Top Ten Natural Home Remedies for
the Common Cold

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March 1, 2008, last updated June 8, 2014

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

The common cold is not a specific medical condition. The
term "common cold" refers to a nasal or sinus infection
caused by any of over 200 known viruses, the most
common of which is the rhinovirus.

Whatever the cause, the common cold has a powerful
effect on our health and our economy. It has been
estimated that the common cold costs $3.5 billion annually
to treat in the US. In Canada, a 2011 study by researchers
from the University of Ottawa and the Seekers Centre for
Integrative Medicine estimated that
over 40% of all missed
work days are due to the common cold

Here are the Top 10 natural home remedies to shorten the
duration and severity of the common cold:

Hot Lemonade.  If the cold is bronchial (already in your
lungs) you need an antibiotic from a doctor to clear it up. If
it is still high in the chest, try  taking lemonade with
Splenda as a hot drink. Lemons contain citrus acid, Vitamin
C, which is a natural anti-biotic used for centuries before
the discovery of penicillin, helps to fight mild bacterial
infections. Lemons also contain synephrine, a decongestant
found in many drugstore medications.

Hot Green or Chamomile Tea with Lemon and Honey.
Chamomile tea has been identified in research studies as a
"super tea".  

Chamomile tea helps to boost your immune system,
regulates your blood sugar and reduces the complications
from diabetes.

As an immune booster, it is among the best.
Green tea is among the best teas for boosting the body's
immune response. It has been used for thousands of years
in Asian cultures for this purpose.

Hot Peppers and Horseradish. Hot peppers and horse
radish contain capsaicin, a natural decongestant that
studies have found are effective in opening your sinuses.

Chicken soup. Several research studies have determined
that Mom was right. Chicken soup is in fact effective at
reducing the symptoms and longevity of the common cold.

Much has been written about the possible effects of chicken
soup on colds and upper respiratory infections, with some
studies finding no significant effects at all. However, the
final pendulum appears to have swung toward the soup.

A 2000 study from researchers at the Pulmonary and
Critical Care Medicine Section, Nebraska Medical Center"A
mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by
which the soup could result in the mitigation of
symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections."

Zinc. Take your multi-vitamin and make sure it contains
zinc. Zinc is effective at reducing the longevity and severity
of cold symptoms, according to several studies. However,
at least one study disagrees. A study completed in 2000 by
the Madigan Army Medical Center and others concluded
that "the evidence for effectiveness of zinc lozenges in
reducing the duration of common colds  is still lacking".

Vitamin C. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines,
kiwis and bell peppers all contain Vitamin C. Load up on
these foods when you have a cold and you will shorten the
duration of the cold by several days.

Mate'. If you're lucky enough to live in South America,
you know the wonderful benefits of this native drink. It is a
combination of herbs brewed and consumed like tea. It
lessens mucous production of colds.

Ginger. Fresh ginger and lemon in a tea is one of the
natural remedies found in Puerto Rico and Latin cultures. It
reduces the severity and longevity of colds and especially
the cough associated with colds.

Onions. Onions contain sulfurophanes. These
compounds make you cry when you cut onions but they
also seem to help to reduce the severity of colds. So brew
up a hot onion stew.

Garlic. Same as onions but more powerful. Garlic soups
and teas have been used for centuries as natural remedies
for reducing the severity and longevity of the common cold.

11. Bonus Tip. Stop eating sugar. Sugar and processed
foods depress the immune system through a complex series
of biochemical reactions.

12. Vitamin E. Studies have suggested that taking
additional Vitamin E (from 200 mg to 800 mg) offers some
protection from colds and pneumonia, especially among the


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Chicken soup helps to reduce upper
respiratory infections caused by the
common cold.