Exploring home remedies for colds and flu can be a wonderful cost-effective approach to feeling better. In my experience, these methods have proven not only budget-friendly but also quite effective!
Growing up in a bustling Caribbean household amidst the countryside, I did not grow up taking much conventional medication. For me, a comforting cup of hot herbal tea was the answer to most ailments.
Even now, I still turn to the comforting powers of fever grass (lemongrass), peppermint, or ginger tea to alleviate my troubles and find solace.
Inspired by the world of herbal healing, I’ve adopted various other home remedies to tackle cold and flu symptoms. These solutions, not only gentle on the wallet, have worked wonders for me.
So, in the spirit of saving money and stacking your dollars, enjoy this list of budget-friendly alternative medicine.
This post may contain affiliate links as a way to support the costs of this website (at no additional cost to you); however, I won’t recommend products I don’t believe in. View my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Common Cold vs the Flu
As winter and spring set in, catching a cold or the flu becomes commonplace. These two illnesses are often mistaken for one another due to shared symptoms like sneezing, a sore throat, and nasal congestion.
However, the flu is more severe and can lead to complications, particularly for the young, elderly, and immunocompromised. Influenza is frequently accompanied by fever, body aches, and fatigue.
In my personal history, I’ve managed to avoid the flu and its vaccination, yet I do catch a cold at least once a year.
According to the CDC, millions of people catch the common cold (Rhinovirus) each year. The average is 1 per year for adults and 2 for children. Luckily, a cold usually lasts 7 days and the symptoms can be treated at home.
Are herbal remedies safe?
While I have a positive outlook on their safety, it’s important to recognize that, much like pharmaceuticals, herbal remedies can have varying effects on different individuals. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before trying any new remedies to ensure they’re safe for you.
Remedies To Try For A Cold
Here are seven of my go-to treatments for dealing with cold symptoms:
1. Herbal Tea
Aside from hydration, a steaming cup of herbal tea offers soothing relief for your throat and helps to suppress coughing. It is said to help loosen phlegm and has anti-inflammatory effects.
If you are drinking ginger tea, it is important to cover up and wear socks, as exposure to cold air might worsen symptoms. I learned this lesson firsthand after enjoying ginger tea before heading out at night, only to wake up suddenly sick the next day.
2. Homemade Soup
In my book, there is nothing better than a nice big bowl of chicken soup. Not only is it delicious, but all the hearty ingredients make it very nutritious as well.
That’s why I deem it one of the finest home remedies for cold symptoms. Brimming with vitamins, minerals, and protein, chicken soup nurtures your body from within. Its heat and spices can work wonders against congestion.
During my upbringing, we often relied on flavor packets, not knowing they contained unhealthy additives like MSG. Today, I’ve embraced a much more nourishing chicken soup recipe that is chock full of flavor and where choosing the right squash is crucial!
During my childhood, my mother practically bathed me in Vicks, rubbing it generously all over my body. I’ve since learned that this is also a common practice in many Hispanic households as well.
Vicks acts as a decongestant, providing relief from coughing and minor body aches. Application points included under the nose, chest, and the soles of my feet (followed by socks).
4. Jamaican Cold Remedy
This particular remedy is a personal favorite for alleviating a sore throat – plus, it’s downright delicious. All it requires is mixing some honey and lemon juice (preferably raw honey and a freshly squeezed lemon). Both honey and lemons possess natural antibacterial properties that work wonders on sore throats and coughs.
As I’ve grown older, I’m now allowed to add some rum to the mix as well. Wray & Nephew white overproof rum is a staple in Caribbean households. Not only does it help numb my throat, but it also aids in inducing sleep.
I swear one day I took a shot of this and woke up completely well again.
5. Garlic-infused oil
Garlic is known as a natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral. While growing up, there was always a jar of garlic-infused oil in the fridge.
The preparation involves mincing garlic and combining it with warmed oil. When under the weather, a spoonful of this concoction does wonders in combating the cold virus and soothing a sore throat.
6. Hot shower
Much like using a steam vaporizer, a hot shower is a handy tool for easing congestion and promoting easier breathing. Many individuals also find warmth from a shower or bath to be effective in reducing fever.
Furthermore, the cleansing aspect helps wash away those pesky germs!
7. Salt and Water
Gargling with warm salt water provides soothing relief for a sore throat, and it can effectively break down phlegm while combatting bacteria.
Navigating the world of cold and flu remedies doesn’t need to be daunting or costly. By incorporating these remedies, you’re tapping into a heritage of natural healing that’s both friendly on your budget and kind to your body.
Your well-being matters and these remedies are a testament to the power of nature in supporting your journey to health and vitality.
If you have you tried any of these natural cold remedies, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Also, don’t forget to bookmark this post for future reference!
For more ways to save money, view this guide to living cheaply.