8 Natural & Effective Homemade remedies for cold and flu

Homemade remedies for cold and flu

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Seasonal cold and flu, two familiar and unwelcome visitors, have an aptitude for showing up when you least expect them. These common respiratory illnesses leave you feeling drained, congested, and downright miserable. But worry not, for in this article, we have explored natural and homemade remedies for cold and flu to help you combat these seasonal ailments and get back on your feet. Before going into these remedies, let’s first understand the signs and symptoms of the common cold and flu.

Signs and Symptoms of Common Cold and Flu

Seasonal colds and flu are often mistaken for one another due to their shared symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses. The common cold typically presents with symptoms like:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild headache
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Low-grade fever (rare)
  • Mild body aches

Flu (Influenza) Symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • High fever (often over 100.4°F or 38°C)
  • Severe body aches and muscle pain
  • Chills and sweats
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and weakness (can be severe)
  • Headache
  • Congestion and runny nose (less common)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (more common in children)

In addition to cold-like symptoms. Recognizing these distinctions is essential in tailoring your approach to natural remedies effectively.

The Importance of Homemade Remedies for Cold and Flu

Homemade remedies for cold and flu

Why Choose Homemade Solutions?

In a world teeming with over-the-counter medications, you might wonder why you should turn to homemade remedies for seasonal cold and flu. The answer lies in the power of nature. Natural remedies are often gentler on your body, free from harsh chemicals, and provide holistic benefits beyond symptom relief. Additionally, many homemade solutions are easily prepared with ingredients found in your kitchen, making them both cost-effective and accessible.

1. Hydration: The First Line of Defense

The Role of Fluids in Recovery

Staying well-hydrated is paramount when you have to battle a cold or the flu. Adequate hydration helps to thin mucus, making it easier to clear congestion and keep your throat moist. It also supports your body’s immune system in fighting off the infection. Water is your best friend during this time, but herbal teas make it a plus point in your hydration.

Herbal Teas: The Nature’s Best Elixir

Herbal teas are not only soothing but also provide relief from cold and flu symptoms. Teas infused with ginger, chamomile, peppermint, and echinacea are known for their immune-boosting properties. Ginger tea, in particular, helps ease nausea, while chamomile and peppermint teas soothe sore throats and coughs. Consider adding a touch of honey for added comfort and flavor.

Here is a simple guide for you on how to make these amazing herbal teas in the comfort of your home:

Ginger Tea Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • Honey (optional)
  • Lemon slices (optional)

Instruction

  1. Preparation: Wash and peel the ginger root. Slice the ginger thinly or grate it for more flavor extraction.
  2. Boiling Ginger: Bring the water to a boil in a pot or kettle. Add the sliced or grated ginger to the boiling water.
  3. Simmering: Reduce the heat to low and let the ginger simmer in the water for about 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired strength.
  4. Straining: After simmering, strain the tea into a cup to remove the ginger pieces.
  5. Optional Additions: Add honey and lemon slices to taste, if desired.
  6. Enjoy: Sip your ginger tea while it’s still warm for its soothing and immune-boosting benefits.

A Simple Recipe for Chamomile Tea:

Ingredients:

  • 1 chamomile tea bag or 1-2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • Honey or lemon (optional)

Instruction

  1. Steeping Process: Place the chamomile tea bag or chamomile flowers in a cup.
  2. Boiling Water: Boil a cup of water.
  3. Pouring Hot Water: Pour the boiling water over the tea bag or chamomile flowers.
  4. Steeping Time: Cover the cup and let it steep for about 5 minutes.
  5. Straining (if using flowers): If using loose chamomile flowers, strain the tea into another cup to remove the flowers.
  6. Optional Additions: Add honey or lemon to enhance the flavor, if desired.

Peppermint Tea Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves or a peppermint tea bag
  • 1 cup of boiling water

Instruction

  1. Steeping Process: Place the peppermint tea bag or dried leaves in a cup.
  2. Boiling Water: Boil a cup of water.
  3. Pouring Hot Water: Pour the boiling water over the tea bag or peppermint leaves.
  4. Steeping Time: Cover the cup and let it steep for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Straining (if using leaves): If using loose peppermint leaves, strain the tea into another cup to remove the leaves.
  6. Enjoy: Sip your peppermint tea as it is or add honey for a touch of sweetness.

2. Rest and Sleep: The Healing Power of Sleep

Prioritizing Rest

When battling seasonal colds and flu, it’s crucial to understand that rest is not a luxury but a necessity. Your body needs energy to fight off these infections, and the best way to conserve that energy is by getting sufficient rest. Adequate sleep enables your immune system to function optimally, aiding in a quicker recovery.

Creating a Relaxing Sleep Environment

To maximize the benefits of sleep, create a tranquil and comfortable sleep environment. Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, which will help you relieve your congestion. And don’t forget to elevate your head with an extra pillow to make breathing easier. Prioritizing rest and creating the right conditions for sleep significantly accelerate your journey to wellness.

3. Warm and Comforting Broths

Chicken Soup: A Time-Tested Remedy

Chicken soup is not just a comforting remedy passed down through generations; it is backed by science. This age-old remedy helps relieve congestion and reduce inflammation. The warmth of the soup soothes a sore throat, while the nutrients in the broth provide essential nourishment when you may not have much appetite.

Vegetarian Alternatives; We Haven’t Forgot You!

For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are excellent alternatives to chicken soup. Vegetable broth, miso soup, or even a hearty lentil soup offers similar soothing effects. Be sure to load them up with immune-boosting vegetables like carrots, onions, and garlic for added benefits.
We have shared some of the recipes with you for vegetable broths and soups to make them in the comfort of your home.

Basic Vegetable Broth Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Fresh herbs like thyme or parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preparation: Chop the vegetables into evenly sized pieces.
  2. Sauté Vegetables: In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until they start to soften. Then add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Adding Water: Pour in 8 cups of water into the pot.
  4. Seasoning: Then add the bay leaf, salt, black peppercorns, and any fresh herbs you’d like to use.
  5. Simmering: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the vegetables to release their essence.
  6. Straining: Once the broth has simmered, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean pot or container. Discard the solids.
  7. Cool and Store: Allow the vegetable broth to cool before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You may also freeze it for longer-term use.

Hearty Vegetable and Lentil Broth Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Sauté Vegetables: In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until they start to soften. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  2. Adding Lentils: Stir in the rinsed lentils.
  3. Pour in Broth: Add the vegetable broth to the pot.
  4. Seasoning: Add the bay leaf, dried thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Bringing to a Boil: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  6. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more salt or pepper as desired.
  7. Garnish and Serve: Before serving, remove the bay leaf and garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Miso Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste (white or red, according to your preference)
  • 1 sheet of nori (seaweed), cut into small pieces or strips
  • 1 cup tofu, cubed (silken or firm, as per your preference)
  • 1-2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (shiitake, button, or any variety you prefer)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (optional)
  • Soy sauce or tamari for additional flavor (optional)
  • Sesame oil for drizzling (optional)
  • Sliced seaweed or sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preparing the Broth: In a medium-sized pot, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Adding Miso Paste: In a separate bowl, whisk the miso paste with a small amount of hot water until it forms a smooth, lump-free paste. This will make it easier to incorporate into the soup.
  3. Incorporating Miso Paste: Once the water is simmering, reduce the heat to low, and gently whisk the miso paste mixture into the pot. Be careful not to boil the miso, as high heat may diminish its flavor.
  4. Adding Nori and Tofu: Add the chopped nori and cubed tofu to the simmering soup. Allow them to cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the tofu is heated through.
  5. Introducing Vegetables: Add the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic (if using) to the pot. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender.
  6. Flavor Enhancement (Optional): If you desire a stronger flavor, add a splash of soy sauce or tamari to the soup at this stage. Adjust to your taste preferences.
  7. Serving: Remove the pot from heat and garnish the soup with chopped green onions and grated fresh ginger (if using).
  8. Drizzle (Optional): For an extra layer of flavor, drizzle a few drops of sesame oil over each serving of miso soup.
  9. Garnish (Optional): You may add sliced seaweed, sesame seeds, or other preferred garnishes for an authentic touch.

4. Powerful Immune-Boosting Foods And Fruits Citrus Fruits:

The Importance of Natural Remedies

Vitamin C Richness Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are well-known for their high vitamin C content, which plays a vital role in supporting your immune system. One 2013 study shows that regular administration of vitamin C reduced the severity of colds. This vitamin helps your body produce white blood cells, which are essential in fighting off infections. Sipping on freshly squeezed citrus juices or enjoying a juicy orange provides a much-needed vitamin C boost. Be advised not to use excess lemon contents as it may irritate your throat.

Garlic and Ginger: Natural Antibiotics

Garlic and ginger aren’t just flavor enhancers; A 2014 updated review shows that they also possess potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic, in particular, contains allicin, a compound known for its immune-boosting effects. You may incorporate them into your diet by adding them to soups, and stir-fries, or simply steeping them in hot water to make a soothing tea.

Honey and Lemon: A Soothing Combo

Honey and lemon are a dynamic duo when it comes to alleviating cold and flu symptoms. Honey’s antimicrobial properties help soothe a sore throat, while lemon provides vitamin C and adds a refreshing flavor.

A 2018 study shows that giving honey for up to three days is probably more effective in relieving cough symptoms compared with placebo or salbutamol. Although, this was a study about honey effects on children, however it never fails to benefits elders too! Another study shows that it is well effective in cough during sleep.

Mix them in warm water or herbal tea for a soothing and immune-boosting concoction.

5. Steam Inhalation: Clearing Congestion Naturally

Benefits of Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is a time-tested method for easing congestion and promoting respiratory comfort. Inhaling warm, moist air helps loosen mucus and relieve nasal congestion.

To try this remedy, simply boil water, transfer it to a bowl, and carefully lean over the steam, covering your head with a towel to trap the steam. Breathe deeply for a few minutes to experience relief. Do not expose yourself to cold for a time being after steam inhalation as it may worsen your condition instead of relieving it.

Essential Oils for Steam Therapy

Enhance the benefits of steam inhalation by adding a few drops of essential oils to the hot water. Eucalyptus oil is a popular choice, known for its decongestant properties. Peppermint oil may also help clear your sinuses. Remember to use essential oils with caution and ensure they are safe for inhalation.

6. Gargles and Herbal Rinses

Saltwater Gargle: Easing Sore Throats

A saltwater gargle is a simple yet effective way to relieve a sore throat.

Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in warm water and use it as a gargle. The salt helps reduce inflammation and discomfort in your throat. Gargling with salt water multiple times a day provides much-needed relief.

Herbal Mouthwash Options

Herbal mouthwashes may also help soothe a sore throat and provide antimicrobial benefits. Chamomile and sage tea cooled to room temperature, may also be used as a mouthwash. Swish it around in your mouth for a few seconds before spitting it out.

Chamomile and Sage Tea Mouthwash Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 chamomile tea bag or 1-2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 sage tea bag or 1-2 teaspoons of dried sage leaves
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • Honey (optional, for taste)
  • A pinch of salt (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Chamomile and Sage Tea: Place the chamomile tea bag or dried chamomile flowers and the sage tea bag or dried sage leaves in a heatproof container, such as a teapot or a glass jar.
  2. Boil Water: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Ensure that the water is fully boiling to extract the flavors effectively.
  3. Pour Hot Water: Carefully pour the boiling water over the chamomile and sage in the container.
  4. Steep the Tea: Cover the container and let the tea steep for approximately 10-15 minutes. This steeping time allows the herbs to infuse the water.
  5. Strain the Tea: After steeping, strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve or a tea strainer to remove the chamomile flowers and sage leaves. You should be left with a fragrant herbal tea.
  6. Cool the Tea: Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. You may speed up the cooling process by placing it in the refrigerator for a short time.
  7. Optional Additions: If desired, add a small amount of honey to the tea for sweetness. You may also add a pinch of salt to enhance the mouthwash’s cleansing properties.
  8. Use as a Mouthwash: Gargle with the chamomile and sage tea as you would with any mouthwash. Swish the tea in your mouth for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  9. Spit It Out: Spit the tea out into the sink after gargling. Do not swallow it.
  10. Rinse with Water (Optional): Rinse your mouth with plain water afterward to remove any residual tea and enjoy a refreshing aftertaste.

7. Natural Supplements and Herbs Echinacea:

Signs and Symptoms of Common Cold and Flu

Strengthening Immunity

Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy known for its immune-boosting properties. It helps your body fight off infections more effectively and reduces the duration of cold and flu symptoms. You may find Echinacea in various forms, including capsules, teas, and tinctures. Consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

Elderberry: Reducing Symptoms

Elderberry, often available as a syrup or supplement, is rich in antioxidants and has been found to reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms. This natural remedy may be particularly helpful in relieving cold and flu-related discomfort.

Zinc and Vitamin D: Immune Support

Zinc and vitamin D are essential nutrients for a robust immune system. Zinc lozenges or supplements may help reduce the duration of cold symptoms. Vitamin D, obtained from sunlight and supplements, supports overall immune function. A 2014 study shows that Vitamin D3 significantly reduced the risk of laboratory-confirmed upper respiratory tract infections and may reduce the risk of clinical infections.

Another 2013 study shows that using zinc supplements significantly reduced the duration of common cold symptoms, but caution must be taken due to heterogeneity of the data and the dose of zinc supplements for cold must be about 75 mg/day. So it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before using zinc supplements. Consult a healthcare provider to determine the right dosage for your specific needs.

8. Lifestyle Tips for Recovery

Stay Warm and Comfortable

Maintaining a warm and comfortable environment is crucial for your recovery. Dress in layers to keep warm, and use blankets to stay cozy. Avoid sudden temperature changes, as they may exacerbate symptoms.

Practice Good Hygiene

Frequent handwashing and proper hygiene are essential to prevent the spread of the virus to others. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and dispose of tissues properly. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home.

Manage Stress

Stress weakens your immune system, so it is important to find ways to manage it. Consider relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle exercise like yoga to reduce stress levels and support your recovery. A 2018 study concluded from there study that training in mindfulness meditation or exercise may help protect against acute respiratory infections.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Recognizing Severe Symptoms

While natural remedies may be highly effective in managing common cold and flu symptoms, it is crucial to know when it is time to seek medical help. Some signs that you should consult a healthcare professional include:

  • High or prolonged fever: A fever persisting for more than a few days or reaching a high temperature requires medical attention.
  • Difficulty breathing: If you experience severe shortness of breath, chest pain, or rapid breathing, it’s essential to seek immediate medical care.
    Confusion or persistent vomiting: These symptoms may be signs of complications and should not be ignored.
  • Worsening symptoms: If your symptoms worsen despite home remedies, consult a healthcare provider.
  • Underlying health conditions: People with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems should seek medical guidance early in the illness.

How to cure flu naturally?

Natural remedies for the flu include rest, hydration, herbal teas, and immune-boosting foods like citrus fruits and ginger. Additionally, supplements like Echinacea and elderberry may aid in recovery.

How do you stop cold symptoms fast?

To alleviate cold symptoms quickly, focus on rest, hydration, and warm broths. Herbal teas, honey, and lemon may soothe a sore throat, while steam inhalation may ease congestion.

What is the best cure for the seasonal flu?

Homemade remedies for cold and flu

The best cure for the seasonal flu often involves a combination of rest, hydration, and natural remedies. These may include herbal teas, immune-boosting foods, and supplements like elderberry and zinc.

What drinks cure flu?

Herbal teas, warm water with lemon and honey, and ginger tea may help relieve flu symptoms and provide comfort during illness.

What should I eat when I have the flu?

When you have the flu, opt for easily digestible foods like warm broths, plain rice, and foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Citrus fruits and garlic may also be beneficial.

Which fruit is good for cold and cough?

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are excellent choices for cold and cough relief due to their high vitamin C content.

Conclusion

Seasonal cold and flu may disrupt your life, but with the right natural remedies and self-care practices, you can alleviate those symptoms, support your immune system, and expedite your recovery.

Remember the importance of staying hydrated, getting adequate rest, and nourishing your body with immune-boosting foods. Steam inhalation, gargles, and herbal rinses provide additional relief. Natural supplements like Echinacea and elderberry, along with essential lifestyle tips, further enhances your recovery.

While these remedies may work wonders, it is vital to monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if they worsen or if you experience severe signs such as high fever, breathing difficulties, or confusion. Your health should always be a top priority, and knowing when to consult a healthcare professional is crucial for your well-being.

Also Read: 10 Natural Home Remedies for Kidney Stones Treatment, Pain and Prevention

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