When you’re on a budget, at home remedies for cold and flu are a great way to save money. But, I just think they’re better!
As a person with a large Caribbean family and growing up in the countryside, I did not grow up taking much medication. The cure for all my ailments would be a nice cup of hot herbal tea.
To this day, I still look to the benefits of drinking fever grass (lemongrass), peppermint, or ginger tea for all my troubles and just simply for comfort.
Following that route of herbal healing, I grew up using many other at-home remedies for cold and flu symptoms. Not only do they work for me, but they are also cheap!
So in the spirit of saving money and stacking your dollars, enjoy this list of budget-friendly alternative medicine.
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Common Cold vs the Flu
During the winter and spring months, it is usual to catch the cold or flu. They are often mistaken for one another because they share common symptoms such as a sore throat, sneezing, and a stuffy/ running nose.
However, the flu is more severe and can lead to complications in the others such as the young, elderly, and immune-compromised. Influenza is more commonly accompanied by fever, body aches, and fatigue.
I’ve never gotten the flu, nor have I ever received the flu vaccination. However, I catch a cold at least once per year.
According to the CDC, millions of people catch the cold each year. The average is 2-3 a year for adults and more for children. A cold usually lasts 7-10 days and the symptoms can be treated at home.
Are herbal remedies safe?
I would like to think that they are, but like pharmaceuticals, different people can have side effects that others don’t. It is important to check with your doctor and pharmacist whether they are safe for you.
• Herbal Tea
While also keeping you hydrated, a cup of hot tea also has a soothing effect on your throat and suppresses cough. It is said to help loosen phlegm and different herbs have anti-inflammatory effects.
If you are drinking ginger tea, be sure to cover up and wear socks or you can get worse from the chilly air. I’ve drank it before and went out at night, only to wake up the next day suddenly sick.
• Homemade Soup
There is nothing better to me than a nice big bowl of chicken soup. Not only is it delicious, but all the ingredients make it very nutritious as well.
This is why I consider it one of the best at-home remedies for cold symptoms. It contains vitamins, minerals, and protein which help to heal your body from the inside out. The heat and spiciness can also help with congestion.
Growing up, my family used a flavor packet which we now know is unhealthy due to additives such as MSG.
Now I use this chicken soup recipe that is so much more nourishing and chock full of flavor. The most important part is choosing a good squash!
My mother basically used bathe me in Vicks as a child, she rubbed it all over my body. The main places are under the nose, on the chest, and on the bottom of your feet (be sure to put on socks).
It is a decongestant and helps to relieve cough. It is also used for minor body aches.
• Honey and Lemon Benefits (maybe with some rum)
This remedy is my favorite one for soothing a sore throat because it is also just delicious. Both honey and lemons are natural antibacterials that work to heal your sore throat and suppress cough.
Now that I’m older, I also add rum sometimes. Wray & Nephew white overproof rum is a staple in Caribbean households. I use it to help in numbing my throat and to aid sleep.
• 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.
To make it, the garlic is minced and added to warmed oil. When sick, my family would take a spoonful to help kill the cold virus and soothe our aching throats.
• Hot shower
Similar to using a steam vaporizer, a hot shower can be used to help clear congestion and help you breathe easier. Many people also find a warm shower or bath to be useful in reducing a fever.
It also keeps you clean and washes the germs off!
• Salt and Water
Gargling with warm salt water helps to soothe a sore throat. It breaks down phlegm and can kill bacteria.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these at-home remedies for cold symptoms. Have they worked out well for you? Be sure to save this post for when you need it!
For more ways to save money, view this guide to living cheap.