Cold Remedies List – Do These Really Work?


“A common cold lasts about a week but if you drink some warm chicken broth and take the over the counter medications it will only last seven days.”

All joking aside, if you search, there are lots of so called cold remedies.

Some are “over the counter” pharmaceutical remedies. Others are vitamins and supplements. Still others are “home remedies”.

Do they work? Maybe… Let’s hear what works for you!

In the mean time, here’s a list to ponder:


Cold Remedies

Vitamin C is apparently one of the most effective natural cold remedies. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells. It can also help prevent the multiplication of viruses while reducing mucus and inflammation in nasal passageways.

airborne tablets
Airborne Citrus Chewable Tablets, Vitamin C

Honey has been used as a common cold fighter for years. Honey may be effective in shortening the duration of a cold.

Rose Hip Tea is full of vitamin C and can help prevent the common cold.

Elderberry syrup.

Nature’s Way Original Sambucus Elderberry Syrup

Lemons, Oranges, Apple Cider. They are all considered to be cold remedies.

Fresh Ginger Root.

Onion? Historically, the layers of the onion were believed to draw contagious diseases from the patient; onions were often hung in sickrooms. Today, we know that onions have antibacterial qualities.

Garlic. Cut up fresh garlic cloves and add them to chicken soup or other foods, or swallow small chunks of raw garlic like pills.

Horseradish. Like garlic and onion, horseradish generates lots of heat to help offset the common cold.

Prunes are rich in fiber, vitamins A and B, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

Boiled onion water? Boil a whole onion, and afterward, drink the water. Cold remedy? Not sure i want to try that one!

Drink plenty of fluids to help break up your congestion. Stay hydrated.

Inhale steam
to ease your congestion and drippy nose. Hold your head over a pot of boiling water and breathe through your nose.

Blow your nose often. It’s important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head.

Stay warm and rested. Staying warm and resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle.

Gargle with warm salt water.

Drink hot liquids. Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion and prevents dehydration.

Take a steamy shower. Steamy showers moisturize your nasal passages and relax you.

An extra pillow. Sleep with an extra pillow under your head. This will help relieve congested nasal passages.

Zinc. Some studies show that zinc could help fight off a cold more quickly.

Halls Sugar-Free Cough Drops, Honey Lemon

Try a garlic shot: 1-2 cloves of very finely minced garlic in a very small glass of water and drink it quickly in one sip.

Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, to a glass of water helps to alkalize the body. Creating an alkaline environment helps kill bacteria and viruses.

Rest! Let your immune system fight it!


Nature’s Way Echinacea

Chicken Soup! What’s better than than Chicken Soup as one of the many cold remedies! It acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils — immune system cells that participate in the body’s inflammatory response. It temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus, helping relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nose lining.

Humidity. Cold viruses thrive in dry conditions — another reason why colds are more common in winter. Dry air also dries the mucous membranes, causing a stuffy nose and scratchy throat. A humidifier can add moisture to your home.

Cinnamon is known to help ease the pain of a dry or sore throat.


What are your home remedies for the common cold?


More: Home Remedy for Upset Stomach

More: Health Benefits Of Vitamin C – Fruits & Vegetables High In Vitamin C


  1. Vitamin C, chicken soup, and definitely zinc tablets at the outset of cold symptoms (they don’t seem to work if the cold has taken hold).

  2. We usually use Emergen-C powdered vitamin C drink at the first feelings of a cold . it contains 1000 mg. of vitamin C. We use a honey and cinnamon mixture for relief of arthritis , especially in our hands . We use raw ,uncooked garlic in a lot of our foods & salads because of its antioxidants . Good old chicken noodle soup always is good when ill.

  3. Vitamin C dries me up in 10 minutes! Chicken soup works too, but mostly as a comfort. Zinc, before the cold takes hold, and echinacea. For adults, a HOT TODDY works wonders. Olive leaf and Oregano oil work great too….but very strong and good against viral!

  4. It is my understanding that the chicken skin has the anti viral effect in it. Not called Jewish penicillin for nothing. So boil with the skin and strain off the fat/cholesterol. Wash those hands and don’t touch your eyes or nose when out. Keep tissues with you. Some stores keep anti bacterial wipes to use on the cart handles. I keep some in my purse. Lordy, the older I get the more the inside of my purse looks like my grandmothers!!! Sigh
    When I was working I always kept Air Borne in my desk drawer. Works. I find all of the above is helpful and can cut back on the severity and time of a cold. The earlier the better.
    It is easy to catch something though. Last winter Mr. caught chicken pox. From where who knows….

    1. Oh and I also use Mr.’s Nasacort to keep some of the swelling down in the sinus. Yes, not natural, but sleep is healing and breathing is GOOD.

    2. MrsUSMC….please reconsider the anti-bac wipes offered….there are multiple article available at NaturalNews that document the damage to our regular immune systems from use of commercial anti-bac wipes. Just FYI.

      1. Pioneer Woman, yes I understand and do not use around the house. Also understand about the run off of antibiotics/soaps into sewers and water ways from our urine, washing etc. However, I at this point when out and about I feel it is ok from time to time. Hopefully my diet and other positive lifestyle habits will over come the occasional use of the wipes. I do thank you for reminding me and will go look at the site. Being pro active is never wasted.
        Peace and health

  5. Depending on what we believe the illness is, we run with many of the typical remedies such as extra vitamin C, zinc lozenges, etc.

    I’ll also drink Earl Grey tea with allot of local honey, eat very spicy food, and sweat it out by running a bathtub of water so hot I can barely endure it and soaking in it until the water is cool. Of course, I’m drinking allot of water while I’m in there, but those seem to help.

  6. I start downing garlic and honey (both anti-bacterial and anti-viral) at the first sign of a cold, and that usually kills it. If it gets a hold (i.e., if I forget or neglect that first step), that’s more complicated. I still take garlic and honey morning and night, but I’ll use chewable vit C tablets as lozenges and sleep slightly elevated. Chicken soup helps in that it has tryptophan and is likely to help you sleep more. Turkey soup would be better. Garlic and onion both help, as they have the same kind of chemicals. Onion just has less of the anti-virals.

  7. There is a three generations NRP family cure for the common cold.

    1. Grandma’s Homemade Chicken Soup, according the Granny “not that store bought crap it’s worthless” and yes she would use the word “crap”. If you caught a cold expect her Chicken Soup for 3 meals a day till it was gone.

    2. Mom’s Vicks VapoRub, yea that stuff in the Blue Jar. Ya would get a bowl of Chicken Soup and full chest full of Vick’s with a hot rag over it and some on the bottom of the feet when ya went to bed. I swear she would buy that by the gallon…..

    3. My favorite is NyQuil , a full shot at bed time. Good stuff, and DayQuil for the day time Plus the Chicken Soup, and Vick’s, I might stink like Vick’s but the cold goes away,

    Finally if I still have the Cold after 3 days, Hot Buttered Rums, (3 or 4) 12 oz’ers on the 4th night. Ya might still be sick, but you just don’t give a Flying Fig HAHAHAHA, and when ya wake up, poof the Cold is gone…..

  8. Have a question for the people here smarter than me, meaning most.

    Are we killing ourselves with all the Anti-this Anti-that we use all the time? Every time little Johnny gets a sniffle he’s rushed to eh Hosp. for something to “make him better”.
    Every time we cut a finger we get 7 days of Antibiotics and 35 stiches.

    Look at the stores with everything under the sun for keeping us healthy, not allowing our own immune system to react first. Should we really take 35 pills to get rid of that cold or should we actually get a cold?

    I guess the real question is, should we be so dependent on pills that we are unhealthy because the body never is allowed to fight the common cold?

    A healthy ‘Lifestyle’, yes there is that word again, seems would be much better than being a pill factory.

    And yes I know there are things we HAVE TO have that pill or whatever for, and yes there are some really NASTY things out there, I don’t have a single problem with that, but seriously, is a slight infection on a cut worthy of 7 days of Anti’s? How about seeing how the body reacts, and feed the body to fight rather than popping pills all day long?
    Reason I’m asking is Pioneer Woman’s comment. We have become such a “clean” society we never are allowed to get sick, hence the immune system is going going gone.

    I agree modern med’s are GREAT, but the Human Body is built also to protect itself, and we’re not allowing it to do so.

    Am I wrong?

    1. NRP, I do concur! Exposure to the bad stuff is needed to develop antibodies to fight it in the future. I do worry about the dumbing down of our immune systems.

    2. No NRP you are not wrong. Being sick is no fun and don’t even get me started on the vaccines. In my day we kids got sick and most mommas were able to be home with us. Childhood diseases are healthy in the long run. They get our immune system going. Now it is a horror if child gets sick. So many mommas are working and the drug companies get fat pockets. There will ALWAYS be a disease as long as there are humans. It is part of our natural process. In Chicago there is an out break of AFM, Acute Flaccid Myelitis which is similar to polio. When we conquer one another rises.
      Vick Vapo Rub and warm rags on the chest yep my momma too!

    3. NRP….no you are right. DH and I were talking the other day about the fact that kids don’t get to make and eat mud pies any more (not literally….but you get the gist). We used to run in the woods and jungles (DH) and get filthy dirty having fun. We scratched our knees and elbows climbing trees and wiped our noses on our sleeves while running the fields….we are STILL HERE! And honestly, seldom ill, rarely catch a cold. DH’s illness 2 years ago was ENVIRONMENTALLY induced!
      So, yes, live the lifestyle folks…and encourage our younger generations to do the same!

  9. PS;
    Where the heck are the Carrots and Green Chili in that photo of Soup in the Article????

  10. We just started Elderberry syrup, taken daily. Two household members already got the flu. So far DH and myself have not gotten the flu, and we hope to keep it that way. Generally once it enters the house, we all get it. So this will be a good test. I will update with any changes.

    1. I forgot to mention that we are the only ones in the house taking the elderberry syrup.

  11. I have been using Vit C, Elderberry syrup and Zinc. Vicks is the hubbys favorite cure all.
    I need a cure for Vertigo! I have had it for a few days. If I keep my head steady, all is good. The moment I start moving around, I am dizzy as can be. I am thinking I got it because of a lil virus I just have been getting over. Not fun at all. Really don’t need this right now. Luckily the virus was short lived. I took all my “cures”. Maybe they helped a little. lol…

    1. Texas girl, try the oregano,..It is highly antiviral: oil of oregano…internal for a few days .. up to 27 drops split into 4 doses thru the day… put in warm coffee ( a teaspoon of either.)or hot tea and hold under tongue for at least a minute then swallow… chase with something. also I use peppermint around the ears.. a decongestant, so helps reduce edema in ears …sounds like an inner ear problem and they often follow virus’.

  12. Vicks Vapo Rub on the chest, hot tea with honey and a shot of whiskey, at bed time.
    Not sure it worked, but I liked it!

  13. An jalapeno a day (or 4 or 5, maybe 6 to 10) keeps the cold and flu away. I can’t remember the last cold or case of the flu I’ve had. Been years ago. Course, it may be the fact I rarely go to town, or mix with crowds.

    1. Dennis:
      I need to convert you yo Thai Peppers (Thai Dragon) they have a good flavor and don’t burn on the way out……. 😁

      1. My eyes were blurry this morning while having my coffee and reviewing the comments… I read your comment as “preppers are really high in vitamin c.” ;)

  14. Haven’t had a cold/flu for years. Knock on wood…. I stopped the flu shot years ago, as recommended by my doctors……mmm, doing just fine without, thanks.
    GF makes a mean chicken soup. Fresh garlic, red pepper, home grown chicken, Amish noodles, etc.
    Eat right, plenty of sleep (yeah, right), up the vit, C, poroixide in the ears, etc.

    NRP’s statement reminds of my dad( he was..,lol)
    Put my hand through a glass door, chasing my brother. Had a huge cut on my wrist, (probably just missed the artery)
    Take him to ER. At least get him stitches
    Nah bandage him up and let him play in the sandbox.
    The good ole days. Yep I survived, dad.

    1. Joe C, ha! Yep, I remember I stepped on a nail (went right through my tennis shoe and into the tender arch of my foot) when I was 10. I did not want to go to the doctor. My mom made a solution with vinegar and had me soak my foot. It took care of any infection. Her dad was a pharmacist and he would say the drugs would kill us so the only thing we ever had in our house was Bufferin. They were not meant to take continually, only once in a great while when normal herbs or remedies were not working.

      1. DAMedinNY
        Ohh lots of stories of past ‘parental abuse’ when we were Young.
        Need we say more?

        Nah we speak for ourselves!

        Ohh the humanity….

  15. Vit C, Garlic, Echinacea, and Zinc if I have it. About ever 3 or 4 hours. Also throw in some Honey, but it all fails there is Old Man’ hot toddy! I only take that once my sense of taste is gone! It works, after you wake up.
    And speaking of antibiotics. The cat took exception when I rolled over on him and I have a scratch or bite on my arm. I didn’t get up right away as old man would have shot the cat so it did get infected and abscessed. They gave me an antibiotic which caused me to have a sever bloody nose on and off for 3 days and is still bothering me. There has to be another way!

    1. Old Lady, Just saw this post… put oil of oregano IN and ON the a circle about an inch around the redness in the whole area….. it kills some bad stuff like the mrsa and other infections that are resistant.. keep it draining, hot moist compresses, danger is if pocket of infection gets trapped. and it heals over on outside.

  16. I had a cold about a month ago. At the first sign I took Oil of Oregano twice daily, Vit C twice daily, took the elderberry syrup 1 teaspoon every 3 hrs and sprayed my throat with colloidal silver. Was over the cold in 4 days and actually felt better by the end of the 2nd day. Bone broth and teas with honey also, which I force on my spouse when he is sick.

    My dad would suggest a shot of whisky. I think the same principal as NRP states, you have the cold but you don’t care. It does make me go right to sleep if I ever do that so I do rest.

  17. I used to get the flu 2 or 3 times a year even getting the vaccine, and then I’d get a couple of rino virus type colds just for fun, 20 years ago a friend advised me to take one capsule of standardized (means it is an extract) echinacea every third or fourth day, I do that religiously and haven’t had a cold or flu since, haven’t had a flu shot in 17 years. Cheap, easy, and harmless to try, maybe it’ll work for you. 1 cap every 3 days, just ignore the directions to take 4 a day, that’s what we call salesmanship.

  18. Does anyone know of a no sugar added Sambucol product? The one I bought (my bad) has added fructose. I’m at the edge (pre-diabetic) of type II, and I’m trying to adjust my preps in that direction. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    1. Anon, would have to be a tincture, see note below to Terra…elderberries can be bough online reasonable dry. portioon of dry to container is 1/3 container of berries and fill with PGA. needs to sit with all berries covered at least 4 weeks. strain press out all drippins and label.

  19. Terra
    I hope you are reading this segment. A lot of good info for your type 1 grandson.
    I believe my tighter control on my blood sugar has kept me from alot of illness throughout the years.
    Colds, flu, stress will peak blood sugars. Those higher sugars will feed illnesses, thus harder/longer for the diabetic to recover from those illnesses.
    Always thinking of you, your family and your grandson.

    1. Joe C.,
      Yes, I am reading and taking notes from the posts. I worry so much about my grandson getting the flu. The doctor said if he did he may be hospitalized. He got his first flu shot a couple of weeks ago. I was just so worried that I talked my son into making sure he got one. I’m not sure if we made the right decision or not, but I was afraid he would get so sick he would be hospitalized. Also elderberry syrup without sweetener (Sambucol product) would be good to find. I’ve made elderberry syrup last year with honey, that was before he was diagnosed.

      Thank you sweet Joe C for thinking of us. I know you have had it a long time, so I hope to learn all I can from you.

      1. Terra, extract elderberries with vodka.. when time to give a dose to children, put the appropriate dose in a few ounces of very hot water and stir for a few min. according to herbalist, this evaporates most of alcohol off within 30 min. can add a diabetic safe sweetner and a drop of an essential oil like sweet orange or lemon for an added vitamin c boost.( at most 2 drops is all you would use in a 1/2 cup…)

  20. I like chicken soup for a cold. I agree with PW, hot toddies also help. I see lots of people here like elderberry for colds and flu. I have 1 gallon,…make that 1/2 gallon of sweet elderberry wine from s rest batch earlier this summer. Hoping that will be an effective flu and cold deterrent as I have another 4 gallons brewing in the pantry right now.😁

  21. I don’t try to lesson the duration of a cold, I milk it for all it’s worth. My dear wife is such a softy she waits on me hand and foot when I’m ill so I’m into hurry to get better.

  22. Find your local Vietnamese place and order a bowl of piping hot Pho, add some jalapenos and a good squeeze of lime and you have a big bowl of feelgood guaranteed!

  23. All I read is good advise. I have been fighting a cold for a week and I am winning. Just thought to mention in addition to chicken soup and vitamin C, I drink Echinacea tea and Manuka honey.

  24. We have been battling a cold for about. 2 weeks. The older boys bring it home from school and it makes the rounds about twice. I swear all these kids share are germs lol.
    I am pretty old school. I don’t make them take a bunch of stuff for the colds. Like NRP said. Let em get some immunity building up. Unfortunately we r using up a bit of my supply of tissues and TP. Oh well better than my shirt when the little ones sit on my lap 😋. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. We will be 32 tomorrow and should be a raucus good time.
    Peace to all

  25. In the medical field we had a saying. A common cold treated by an incompetent layperson will be better in 10 days. The same cold treated by a good doctor will be better in 10 days. Personally I’m a fan of chicken soup. As an aside i took part in an experiment vaccine in the army which was for 2 kinds of viruses that cause common colds. Half of th group took placebos the other half took the vaccine, Neither half knew what they took. For the next ten years I did not catch a cold, Then the vaccine wore off and I caught the cold from hell.

    Nobody dies from a cold but the cold can increase your chances of developing pneumonia. Which most definitely can put you under the ground.

    I believe in chicken soup, lot of it! I’ll also take Vitamin C, (usually in OJ and with vodka).

  26. Am a little late here but I wanted to let you know to check the ingredients in the Vick’s vapo rub. Some of the ingredients like the eucalyptus is not natural It’s artificial, I grew up with it too but a couple of years ago I found it wasn’t working as well. DH bought the store brand as I’d run out of the Vick’s. The store brand had natural eucalyptus in it . Maybe I’m being silly but I felt the store brand worked better.

  27. I made a batch of our seasonal cough remedy, basically boiled ginger root and honey a drop of oregano oil in vodka, a tsp will stop a cough, or maybe a couple.
    Also we do a snout wash, salt water sinus wash.

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