the doctor, IMHO

Replied by Mememe

Glad you are feeling better. Just want to point out that if it took you another 7 days to feel better... It might just have been whatever it was running its course. It would be kind of hard to say it was the prescriptions if it took that long to go away I would think. (mo) Just a thought.

Posted by Sbc (Nashville, Tn) on 02/08/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Hi, I've been sick now for more than a week. i got a bad cold, swollen throat feeling, tons of drainage etc and haven't felt well.

well I tried the Apple Cider Vinegar (couple tbs) , 1/4 tsp cayenne and a couple tbs of honey... I warmed it up and gargled a few times... Then 20 minutes later, I did it again and have felt 10 times better. I have been concerned this past week cause I've had issues swallowing, I guess from the drainage andsore throat... This has responded so quickly. I don't like the taste of Apple Cider Vinegar but I'm doing this anyway... I'm gonna do it a couple more times today. I've also tried sipping a little of it to. I know that has to be beneficial. Thanks so much everyone for sharing this WONDERFUL little natural trick... Thank you thank you!

Replied by Julia
Gaithersburg, Maryland
5 out of 5 stars

Someone posted on here a wonderful recipe which I tried, with a few modifications, and I just wanted to let you all know what I tried, because it was amazing. I have been fighting off a bug for a couple of weeks now (aches, sore throat, feeling run-down, a little sneezy) but it hadn't quite turned into something full-blown.

I made the following mixture: 1 tsp ACV, 1 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp powdered cayenne, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, 2 tsp water. Then sip it slowly (tiny sips). It is somewhat thick and will coat the back of your throat. It tastes surprisingly good, soothed my sore throat instantly, and started to clear up my sinuses and the "lump" in the back of my throat which was developing. I have taken this mixture a couple times a day for the past two days and I'm feeling much better.

Apple Cider Vinegar, H2O2 in Ears

Posted by Tiffaney (Santa Barbara, CA) on 04/02/2009

Both my 2 year old and 4 year old have had a cold now for 2 days, after reading this sight I decided to try it. Both of them have coughs and running noses and before bed I made a mixture of 1 cup warm water, 1 tsp of honey and 1 cap of apple cider vinegar and had them share it and they are asleep now with no coughing or sneezing! I also made a mixture of 1 cup warm water and 1 cap of H202 hydrogen peroxide and put a 2 drops in each ear for a minute, hopefully one of these stops the cold or the symptoms. So far so Good!

Apple Cider Vinegar, Tomato Tea, Lemon, Ginger and Cayenne Tea

Posted by Laura (Dallas, Tx) on 04/01/2013
5 out of 5 stars

The Tomato Tea WORKED--Knocked out a cold in under two days. Actually I used a three pronged "tea" combination for a serious head cold I picked up from my 20 month old: 1) ACV tea at meal times/3 x day with 2 Tblsp dosage to each mug and 1 Tblsp Honey. 2) Made a pot of Tomato Tea for the morning and afternoon getting about three mugs out of each. I used Half a bulb of Garlic (cloves smashed) to 20-30 oz V-8, the juice of two lemons, and multiple dashes of cayenne pepper. 3) Lemon, Juiced Ginger and Cayenne Pepper tea ( with honey).

The ACV immediately went to work reducing the swelling in my nasal cavaties allowing me to breath ( and have some hope). The tomato tea helped get the cold a moving. ( suffered through a sinus headache about 20 hours into the remedy period). The lemon/ginger/cayenne pepper tea was a bonus immune system booster.

While you have a cold you cannot smell anything. Also the tomato seems to mask the expected garlic smell. I didn't smell like garlic per the family I was with. And all teas tasted phenomenal to me despite having no ability to smell.

This saved me a $75 co-pay to visit an urgent care doctor, no medicine head, no dry nasal passages from antihistimines. Still drinking the tomato tea and ACV tea on day 5 - just one mug or two a day each as the cold is on its last leg.

Apple Cider Vineger

Posted by Jdemmy (Kansas City, Missouri) on 01/23/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Have used apple cider vinegar many times for various issues like colds, sore throats, congestion, etc. Sometimes the problem is gone within a couple hours, sometimes it takes up to a day with several doses. But it always works! As far as dose: usually 1-2 Tbsps ACV, 1 tsp honey added to a full cup hot water.

Baking Soda

Posted by Paracelsus (Orlando, Fl) on 07/10/2020 21 posts
5 out of 5 stars

There are many different remedies that work but nothing works as fast and effective as baking soda. At the first sign of a cold or flu, take 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda 6x the first day, 4x the second day, and 2x the third day. 95% of the time the cold is stopped in its tracks within the first 24 hours. Works for any viral infection as far as my experience goes, as long as you catch it right away.

Posted by Claire (Horseshoe Bend, Id, Usa) on 12/31/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Baking Soda for colds

I had all the early signs of a cold / flu coming on yesterday - achy, runny nose, sore throat, cough. I started taking 1/2 tsp of baking soda in a glass of cold water every 2 hours last night, and cut back to every 4 hours this afternoon. It has been just over 24 hours, and I feel FINE. I can hardly believe it myself, but I KNOW I was exposed, I KNOW I was getting sick... now, I am fine. Absolutely worth trying if you are coming down with a cold or flu!

Baking Soda and Zinc

Posted by Bill (Cottonwood, AZ)
5 out of 5 stars

As soon as you feel a tickle or sensation in your throat. Take 1/2 to 1 tsp. of baking soda in a glass of water followed by a zinc lozenge under your tongue and you will never get a cold. My family has been doing this for years and it works. One night I was lazy and didn't do it; sure enough, next morning had a cold.

Bathing in White Vinegar

Posted by Toma (Chicago, IL) on 06/26/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I had a cold for a month, tried everything - nothing helped, so I decided to take baths with a cup of white vinegar after an hour running, in 2 days all the symptoms of cold are gone.

Black Elderberry Syrup

Posted by Maxine (Havana, Arkansas, USA) on 11/13/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Flu and Colds: Black Elderberry syrup, this stuff was discovered by a doctor in isreal , it had clinical trials cuts cold and flu in half. I used this with great success. It also helped fibromyalgia pain, unusual side effect. It works for anything viral, and I read somewhere it would work for bird flu.

Black Tea With Lemon

Posted by Michelle (Chicago)
5 out of 5 stars

This has been a cure my mother has been touting for years and she has given us from the time we were kids. I give it to my kids, but I have to admit there are times I lapse out of my "healthy" habits and depend too much on medications, etc.

Recently I caught a very bad head and chest cold. Since I am pregnant, I prefer not to take OTC medications, so I began taking tea and lemon. Immediately I could breathe and felt better. However, after a day or two, I stopped when I shouldn't have, since apparently I was not completely cured. Not only did the cold get worse, but turned into a nasty sinus infection. I suffered miserably for over a week. Then I remember the tea. After drinking one cup, immediately my mucus became thinner and the pressure eased up. I am hopeful to be fully cured in a few more days!

When you make the tea, you should let it steep for several minutes so it turns a nice dark color, and you should use a lot of lemon, like 1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon (fresh juice is the best, but you can substitute bottled). I actually like the taste of it this way, very tart. But, you can add honey to it to make it sweet if you like.

Replied by Petran
5 out of 5 stars

Thanks for this remedy I tried it on my two daughters and i can tell you it truly worked. About 5 min. after they drank it both of them started to vomit. It releases the mucus that's was on their chest hence the vomiting. Now they are both coughing less and more active. Thumbs up Carrol, it worked wonders!!! ....Thanks again!

Replied by Dawn
Melbourne, Australia
5 out of 5 stars

When I come down with a bad headcold I thought I would give Carol's Cure All remedy a go, 4 glasses and 48 hours on I'm back to normal. I have found Earth Clinic a God send. Thanks heaps.

Carol's Hot and Spicy Drink

Posted by Diane (Magnolia Springs, Alabama) on 12/11/2007
5 out of 5 stars

12-11-07 just had to let everyone know that my husband caught a cold around Dec 1. He immediately started taking all kinds of over the counter cold medicines. On 12-8 I woke up with the same cold I took Organic ACV, Honey(locally harvested), Lemon(my tree) and warm to hot water mixed three times that day. On 12-9 I did the same 3 times and on 12-10 my cold was gone. I will continue for a few more days to be sure the entire cold germ is gone. By the way my husband is still fighting his cold.

Posted by Carol (Republic, Washington)
5 out of 5 stars

Here is the "cure what ails you" I give to my students, and they all use it and are back to the books/ or playing for the basketball team! It has an immediate effect for some:

3 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
3 TB lemon juice, fresh squeezed if possible
2 TB honey
You can add 1/4 tsp cayenne, and 1/4 tsp fresh ginger also if the first three ingredients don't work right away.

Mix in a little warmed water to liquefy, drink, and then rinse the teeth thoroughly. After the initial rush, you can drink warm tea, or water to settle the stomach. Most have an immediate reaction where they get their voice back and clear out the mucus in their nose and throat. Try it, all the kids do, and now even their moms drink it and swear by it! One mom even works at the medical clinic and uses my cure instead of the doctor's one.