Cold remedies

I was hoping that I would avoid my usual bout with a cold/flu around this time of the year with healthier eating and regular exercise and all that, but no such luck. Once again I'm enduring the stuffed head, sore throat, and achy body. My favorite home remedy to combat a cold, besides Ricola tea, is lemon-honey water: the juice of one lemon in a big mug with hot water and a spoonful of honey. My grandmother's favorite remedy was umeboshi, though I'm not sure why (she believed in umeboshi for a variety of ailments). What are your favorite homemade cold remedies?

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Besides the already mentioned Ricola tea, I grew up with having Linden tea with the juice of one or two lemons per liter as a remedy. Or, better said, as a helper when having a flu.

Mulled wine. My parents swear by it. They don't do it with individual spices as you do, instead using convenient little teabag-style sachets with the spices in them. They also put in orange juice and a slice of orange. Tastes pretty good. =)

Hot Toddy usually gets me to sleep no bother when I've got a cold. It also really does help. All you need is a dram of decent whisk(e)y, poured into a mug, topped up with hot water, then add some lemon juice, and a big spoonful of honey. It fair burns the back of your throat, but it works.

For when you can't drink alcohol or go to sleep, I also recommend echinacea tea (with more lemon and honey), or chicken soup.

Make sure to take medicine, as well. =) Though plenty rest and lots of fluids will also help.

Hope you feel better soon, Maki-San.


It's funny you should mention umeboshi. My mom prescribed umeboshi for us every time we got sick. It was always o-kayu (rice porridge) with umeboshi. It's still a comfort food for me when I get sick although I'm not sure that it does anything for the cold (^_^).

My father swears by yellow powder and milk. Simmer a teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of milk, with salt and sugar to taste, and drink while the milk is still warm. That much turmeric in one place tastes awful, but it's become something of a comfort food for me when I'm sick.

Ginger tea. I don't know that it does anything to help you get well, but it sure feels good on your throat and in your head. I just grate some ginger and let it steep in hot water until it's cool enough to drink.

Campbell's Cream of tomato soup and Ritz crackers!

It's not homemade but it's what my mother warmed up for us when we were sick :-)

A huge bowl of chicken Pho with a ton of chilli sauce and pepper. Tastes good, gives me lots of fluids, and gets all the horrible mucus broken up.

I'm with Fiona... liquor does the trick. This is my grandmother's recipe: fresh sliced ginger in a mug of boiling water, add honey and lemon juice and a shot or two of Jack Daniels. Clears you right up! :) Or just a shot of ginger brandy.

We have always had luck with elderberry tea. We pick our own berries in the fall and juice them to have on hand for a warm cup of tea. We usually add honey because they taste pretty bitter, but we usually are feeling better withing a day.
We are also huge fans of "Airborne", just don't know if you can get this out of the US yet or not.

Hope you feel well soon.

When I have a cold, I drink loads of ginger tea with lemon, honey and cloves. Cloves are slightly anaesthetics while honey soothes the throat and ginger clears up lungs and sinuses. Sometimes I add ground black pepper to help clear up the throat and nose.
And it tastes great :D

oregano essential oil. It tastes like 50 million Italian meals combined into one drop of death, but it really works. It tastes so bad that you need something to chase it down, so I usually get a cool enough to drink cup of ginger, lemon and honey tea ready (making it a hot toddy with a shot of brandy will also work). Then put ONE drop of the oil into a spoonful of honey, prepare myself for 2 days of burping up oregano and the worst taste ever to awaken your tastebuds, then gulp it down followed by sweet, tangy, citrusy goodness.

I hear you can buy it in less concentrated form in capsules that you just swallow down. This sounds much less digusting, but somehow the paint blistering grossness feels like you're more actively killing those germs! The result? Usually I'm on the road to recovery the very next day, if the cold/flu even has a chance to hit. Both the essential oil and the capsules are available at most health food stores.

My number one cold remedy is LOADS of 100% orange juice, fresh or store bought (but not from concentrate), like Original Tropicana with No Pulp. Or a couple of oranges cut up in to little pieces. The Vitamin C and natural sugars combined with loads of sleep always gets me over a bad cold really fast.

But if you don't have time to sleep, I agree about herbal tea. It's soothing and really helps with a sore throat. I like to have tea and the juice.

I wouldn't know about any alcoholic remedies, though. I don't drink alcohol.

Chicken matzo ball soup for me! Vitamin C and honey tea work well too. But, I have to say, after being sick for the whole summer, I'm not the one to dispense the best advice.

Love the liquor answer...haha.

(no, really... a new career ahead for me!)
the humble onion has become my good friend: sliced onions worn in socks on the soles of the foot for a cold that's just beginning to blossom, an old sock stuffed with finely chopped onions next to you in the bed to help you breathe through the night, chopped onion boiled in water for 5 mins, with a drizzle of manouka honey, drunk for a cough, the same treatment for plantain (spitzwegerich) freshly picked of dried, works wonders, lots of inhaling (dead sea salt, sage, thyme, chamomile), home-made cough syrups (let me know if you want details), more for coughs: onion rub (onion fried in oil, rub oil warm into chest), curd wraps, onion wraps, ... i could go on, but don't want to bore you. if you want the full list, let me know, i just did a talk on it at a local school.

Hello Johanna,
My hubby has a TERRIBLE chest cold and was searching online for natural remedies, particularly involving onions (but any info on natural remedies would be great!) I copied what is in the post...but you mentioned a full list...could you send that to me if that is possible? I would GREATLY appreciate it!

I heard a remedy from somebody. You dice up a large white onion finely, and then put a cup of sugar on it, let it dissolve then take it by the tbsp. It gets rid of a cold in a day or two.

Hi my daughter has been sick with a cold for a week now I'm losing my mind watching her be sick. I tried wrapping her in boiled onions lastnight i hoped it would last but she wouldn't sleep. So I had to unwrap her way to early to get results. I would really appreciate ur list u said you had with onions. With just the short couple of hrs in the wrap she woke up today alert and smiling something she hasn't done for a week now. So I have great faith in the onions working with her.

thank you.


i would like to hear more... i was searching for a drink that my daughter.



Hello was wondering if you could give me more information on the onion home remedy
Thanks a bunch

Not so much a cold remedy... but for a sore throat, or heavy mucus in the throat. My mom would warm up a shot of Jack Daniels Whiskey, mix in a spoon or so of lemon juice and a couple spoons of honey. Drink quickly. ___ It burns all the way down, but it does not taste bad... it helps you sleep and there has only been one instance where I didnt notice some sort of improvement the next day.

Like someone else said before me, I use Airborne on occasion. :| Its a bit spendy, but it has lots of vitamin c, some herbs and other suppliments in it. And its amazing for nausea. ^__^ It tastes good too!

I know it doesn't taste great, but it's a good antiviral. I take it by cutting several garlic cloves into matchsticks, putting a stick as far back on my tongue as possible, and downing each with a gulp of water.

My! Looks like everybody and their mothers are getting sick.

I've been nursing Airborne and pulpy OJ these past few days and am about to run (ok, walk) to the grocery store for a piece of free-range chicken thigh to make chicken soup (chicken, daikon radish, a sprinklin gof Chinese "goji," soaked dried shitake mushrooms, and perhaps a knob of ginger...).

Not really a food remedy... but gargling intensely with Listerine really helps kill those germs (and my nerves) at the back and of my throat.

Genki natte ne!


Cold/flu medication?

Yes, I know that this is the unnatural path...but hey, if you can get better in a couple days, then why not give it a try?
Personally, once I start noticing the first few symptoms (sore throat, slight headache, tiredness, congestion, or mild cough), I've tried taking robitussin cf (non-drowsy), and I've noticed I'm a lot better within just a couple of days. I don't know if this is available in europe, but I'm sure some kind of similar variety would be...

Well, just thought I'd mention then maybe this quick fix-me-up will get you to start writing again! HAH

BTW, how come I still have to answer a question even after logging in? Just wondering...

Well I have nothing against cold medicines, and I do take them. But I like to help things along too :)

About the CAPTCHA after logging in...we had some people registering and them spamming using a registered account! Sorry how spammers ruin things so... :(

Putting blind faith in the healing powers of umeboshi, I'm nursing myself back to health with a daily dose of Ochazuke -- -- Miss Maki you truly are a godsend!

I was kindly sent a huge tray of plump pickled plums from Japan and have noticed there is no use-by date. I was just wondering how long they'll keep for if I leave them in the fridge.

As always your help is much appreciated.

I've had umeboshi in the fridge for up to 5 years...not that I recommend keeping them that long, but they do keep pretty well. I hope you feel better soon!

Shot of rum. Then the hot water and lemon juice and honey. Then sweet sleep.
When im at work and cant partake of the rum, i use airborne.

I loved reading the remedies, and really enjoyed some, especially the rum!

But I have to agree with the RAW GARLIC! I think it's nature's own remedy.
I rub raw garlic on whole wheat toast, 1 - 2 cloves, then a little honey. Eat the toast with a cup of tea and you won't believe how quickly you feel better!

P.S. What is Umboshi?

My obaasan prescribes umeboshi and kimchee for just about every minor sickness. She also swears by cider vinegar and ginger tea. And if she's still kicking it after all these years, I believe her. :)

I use raw garlic too. I keep a bunch chopped up in my freezer (ready to use in any recipe - keeps very well & SO easy to use!) so I just swallow some with water, as you would swallow a pill. And it's frozen so you hardly taste it!
This site had some other good ideas as well:

could someone email me info on all forms of onion type cures? i know i saw a website a few weeks ago and thought i bookmarked it but now that i'm sick i can't find it :-/

thank you