Common Cold-Natural Cures

Common Cold“Natural Cures” is a New Weekly Column. This is an attempt to make you more informed about how you can treat and heal yourself naturally. Natural cures for diseases & Curative Properties of Foods will be the main focus.

The common cold is not an infection that leaps out and attacks an innocent passerby. It is not even a disease. A cold is the cure of a pre-diseased condition, and the symptoms are attempts by the body to reestablish normal conditions. The body is carrying out a “spring cleaning.”

My Little one and me are suffering from the cold sniffles since yesterday, and i thought, what better way to start the new column “Natural Cure Fridays”, than with a post about The Common Cold. My body is spring cleaning all the relocation dust and grime from my system, but dont let this horrid cold get to you. Precaution is better than cure.

More than one hundred types of viruses are known to cause the common cold. This explains why scientific attempts to produce a vaccine have been so unsatisfactory. Over 40% of respiratory illnesses in children and adults are caused by this family of organisms. Although colds occur throughout the year, there are peaks of incidence in the spring and fall. The disease is more severe in children, especially those under two years of age. Higher fevers, cough, croup, and occasionally pneumonia occur. Family infections are more often initiated by children. They spread like gossip in schools or any setting where close contact is found.


  • Congestion
  • Symptoms of discharge in the nose,
  • General aching
  • Mild headache resulting in a mild fever..
  • Nasal secretions increase over the period of a day or two.

Symptoms last for 7-14 days regardless of therapy. The incubation period is very short (1-3 days), instead of the 10-21 days for most viruses. The cold seems to suddenly appear. When you get a tingling nose and throat, nasal mucus, or scratchy throat; do not wait for the coughing, weakness, and fever to begin! Go to bed.


A number of factors predispose to the common cold:

  • Unwise ingestion of a large amount of sugar
  • Exposure to sudden changes in temperature, particularly with chilling.
  • Negative emotions are thought to be related to host susceptibility through a change in the acidity of the nasal mucous membrane. Such reactions as hatred, anger, fear and frustration bring about the temporary deficiency of lysozyme, a potent enzyme capable of killing many germs.
  • Continuous Stress- Whether work related or personal, can have adverse effects on your health and slow down the healing process.

Factors which lower the body’s resistance to virus infection are:

  • Overexposure to cold,
  • Fatigue
  • Recent or present infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Inhalation of irritating dust or gas
  • Overeating & Wrong eating
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Smoking


The treatment for a cold should include the general health measures for respiratory hygiene:

  • Large amounts of fluids, especially water, should be taken.
  • Increased rest
  • Steam inhalations
  • Hot packs over the congested areas
  • The avoidance of close contact with other people who are susceptible to the same disease.
  • Diet should be light with easily digested foods, especially fruit and soups.
  • Eucalyptus oil is helpful. Put 5 drops in a hot bath or 6 drops in a cup of boiling water. Put a towel over your head and, without burning yourself, inhale it.
  • A Eucalyptus candle in the room of the ailing patient works wonders in the respiratory tract. It should be lit in the room not very far from the bed, but in safe distance so as not be very close to the bedcovers. Take special care with children.

What to eat to Heal:

  • Herbal Teas: Herbal teas can include rose hips, golden seal, chamomile, peppermint, slippery elm, ginger, green, desert tea. Licorice root tea, drunk daily, soothes an irritated throat and relieves coughing.
  • Chicken soup: It’s been called nature’s penicillin and is at the top of the list for its curative powers. Hot chicken soup helps clear clogged airways, and the nourishing broth will give you more energy. Add plenty of vegetables, including onion and garlic, for extra healing power.
  • Apples: Sweet apples are valuable in the dry cough accompanied with the common cold. Nearly 250 grams of sweet apples should be taken daily to get quick relief from this dry cough.
  • Lemons: Lemons are ideal in all types of fevers and colds if taken well diluted. Vitamin C rich lemon juice increases resistance, reduces toxicity and cuts down the course of the illness. Unless one is especially allergic to citrus fruits, one should not avoid lemons in a cold. A glass of diluted lemon juice prepared in warm water, to which a tablespoon of honey is added, is an ideal remedy for cold and dry cough. “A lemon a day keeps the cold away.”
  • Mangoes: All bacterial invasions are due to poor epithelium the tissue that covers the external surface of the body. Liberal use of mangoes during the season contributes towards formation of a healthy epithelium, thereby preventing frequent attacks of common infections such a colds. This is attributable to high concentrations of vitamin A in mangoes.
  • Oranges: This fruit is an excellent liquid food in all types of fever when the digestive power of the body is seriously hampered. It gives energy, increases urinary output and promotes body resistance against infections, thereby hastening recovery.
  • Garlic: Garlic has been held in high esteem for its health building qualities for centuries all over the world. Garlic soup is an age old remedy to decrease the severity of cold. It also helps bring down fever by flushing out the system of all toxins.
  • Ginger: The extracted juice of ginger with honey should be taken 3 or 4 times a day incase of coughs. In case of colds, ginger tea, prepared by adding a few ginger pieces into boiling water before adding tea leaves, is also an effective remedy. It helps in fevers resulting from cold too.
  • Milk: Milk has proved useful in respiratory system disorders such a common cold. A glassful of boiled milk, mixed with a pinch or turmeric powder and few broken peppers, should be taken every night in this condition.

What not to eat:

Among the things that you need to avoid during the cold are:

  • Cold water & cold aerated drinks.
  • Very oily and deep fried foods.
  • Restaurant food.
  • Foods which are difficult to digest eg. Meat, heavily fatty foods, Ghee
  • Readymade ketchup, chilli sauce etc.
  • Canned foods.

The above foods are important to avoid as the consumption of these can aggravate the ongoing cold and the internal healing becomes very slow


Once contracted, a cold must run its course. So it is better, far better, to prevent it than cure it. The best prevention is to live right, eat right, get enough out-of-door exercise to strengthen the body, and get enough rest

  • Do not skimp on sleep at night, especially in the colder months.
  • Do not share food with someone who has a cold.
  • Be sure and dress warmly enough when it is cold.
  • Do not sit in a draft.
  • Do not go outside with a wet head.
  • Don’t smoke or atleast reduce it.

Many people, who are especially susceptible to colds, never get them. They have learned to live above the level where they contract such infections. Learn the distant early warning signs.

Next Week on “Natural Cures” : Wonders of Carrot Juice’

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30 thoughts on “Common Cold-Natural Cures

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    1. Hi Jonathan,
      You have very rightly pointed out stress. It can play havoc on your system. I have added it 🙂 After writing this post i kept thinking, something is missing…and you reminded. Thank you Jonathan.

  5. This is a wonderful article and I agree stress is usually behind so many aliments and sicknesses.

    We eat and drink daily many of the thing you recommend as preventatives. Still I find we have to use them more as the cold weather is upon us.

    Fatigue is always a problem with us. We try to maintain our rhythm but sometimes it gets thrown off when a certain someone (Thumper) cant pull himself away from work. He was complaining about a score throat last night but it was gone after some sleep.

    We drink a lot of herbal teas with honey and lemon all year round.

    I am curious about the heated milk with turmeric.

    Thank you for starting this wonderful new weekly series. I cant wait to read more.

    1. Hi Bunny,
      Am glad you like this new column. I have a long list of things i want to write about for this column. You will surely love it.
      As for the Milk with turmeric. Hot or warm milk has a soothing effect on the throat and boiled with turmeric powder or fresh turmeric(a natural antiseptic) pieces, it gives the milk antiseptic properties, which help in healing the body faster. It also helps clear the throat and reduces pain instantly. This concoction can be taken in small quantities at least thrice a day for severe cases…and before retiring to bed at night in milder cases.
      Tell Thumper I said- “early to bed early to rise makes Thumper healthy wealthy and wise& makes Bunny a happy Gal!” 😉

  6. Hi, Zeenat,

    This is a wonderful, thorough accounting of the things to look for and what we can do, and I enjoyed your color coding! 🙂 I’ve printed this for reference, even though it’s a little late for me; I’ve the cold, already, too.

    Like Bunny, I’m curious about the milk. I learned that milk contributes to the formation of mucus. Is this a case of that being “old news?” Also, what amount do you consider “small?” …just as a guideline.

    Another question that came to mind was about the chicken soup. I’m finally almost 100% vegetarian, working toward vegan. Is it truly some property of the chicken that makes this a wonderful treatment or would a hearty vegetable broth soup also work?

    Thanks so much for all you share for us. Hugs to you!
    ~ Julie

    1. Hi Julie,
      An alternative for chicken soup is Green Mung(lentil) soup. You need to soak about half a cup(serves 1) in water for an hour and then boil it with salt, pepper, turmeric pdr, crushed garlic and ginger. Boil it in a pressure cooker if possible to make it pasty. You can have it as it is…or blend it and then have it. As an alternative, you can add some vegetable broth to it too. Green Mung is full of almost all the goodness of chicken soup.
      As for milk, yes, on its own milk can lead to mucus formation, but boiled with turmeric and a few broken peppers, its constituency changes. It magically becomes an expectorant and an antiseptic which soothes the throat and the respiratory tract.
      Hope the above alternative helps.
      Am so glad you liked this new column 🙂
      Hugs to you too 🙂

    1. Hi Michele,
      Its so wonderful right..that nature has all these bounties for us to share..and all we need is the right guidance and information to do so.
      Garlic ginger herbal tea and lemon are my staples too 🙂
      Thanks for the stumble. And so so glad you liked this post. As i was publishing this..i kept thinking to myself ‘michele will love this’ 🙂

  7. I always thought the goodness of chicken soup was a myth. I love it and I thought that was the only reason, because evrybody seems to love chicken soup and maybe it is the love that makes us better.
    For me some loving attention does wonders as well.
    As a child nothing was better than lying on the settee and being pampered by mom. Now I want to be pampered by John and that helps the best as well.
    Pampered by Zeenat with this loving post could do the trick too?

    1. Hi Wilma,
      I know, how much fun is it that the things we like are actually the things that heal us. Chicken soup does bring love and warmth to mind. I remember my mum doing the same for me. Hot soup with toast and a lovely kiss on the forehead. Ahh..gone are those pampering days …now its my turn to pamper my mum and also my hubby and daughter too. Phew!! Too much pampering 😉

  8. Thanks for the great post Zeenat! I am a lot into natural remedies, in Russia where I am from we use them a lot. We use boiled milk with some honey in it too, but when I moved to US I was told that it contributes to mucus, go figure who is right:)

    As another great cure for cold and prevention of it I would recommend drinking rose hips tea (actual dried rose hips, not rose hips tea bags). Rose hips contain 50 times more vitamin C than lemon and lots of zinc, I noticed that my 2 y.o. son gets over cold much quicker when I give him this tea. As for steam inhalations I usually add garlic to it or boil potatoes first and inhale the steam that comes from those potatoes. My husband thinks I am out of my mind when he sees me doing it:)

    Thanks again Zeenat, I think lots of people need this information. I cannot wait for your next article.

    Lots of love,

    1. Hi Lana,
      Thank you fro your valuable input. I have mentioned rosehips only, cause sometimes it might be difficult to get dried rosehips in all parts of the world. Hence i just mentioned the tea. But yes what fresh produce can do doesnt begin to compare to tea bags.
      One plittle piece of advice. for your litle son..give him the tea, but make sure its a very mild decoction, cause kids tummies are very weak and their internal stomacha dn intestine linings could get damaged with a very strong decoction. But i use to for my little one too 🙂 I add honey to it. She lives it. 🙂
      Thank you fro your lovely comment. And am so glad you liekd this new column.
      Love to you too.

  9. Thanks for this article Zeenat. I usually don’t depend on pills when I get sick. Though I didn’t really try to cure it using natural remedies either. Most of the time I ignore it. Usually it cure by itself in a few days. Usually 3. But with this tips, I can see it cure in a day or 2.

    1. Hi karlil,
      Nice to see you here.
      A cold usually does need to run its course….but these natural remedies help ease the discomfort and a few things like regular intake on vitamin c in nay form can prevent it.
      Thank you so much for you thoughtful comment:)

  10. Zeenat, this was a truly fantastic article… very thorough and unambiguous. It also happens to be timely, ’cause Jeff has been struggling with a cold for over a week (most likely due to stress from having to find a job), so I can put some of these to the test right away. I’ll report back to you with my findings.

    Like others here, I’m curious about the hot milk and turmeric tip because I’ve heard that dairy products contribute to the congestion. But if you’ve tried it, and feel it helps, we’ll certainly give it a shot.


    1. hi Lisis,
      This is timely na…I have sen all around me friends, neighbours, my little one and me too going through this cold. Its the seasonal changes thats aggravating it.
      All the remedies have been tried and tested, so you will actually see very good results soon. And as for prevention try to give as much vitamin c in whatever form possible to avoid a future outbreak, in this or any other season.
      I replied to Julie about the hot milk with turmeric. I’ll just paste it below for your reference :
      “As for milk, yes, on its own milk can lead to mucus formation, but boiled with turmeric and a few broken peppers, its constituency changes. It magically becomes an expectorant and an antiseptic which soothes the throat and the respiratory tract.”
      Thank you sweetie for you always perfect insight.

  11. Hi Zeenat! What a timely, informational post! Like Wilma, I love the chicken soup and when anyone gets sniffly I bump up the amount of garlic I put in it. It’s such a comfort food! I have been totally committed to herbal remedies for decades – no OTC pills or drugs – especially for colds!

    One thing I’d add to your preventative list is Vitamin D3. Hubs and I have taken this for 2 yrs, increasing it for the fall and winter, and have not had a cold! He normally has several, some morphing into bronchitis, every year – not so since D3! After two years cold-free, I don’t think this is a coincidence. We are huge fans of this. He also takes turmeric for his gout – it has anti-inflammatory properties so maybe that’s why it works for colds too?

    I love how you are presenting the natural ways of dealing with illness – YAY for YOU! I look forward to learning more!

    1. Hi Suzen,
      Youre so right about the vitamin D3. foods that contain this awesome vitamin are actually milk and milk products, eggs and tuna, mackerel, sardines, cod liver oil etc. Hence i have emphasized so much on the milk with turmeric and peppers. It truly does work wonders. We all think that milk is fattening etc. but it has its benefits int he right quantity. Especially for the vegetarians, who cant indulge in fish etc, milk is the best alternative of vitamin D3 for the cold and for bone health.
      Am so glad you like the new column. Lots more coming up 🙂 Next week we value or garden friends Carrots !!! Yumm…:)
      Hugs to you too.

  12. Hi Zeenat .. loved this post and the ideas you promoted – to do and not to do. Mostly what we know already .. though the mango element I hadn’t appreciated. I read yesterday about the old remedies .. rosehip syrup, and elderberry cordial .. an apple a day keeps the doctor at bay.

    Fresh air and keeping out of crowded places if possible too –

    In this country I’m sure if we aired our houses better and had fresh air permeating a lot we’d be healthier. Double glazing can have its benefits – but if it’s everywhere .. it can be detrimental too – I have both and I’m so grateful for the air exchange especially when it’s cold.

    Thanks I look forward to ‘carrots’ .. I hope you both feel better soon ..
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

    1. Hi Hilary,
      Am glad youre liking the new column. its my little way of sharing my naturopathic brain with you all. I tried to keep it as simple and precise as possible so that everyone could benefit without any confusion.
      Fresh air and a fresh mind are the best healers for sure 🙂
      Carrots yumm..coming next week 😉

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