10 natural cold remedies

Colds can range from just a few sneezes and blowing your nose a lot to feeling like you need to go to bed. Lots can be done to help you get off more lightly. As an alternative to the cold remedies in the chemists (which often contain nasty ingredients that can actually do damage to your health),  here are 10 natural ways to deal with a cold whilst being kind to your body.

  1. Rest!  Cold symptoms are your body’s way of saying slow down. Even if you can’t stop working, looking after your children etc.  allow yourself an extra 5 minutes with a hot drink or go to bed earlier.
  2. Keep drinking.  Drink warm water if cold doesn’t appeal (obviously adding lemon is great vitamin C). You need to be properly hydrated to be armed and fight the cold effectively. On average you should be drinking 2 litres (woman) or 3 litres (man).
  3. Zinc has been found in studies to reduce the length of the common cold. Find it in pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, cashews, quinoa, peppers, eggs.
  4. Vitamin C. A wonder vitamin for the immune system. Stock up on fruit and vegetables which have it in abundance.
  5. Garlic. My favourite! It’s ANTI-VIRAL so it’s a brilliant warrior in the war against the cold. Eating it raw is the most powerful. Crush it and leave it for 10 minutes (so the allicin can activate) then have it on a cracker with some olive oil, or however you like.  It can be strong on the stomach so if you are feeling sensitive there, go slow. An alternative is black garlic which is sweet like balsamic vinegar, more palatable and gentler on the stomach.
  6. Elderberry syrup, packed with antioxidants. Make your own or buy some. I like Pukka’s which has manuka honey in it (see 9.) and ginger and lots of lovely herbs. This one is great for kids whenever they are ill and an alternative to sugary cough medicines which have no effect on a cough’s duration.
  7. Eat and drink anti-inflammatory foods. Put fresh ginger and / or turmeric in your hot drinks (see my blog for how to make a ‘Golden Milk’ turmeric latte) and put a range of veg in your soup or smoothie.
  8. Chicken soup. There seems to be some truth to the chicken soup makes you better faster. You may receive similar benefits from a vegan soup as it seems the warmth and the spices help clear nasal passages and the vegetables contain antioxidants which help you fight viruses.  However, if your chicken soup has chicken bone broth you are getting a whole new range of nutrients, fatty acids, gut healers and immune-boosters.
  9. Honey.  It’s anti-microbial and in studies been as effective as a common cough suppressant used in medicines dextromethorphan. Make it local and raw for the most benefits and remember no honey for infants under 1.
  10. Sugar. One to avoid! Sugar contributes to inflammation and is likely to slow your recovery.

One more tip to get fewer colds.  Wash your hands more often.  Germs live on door handles, remote controls and tube trains!

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