Best Cold Remedies – 7 Popular Home Cold and Flu Remedies

During cold and flu season, it's normal to see commercials touting the latest cold and flu remedies on TV that claim to stop your suffering in their tracks. Most of these over the counter remedies treat the symptoms, but do not lessen the duration of a cold. Also, many of these medications can make you drowsy or feel drugged.

Home cold and flu remedies are more popular than ever and are an alternative to those who do not want to subject themselves to medicines with lots of mysterious ingredients. While there is no cure for the common cold or flu, there are several popular home remedies that can help lessen their duration and effects on your body.

Chicken Soup

Eating a bowl of savory chicken soup has long been one of the most popular home cold and flu remedies around. This old fashioned remedy has really stood the test of time. Chicken soup was prescribed for colds as far back as ancient Egyptian times. This remedy has probably survived so long because it does contains protein, which the body needs to get better, plus, it goes down easy and is warm and comforting. Recent research has shown that chicken soup does have anti-inflammatory nutrients. So, go ahead and make yourself a nice, warm bowl of chicken soup.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is prized for its immune boosting benefits to the body. When you get a cold or the flu, the virus tends to attack your healthy blood cells, which then have fight back – this makes you tired and drains you of energy. When you drink orange juice or any other citrus juice packed with vitamin C, you are literally giving your healthy blood cells a boost of power to repel those nasty cold germs. Many people choose to take the tablet form of vitamin C. Either way, vitamin C is one of the most powerful home remedies you can take to fight off a cold.


Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy that is used to lessen the duration of a cold. You can find Echinacea in capsule form, in lozenges or as an alcohol based tincture. While Echinacea does have curative benefits, its effect in cold fighting often has mixed results. Alcohol based Echinacea tinctures can last for several years, while the dry leaves found in many pills and capsules can lose their effectiveness over time. Also, the quality of the Echinacea varies greatly due to the nature of the plant. The upper part of the plant contains most of the benefits, while the lower part has little therapeutic benefit.

Spicy Food

Spicy foods that contain garlic, onions and cayenne pepper can help you recover quicker from a cold. These three foods contain powerful antioxidants and immune system compounds that will aid your body in expelling the virus. Eating a bowl of chili for lunch or dinner is a great way to eat your way to feeling better in no time.

Vaporizers and Personal Steamers

Hot steam rising up through your nasal passages and into your sinuses and lungs is a great way to clear congestion out of your system. One of the things that makes having a cold so miserable is that your nose is clogged and your chest if filled with gunk. Vaporizers and personal steamers work by adding water to a base and then heating it up until it becomes steam. You breath in the steam and it clears your system, allowing you to rest easier.

Steam Bath

Soaking in a nice, hot bath is relaxing anytime, but when you have a cold the steam rising up from the tub can have a soothing effect on your tired body. Steam is great for breaking up the congestion that clogs your sinuses and chest. To create an aromatherapy experience, add a few drops of peppermint oil or camphor oil to the hot water. Please do not use this remedy for babies and toddlers, as it may cause them injury.

Hot Toddy

Hot toddies are one of the long time favorite cold and flu remedies. Many people believe that curling up on the couch (or in a favorite chair) and drinking a hot toddy is a good way to fight off a cold or flu, but in fact, there is little evidence that this drink has any curative benefits.

A hot toddy is made with hot water, or tea, lemon juice, sugar or honey and either rum, brandy, or whiskey. While delicious, the American Lung Association cautions that drinking alcohol while sick with a cold will lead to dehydration, which can make a cold last longer. However, if you can not sleep and do not want to take an over the counter cold medication, drinking a hot toddy with alcohol will send you into a nice slumber.