Natural Remedies for Upper Respiratory Infections

| Modified on Dec 07, 2022
Burned Whiskey
Posted by Oolagirl (Chicago) on 01/23/2017

Burned Whiskey for Upper Respiratory infections

This is an amazing expectorant, and by the time it's finished, there is no alcohol in it. My Grandma always gave this to her kids, and my mom, who is a nurse, used it on us. The relief is instant.

Using a glass pie plate, put in 1/4 cup of sugar, and a shot of whiskey. Light it, and stir with a wooden spoon until the fire goes out. Keep trying to re-light it, once it no longer catches a flame, all of the alcohol is gone and you are left with a brown syrup. Add a tablespoon of the syrup to 4 oz of warm water, and it is ready.

It is a wonderful expectorant, and we have used it in my family for generations. My kids' pediatrician wrote down the recipe a few years ago, and uses it on his own family.

Posted by Paula (Tulsa, Oklahoma) on 01/06/2013

I came down suddenly with an upper respiratory type of infection. My lungs felt like they were full of fluid and I couldn't seem to get a whole breath of air without coughing hard and wheezing loud. By day 3 my urine had turned dark and cloudy and I decided it must be time to seek medical help. It was Sunday so I came to this Earth Clinic site to find relief for a day till I could go see a regular doctor on a week day. I saw a post on cutting the ends off an onion and placing it near were I was resting. All I wanted to do was sleep for the last few days. I woke up after two hours and felt so much better and my urine was bright but still a little cloudy. I fell back to sleep and awoke in 5 more hours to have zero couging, no more dripping nose, no wheezing and my urine clear. I did have wet hair from sweating but I feel wonderful and completly good now. I want to post this right away because an onion doesn't cost much and its really scary when you can't breath right. I would never have believed this could have helped if I had not seen it for myself.

Bosnian Tonic
Posted by Juanita (Indianapolis, IN) on 12/06/2022


Oh my goodness! This does work (and I don't think it tastes bad)! I had a sinus infection last week, which has mostly gone away, but junk seems to have moved to my throat (not just back of my mouth... deeper), sometimes making it impossible to talk, and painful to try to cough it out.

I just drank this, using stored bacon grease I keep in the fridge (all the bits settle to the bottom, and top layer is just fat). I did add a tbsp of whiskey. I immediately felt the need to clear my throat, and it is much looser! I return to work tomorrow after my usual days off, and have been worried about not being able to talk. First thing this morning, all I could do was whisper, but as I keep clearing my throat, my voice is already coming back! Rob, if you see this, please thank Ljubica for me!

Bosnian Tonic
Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 11/09/2019

“Sher-be” – Bosnia Home Remedy – Lard/Milk/Sugar of Cold and Flu:

My friend “Ljubica” from Bosnia-Herzegovina who came the USA back in 1990's as a war refugee showed me this remedy. She said it's called “Sher-be”, it's old Bosnian name.

I got hit with the worst upper respirtory infection I ever had. Head was completely stopped up with thick mucus, sinus membranes swollen shut I could not breath thru my nose. Ear canals clogged and coughing with thick mucus… etc. She came over to my house and cooked this cocktail up on my stove for me to drink.


2 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup (8oz) milk (I use whole milk red cap)
1 teaspoon pork lard from leftover bacon grease or butter (real not margarine)


You melt sugar in a saucepan til it states to carmalize, then add milk (she also said you can also add a little whisky too). Stir til completely mixed and pour into a large coffee mug. Add pig lard or butter to mug and stir til melted. Drink hot. The taste is unpleasant, making this hard to swallow. You'll get thru it. I added ½ a package of swiss coco mix to improve the taste to help get it down.

I had a head cold at the time and after drinks this mixture, within 15 minutes I started coughing and sneezing with globs of mucus moving out of my lungs, throat and sinus which were congested before. My head was lighter and not as much pressure. She told me to make it again in the morning and drink it again.

I woke up in the morning which was 12 hours after my first cocktail and this is how I feel. Pressure in my head is down by 50% I can breath thru my nose. Still stuffy but I can get air thru which is a big plus. I coughed up globs of thick mucus in my sleep which I spit into a tissue. Over all I feel 60% better.

It is now 24 hours since I first started drinking this Bosnian cocktail, my 3rd drink and I must say I'm about 90% better.

There is no logic reason why this cocktail should work… Really… Bacon grease…? Can anyone please explain to me WHY this cocktail works?

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Posted by KT (Usa) on 06/28/2017

Hi Laura,

What kinds of things do you eat? It sounds to me like what you are eating could be contributing to your problem.

The first thing that came to my mind is for you to get 1,000 mg. vitamin C tabs and take one four times a day. See if that relieves sinus pressure and congestion. There is controversy over when it should be taken so you will have to experiment to see what you can tolerate.

Too many of us look for quick fixes and/or cures instead of painstakingly looking for prevention or eliminating the cause. I am also guilty of this..

I hope some others here can make helpful suggestions for you.


Posted by Russ (Tennessee) on 03/17/2017

When I was a child and got sick with a cold or flu, my mother would slice and fry an onion and put it in an old sock and tie it around my neck. The cough and congestion would clear up within 24 hours.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Rhonda (San Antonio ) on 07/01/2017

I noticed my Presley wasn't himself and was doing a weird hiccup breathing thing. He was breathing through his mouth! I luckily found this website and started right away with some treatment of ACV. I mixed 1/4 tsp of ACV w/water and with syringe fed him that 2x a day and also I did a steam bath 1:1. Enclosed his cat crate with a towel and put the sauce pan outside of his door and he sat breathing in for approximately 15 minutes. After his first treatment he literally began sneezing and got up to drink water and eat some food! I did this for 3 days and he's back to his old self!

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Posted by Nicky (East Sussex, Uk) on 03/30/2017

Hi Laura. I had a chesty cough and sinus infection for weeks. I took Grapefruit seed extract capsules 570mg 1x twice a day and N-acetyl cysteine 600mg 1x twice a day. Also 1x tsp coconut oil 3x a day, and 2x tsps Apple Cider Vinegar in water 3x a day. I was pretty breathless most of the time so I also took B12 because I had read it could help. Also extra vit C and more water. I started to feel better the first day and within 5 days, really good. I made sure I didn't have sugar either, and had plenty of veg.

I hope this will help.

Burned Whiskey
Posted by Colleen (Chicago) on 05/16/2018

As needed. There is no alcohol in it as long as you burn it until the fire goes out. Twice a day is good!

Posted by Jane (Seattle, Wa) on 01/08/2013

I remember reading and sending to all my children, a story on a website last year of a family who had cut onions in each room and thus they avoided the flu pandemic of 1918. This post adds a great reason for actually using the onion when one is ill!

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 09/06/2016

I woke up with congestion in my head; the beginnings of an upper respiratory infection. I really hate the feeling of not being able to breathe through my nose. I immediately got out the neti pot. I put in 6 ounces of boiled cooled water, 1 capful of hydrogen peroxide, and 1/2 t. sea salt. I love that remedy for my sinuses and it always works well. But lo and behold, my sinuses were blocked so much the water would not go through them.

I got a q-tip and put water on it. I dipped it into some cayenne pepper and put that in my nostril. It brought about an immediate sneeze. Then many sneezes. And voila! My sinuses were open. I was able to use the neti pot. I was able to blow my nose. (And blow and blow - but always gently lest you get your ears stopped up.)

It DID STING! My kids were pretty horrified. I had considered eating a hot pepper since we have plenty from the garden (one of the only things I actually grew this year.) But I didn't think a hot pepper would sit well in my empty stomach, or go well with my morning oatmeal when I got around to fixing it.

Using the neti pot likely drove some cayenne into my sinus cavities but that didn't bother me. Just the nose interior. But it wasn't unbearable and didn't last terribly long. And it was totally worth it.

Hours later I can still breathe through my nose.

I love cayenne pepper. It is amazing.

~Mama to Many~

Hydrogen Peroxide
Posted by Beth (Palmyra, Nj) on 03/31/2016

Caught a cold which for me always leads to laryngitis (several times each year). Tried the hydrogen peroxide gargle (1/2 peroxide, half water) along with straight peroxide in ears about 10 mins. each. Also dripped 50/50 water peroxide into nostrils and inhaled strongly. (Slight burning sensation) Did this during the night when discomfort from upper respiratory infection kept me up. Couldn't believe how much better I felt in morning - 75% better. Repeated in the morning and again after work and at night. BTW, first time I was able to stop laryngitis! Will continue until all symptoms disappear completely, but this is by far the best results I have ever had for multiple cold symptoms!

Bosnian Tonic
Posted by Debbie (United States) on 11/10/2019

You're right, it's amazing that your recipe worked for you, because it's definitely not healthy for you in the long run. Avoid sugar, it's poison really, feeds cancer cells. If you must have sugar occasionally, look for organic cane sugar. For healing purposes, I would try the recipe in this article instead!

Bosnian Tonic
Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 12/06/2022

Crazy isn't it! And I still don't understand why it works....

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Posted by Laura1887 (Columbia, Md) on 03/28/2017

I have a question - has anybody had success using GSE for respiratory infections? I have had a chronic antibiotic-resistant respiratory infection for 9 months and seen many doctors. It recently started to badly effect my nasal and sinus passages following a cold (which has since gone but left residual effects - I guess because of the respiratory infection that was already present). I just picked up a nasal spray with GSE yesterday and noticed some improvement quickly, so I started reading up on it. Today I just bought some GSE liquid and am going to follow suggestions to take it orally in OJ in hopes that it will help my respiratory infection as well. I have seen a pulmonologist (with no luck), and am seeing an allergist next week - but in the meantime am miserable (plus hoping not to have to start taking another rx medicine). I am hoping this will work, but again, just curious if anyone out there has any experience using GSE for respiratory infections...? Thanks for any assistance! :-)

Burned Whiskey
Posted by Natasha (Kenosha, Wi) on 01/26/2017

How often is this to be used and in what amounts?