5 Natural Remedies for the Common Cold

Prevention is the key to avoiding illness, however sometimes it sneaks up on you when your defenses are down. You know how it goes…maybe you’ve had a hectic week at the office or you’ve been burning the midnight oil one too many nights in a row. Perhaps you ‘ve been feeling emotionally stressed, and/or you overdid it on the Halloween candy. Then – wham! Next thing you know you have a runny nose, a sore throat, and your body aches all over.

Different types of colds will bring about different types of symptoms, some worse than others.The trick is to be vigilant and nip it in the bud at the very first sign of symptoms. Although you may not be able to avoid getting sick all together, you can often reduce the severity and duration of those pesky symptoms. In most cases, letting nature run its course while supporting the body however we can is much more favorable than suppressing symptoms with medications.

Here are my top 5 natural remedies for fighting the common cold.

1. Wild Oregano Oil

Oregano oil contains infection-fighting and anti-inflammatory compounds, and it’s held a special place in my home apothecary for the last 5 years now. I’ve had great success with both the 1:1 and the less potent 1:3 formula by St.Francis Herb.

At the first sign of symptoms I place a few drops directly under my tongue and hold it there for as long as I can (usually about 10 seconds). This stuff is strong and it can sting so you’ll want to chase it down with a glass of water afterwards. Alternatively, you can place the drops in a glass of water and take it that way, however in my experience I have found it to be more effective at combating sore throats and upper respiratory infections when taken directly.

2. Raw Garlic (and plenty of it!)

Garlic is nature’s natural antibiotic and a great immune booster to boot. Crush 1-2 cloves and sprinkle it over your salads or cooked dishes. Raw is best but you can throw it in your cooking as well, keeping in mind that the longer it’s cooked the less effective its therapeutic properties will be.

3. Probiotic

Our bodies are host to a lot of bacteria – in fact we are 10 x more bacteria than cells. Much of the bacteria in our bodies reside in our gut, playing a very important role in the health of our immune system. Supplementing with a high-quality probiotic, especially at times when we are most susceptible to illness is a great way to get a therapeutic dosage of these friendly guys to our gut where they can keep the bad guys in check.

4. Immune-Bolstering Diet

Be sure to avoid sugar, gluten, processed foods and alcohol – all which depress immune function. Stick to nourishing whole foods and be sure to include plenty of veggies. Make sure to take in enough fluids including green veggie juices with ginger, herbal teas, warm water with lemon, as well as soups and broths. Two key nutrients that help reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, as well as boost the immune system are Vitamin C and Zinc – which can also be supplemented.

If you don’t have much of an appetite just eat lightly and don’t force-feed. Don’t forget that old adage “If you feed a cold, you’ll have to starve a fever”. Basically you’ll feel worse the more you eat!

5. Rest

Getting plenty of rest and sleep is the fastest way to recuperate. Don’t force yourself to go for a run or do your regular workout routine if you’re not feeling well, as this will only stress the body further. Instead, if you’re feeling up for it, stick to low-intensity exercise like yoga, light weight training, or better yet – a brisk walk outside in the fresh air.

Do you have a favorite natural remedy for the common cold? Share with me in the comments below!

Lots of love,


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2 thoughts on “5 Natural Remedies for the Common Cold

  1. Hi Elaine,
    Great blog post! I just got over a cold and wanted to share what worked for me. A shot of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with chopped raw garlic, ginger and juice from a freshly squeezed lemon in a mug. Pour boiling water over top and enjoy like tea! If you don’t have all these ingredients on hand, I would say the organic apple cider vinegar is key. You can strain the bits of garlic and ginger out if you prefer, but I actually like to eat them afterwards – as Elaine points out raw garlic is a great immune booster! Not sure how much therapeutic properties are left once you pour boiling water over it, but drinking this mixture seemed to help me kick my cold in a day. Lots of rest and a homemade carrot ginger soup probably helped as well!

    • Thanks Kristy, and thank you for sharing your tips! That sounds like a great elixir for a cold. I like to do something similar but with hot water, ginger, lemon, raw honey, and sometimes even a pinch of cayenne. Also, carrot ginger soup – yum:)

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