Cold remedies list

Common Head 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 remedies for the common cold 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. No, this is not medical advice. But add your own cold remedies in the comments below.

Cold Remedies

Vitamin C is apparently one of the most effective natural cold remedies. And, great for general immune system support. Vitamin C is part of my daily vitamin regiment. 500 mg in the morning and 500 mg later. I mix the powdered form of vitamin C in water. If and when I get a head cold, I’ll double that dose, or more.

Zinc. Some studies show that zinc could help fight off a cold more quickly. A zinc supplement is also part of my daily vitamin regiment (30 mg). See link below for foods high in zinc.

Elderberry Syrup. A cold remedy advised by many people…

Nature’s Way Original Sambucus Elderberry Syrup
(view on amzn)

Chicken Soup! What’s better than Chicken Soup as one of the many cold remedies! I read this… “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.” Plus, it’s a good excuse to sip on some delicious chicken soup…

Drink plenty of fluids to help break up your congestion. Important – Stay hydrated! Consider electrolytes too!

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.

Honey has been used as a common cold remedy for years. Anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Honey may be effective in shortening the duration of a cold. Mix some honey with water boiled with ginger root.

Echinacea. Another popular choice among the many remedies for a cold.

Nature’s Way Echinacea

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

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.

Rest! Let your immune system fight it! Don’t over-exert yourself while you have a cold.

Lemons, Oranges, Apple Cider. Any fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. They are all considered to assist as a sort of cold remedy (see link below).

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

Gargle with warm salt water.

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

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.

Vick’s VapoRub. I can smell it by just thinking about it…
#1 Best Seller

NyQuil & DayQuil. Over-the-counter make-you-feel-better cold remedy.

What are your remedies for the common cold?

[ Read:

Fruits and Vegetables Highest in Vitamin C

Home Remedy for Upset Stomach

Foods High in Zinc


  1. Colds and especially sinus infections. This one takes a little effort. My experience with OTC drugs provided some congestion relief at the cost of my ability to concentrate and think clearly. What works for me…

    Put something on a device that can entertain you as you will be spending about 20-30 minutes per session.

    Get a comfortable as possible seat in front of your bathroom sink. Collect two washcloths and start by wetting one with hot water – as hot as you can stand. Cover your face with said cloth for as long as the heat lasts. Refresh the cloth w/ more hot water.

    After about 2-3 minutes switch to a cold water soaked cloth. Repeat the same tactic as with the hot water.

    Switch back and forth for a total of 20-30 minutes. At least two sessions per day.

    If you have sinus infection spots, you will be spitting a lot of corruption in the sink.

    My grand theory is that this works by encouraging blood to flood the sinus zone tissues with the heat and drive it out with the cold. This expansion and contraction encourages accumulated materials to leave the area and you spit them out.

    Impractical for many, but it has given me many hours of direct relief.

    It tends to be a little hard on your facial skin, so a little moisturizing can help especially in Winter up North.


  2. If you must go to work an 8+ hr shift and you need to be clear headed enough to drive to and from the job, I highly recommend Alka Seltzer Plus cold medicine prior to going to work. You will still feel like crap butt you will make it through the shift. The night time formula contains benadryl which will dry up your sinuses butt may make you too sleepy to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. This was told to me by my lab partner in chemistry who was the daughter of a pharmacist and went on to become a pharmacist like her dad. These are some of the few combination meds I take over the years. At 60 years of age, most of my jobs and shifts have been in healthcare in one capacity or another. As an RN these days, I trust some pharmacists more than I trust some Dr’s out there. My diet during these episodes of working-sick, is mostly bland food though the chicken soup may be interspersed with mild menudo or pho from the Vietnamese restaurants. Menudo can be found in a can here on the Left Coast where the pho must come from a shop that makes it. I keep gatorade, sprite soda and coke around during these times as well. These seem to calm a nervous stomach.

  3. Like the meme says, “Only a woman with labor pains can come close to feeling as miserable as a man with a cold.”

    I get rid of my cold by giving it to somebody else.

    For treating a cold, lots of vitamin C and echinacea. I also suck on a clove of garlic. The garlic usually keeps me from giving it to anybody else.

    When you walk around in public sucking on a clove of garlic it acts as a prophylactic in that it keeps people with colds away from you. Skunk scent work the same way.

  4. Seeing that our household just got over Covid and the flu bug . I wanted to say I had good success with chicken and dumplings, seasoned with garlic , onion powder, and a drizzle of honey . My symptoms were their worst for two days of fevers. But after doing this diner and lots of zinc by day three fevers broke and congestion started to ease up .

  5. The best chicken soup is made with fresh chicken not frozen. Take off the skin and cook for at least a day, on low. What makes it work is the bone broth. If you are a canner, for your food store, make quarts of just the broth and turn it into whatever you want later.
    I add a little onion and garlic (fresh) celery, assorted herbs, chopped carrots. I change my spices, but we love smoked paprika. We like dark meat, so I used wings and thigh chicken. When we harvest our roosters, I use the whole bird. My family loves dumplings, which I cook on top after I take the chicken out to cool. I use five eggs, 1/2 t. baking soda, a little sage, dill, salt and pepper, Add water and keep mixing until you get a consistence that just barely falls off the spoon. Drop teaspoons full into very hot broth, try not to put them on top of each other, Cover the pot, cook hot and no peaking! Everyone has their fav. My has been evolving for fifty-two years.
    Love all the home remedies on here!
    For coughs and cold, I use a mixture of honey, lime, thyme springs and fresh ginger. Part gets cooked down to half and poured over the lime and ginger, keeps for a month. I add whiskey….Maybe all I really need is the bottle…

      1. Mrs U. Are you kidding me??? I take it off due to the fat when it cools! I thought the anti inflammatory benefit was in the bone marrow and never thought about anti viral. Learned another good thing one here today….wow! I : love the skin when it is nice and crispy, but in soup…gag me with a spoon..

        1. Ariel,to get max benefit, cook the skin with the bone broth, cool broth when finished, dip out large pcs skin. cool well. skim fat-carefully.(secure. Heat and place in sterilized jars, with sterilized lids- can be second use pickle jars, relish ,salsa long as glass and orig. lids.) wonderful stuff for making gravy or frying chicken.dip out bones, and the 2 cleaned egg shells you should have put in with bones..w/tablespoon acv. ( egg shell has property in lining to fully release minerals from bones)

        2. Just sayin, Are you keeping the skin or just the fat that forms on top of the broth? I keep bacon broth near my stove, but never thought about chicken fat. I bet my grandmother used it to make milk (white) gravy. Do you keep it in the fridge? I have my own beautiful eggs, so would not be afraid to add a shell. I read a lot and have never head this. In no way am I doubting what you are telling me. I have a book on bone broths and will check there, with the understanding that in no way can you learn everything from a book.
          I sent four quarts of my homemade chicken soup to my grown son in Iowa when he got Covid two years ago. Even though it made me feel good, I wondered if the ninety minutes in the canner destroyed the nutrition and cure I was trying to provide. Spent over 100.00 overnighting soup, Vick and nose spray….pricey soup…

        3. Just Sayin, Made it this week and forgot to add the eggshell, darn it. I could not store it in jars. I used the slow cooker, it was full, but the adult grandkids were here. My granddaughter had a cold and always counted on Nana’s chicken soup. It was gone in two days.
          I have been trying to use up a #10 can of Augusons Farms Cheesy Broccoli soup, so I threw a cup in the broth. It really gave it a good flavor…richer. Maybe not as good for you, but we need to learn how to best use these fillers if we have them. You can just throw handfuls of veggies in it (the storage stuff) and it is pretty tasty…goes a long way. I opened this one in July.

  6. Lot of good advice here, most of which I do for a head cold. I usually try to “sweat out” any type of malady I get hit with. One thing I do for head colds is wrap my head in a heating pad. Somehow heating my head and sinuses seems to kill off the infection in my head. Or maybe it’s the electromagnetic waves from the heating pad affecting my brain. Does offer a lot of relief from a clogged head and does cut duration. Ymmv.

    1. Ha! I am sitting here reading this with a heating pad wrapped around my head and sipping on homemade limeade with honey and elderberry juice. Caught DH’s head cold yesterday. Also put a reminder on my calendar to replenish all meds in June/July. Thankfully, I had most of what we both needed because neither of us were sick last year. I was looking for Vaporub in the grocery store last week and all cold and flu meds were very slim pickings.

  7. From Foxfire 1
    Put goose grease salve on chest.
    Drink lambs tongue/lambs ear and whiskey tea.
    Onions roasted in ashes. Good for children.
    Brine from kraut.
    As much powdered quinine as will stay on the end of a knife, add to water and drink, (hydroxychloroquine) so to speak.
    Other mentions are Boneset, ginger, red pepper, rabbit tobacco, boiled pine needles, whiskey, honey and vinegar.
    Personally fresh chicken broth, C, zinc, elderberry, echinacea and whatever else I can throw at it. The steroid type nasal sprays are helpful too, short term. I my younger days when tummy could take it, a lemon squeezed in V-8 juice with Worcestershire sauce which was my daddy’s remedy.

    1. Mrs. U. Are you sure these Foxfire 1 cures weren’t really a way to avoid pregnancy? I think my husband would have slept on the floor…..Gotta chuckle…

  8. FWIW, I have used lemon and honey with hot water and a shot (1+oz) of scotch whiskey or tequila). Two enteric aspirin and then bed. When I would feel it coming on, instead of chicken soup, I would beat feet to my favorite Mexican restaurant and have a bowel of Menudo, which is served with oregano, fresh diced onion, and lemon. Worked for me for years. Stay well my friends. As my grandma used to say: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    not to pick fun….

    Butt, how much is a ‘bowel’ full?

    The ole hot chilies will definitely give you a bowel full

    1. Joe C,
      A “bowel full” is like our “cubic boat-load”, except I think it’s measured in metric units, if I am my mistaken.

      1. My bad. Bowl-full. “Bowel” is found in the Good Book several times.

        1. Dweezil, You shared, that is the important part. To e, or not to e, is not the question. Bowl is an often misspelled word. When I was in college, I work nights in a restaurant. On day, on the specials board, I wrote Bowel of Chili. It took a while to live it down. Still graduated and taught kids with learning disabilities…smart kids…learned differently…Pretty sure I was one of them, but did a good job with cover-up.

  10. Being in my mid 60’s, I’ve got almost 50 years of figuring out how to manage a cold or flu. I’ve tried it all. Bottom line here is what works well for me.

    Chicken soup, garlic, steam, hot soaks, etc. and all that… fine but while it may feel good I could never discern a significant mitigation or alleviation of symptoms or reduction to the duration.

    I now manage colds and flues this way:
    For Symptoms (how to make it more tolerable)
    1. Nasal spray as needed using a long lasting spray that contains 0.05% oxymetazoline hydrochloride (HCl). After 4-5 days one can become a bit addicted to the spray as the membranes in the nose will swell without it, clogging your nose breathing. No worries, keep using it and when the nasal congestion is over and you want to curtail the spray, do so and then use pseudo ephedrine HCl for a day or two to shrink the membranes and the addiction is over. I’ve done it dozens of times and works every time.
    2. For fever and aches, ibuprofen. I generally don’t use Tylenol (acetaminophen) as it is very hard on the liver.

    For Duration- to shorten the duration of a cold or flu the only thing I have found that actually worked for me are supplements.
    1. Zinc – 100mg/day
    2. C – 500-1000 mg 2x/day
    3. D3 – 4000 IU/day
    4. NAC – 600mg/day
    5. Quercetin – 250mg/day
    6. Glutathione- 500 mg/day

  11. What tends to work for me is plenty of sleep, plenty of protein, staying fully hydrated, and DayQuil or it’s equivalent.

  12. The scientific method is a useful tool and a valuable way to evaluate hypotheses.

    It does not encompass all knowledge and it certainly can be a fatal conceit to say that just because we haven’t conducted a controlled, random, double blind, statistically significant trial(s) on a particular idea, treatment, or procedure that it has no value for at least some portion of humans and/or animals.


    1. NJ,

      Another thing that is real in medicine…

      Have you heard of the Placebo effect ?

      A certain portion of the population when given a “sugar pill” for some condition or disease will respond positively and/or sometimes be completely healed likely because they believe that the “medicine” will help them.

      In a way “Science” cannot explain, at this point, it works.

      Scientism (a form of Humanism) is a very prideful belief system…


  13. Lactoferin
    Still researching the subject and it seems to work on RNA and DNA viruses. I will try it out next time I get a buggy.
    And Bill, you are spot on with the Quercetin. It lets the zinc into the cells like HQL, but it’s not as effective but it is, in my opinion, safe.

  14. Tmac, I use about three inches of the ginger cut into coin size pieces. Besides what you add, I use a tsp of turmeric, and a little black pepper. Oh, and a lemon
    I use almost the same for a sore throat or cough, except lime. I cook the water (2 C) thyme sprigs and ginger down to half, pour over honey and lime, strain, add whisky or brandy after straining it. It works….I have victims to prove it….oh, I mean patients…

    1. Ariel – Oh we use turmeric in so many things and lemon juice too, fresh off the tree four months per year. Black pepper can be very powerful too, but only fresh ground from the Indian Tellicherry variety.

      1. Tmac, we are north of you and would have to put a lemon tree in the greenhouse for the winter. Maybe a little Meyers lemon tree would work. Before the freeze, the 12x 10 space was so crowded that I had to more sideways through it. A small tree might fit on a shelf in a corner, worth a try. I will look for the pepper, thanks everyone!

        1. @Ariel – definitely on the Meyers lemon which does fine in a container and can overwinter occasional freezing temperatures in a greenhouse. Ours is about 48″ tall and about 40″ wide and a prolific producer. We fertilizer ours with citrus specific nutrients.

      2. @Tmac – +1 on the tillacherry pepper – it is great and effective. Available on amzn.

  15. Additional note on lactoferrin.
    Some research notes that it can be useful for treating bacterial infections as it prevents bacteria from absorbing iron from the body.
    The substance is found in the colostrum, the very first milk a mother feeds her baby.

  16. Home made chicken soup definitely for a cold. I start with a couple of chicken hind quarters (skin on) boiled in 2 quarts of water. I also add a heaping tablespoon of “Better than bullion” chicken bullion to the water. After cooking for 3 or 4 hours, I take the chicken out and dice up the meat. To the broth, I add chopped up onion, celery, sliced up carrot, 2 or 3 cloves chopped up garlic, one or two thin slices of ginger diced up small, and one eighth tsp. or a little less of cayenne pepper. Then put the diced up chicken in. Let simmer for a while. Some times I like noodles in my soup, so I pre cook the noodles at a full boil for about 3 minutes, then drain and add to soup. Stuff works. Yum!
    Also sometimes I mince a clove of garlic, and mix with a tablespoon of honey, then down the hatch. I have to chase it with some tea or something so I don’t gag. Yuck! But it helps.
    Then there’s the old standby, Alka-Seltzer Plus, and maybe some Sambucol. The wife and I have been lucky this year so far, with us only having a mild cold, and just a sniffle or two.

    1. Big Bad Cat, I think you and your wife would like the dumplings, dropped right on top of the broth. They are so “home made ee”.

  17. When a family member has the cold, I really push the fluids – bone broth and few, then chicken noodle soup when they feel like eating more. I also push the heating pad, which is often draped across the tops of our heads or face depending upon the severity of the cold. I usually have a home made elderberry syrup mixture available, along with lots of vitamin C, quercetin, and zinc and colloidal silver sprayed in throat and nose We have used both sriracha and horseradish to open the sinuses. My spouse prefers to use a nasal cleaner (some type of nettypot). My DL will not take any fever reducer and prefers to sweat it out. I keep robitussen DM on hand at all times, along with cold and flu day and nighttime meds.

    I rarely get colds or flu, but these last couple years have been bugs on steroids. This year I did catch a cold shortly after getting over an episode of a shingles/RA flare. It stayed in my head and was two days minor symptoms building to a crappy third day and then two days coming down. Weird thing, this cold had a cough that stayed for over a month. If I took something for post nasal drip, I would not cough but I don’t like talking OTC for extended periods of time….just a day or three. I stayed away from people for quite some time other than spouse.

    I have found that when I am sick, I do not have the energy to create needed items much less prep soup, etc. if not readily available, I will reach for something quick and easy. Although I will grab a glass of water or make tea. My spouse will try to put things near me before he heads out for farm work and if gone for longer periods, calls me to see how I am.

    We need to know and have on hand home remedies for times when manufactured remedies are not available.

    1. DAmedinNY, I have trouble finding fresh horseradish. It is one of the ingredients in the 4 Thieves recipe that, Gladstar?, has on line and in her herbal remedies books. I keep a supply of ginger going, but have not found horseradish lately, not fresh, any ideas?
      A fews back, I found some brown Ball quart canning jars. I use one for storing colloidal silver after my husband makes some up. It keeps a little better. Never thought of spraying in in our noses, but it makes sense. Those cowboys knew what they were doing when they dropped a silver coin into their canteen before heading out. I wonder how they knew????

      1. Ariel, Colloidal Silver also works for eye infections..things like pink eye and preventative treatment in case of an eye injury..It can be used for wound care and also for baby rabbits.. eye care….. only thing is must make sure not allergic to it, some people are. and works wonderfully for respiratory infections even w/nebulizer.

    2. DAMedinNY, I saw on a video today NAC boosts gluthione.. think it was kendberry. it is taken once daily where quercetin is taken 2x a day.,

  18. Wasabi. Wasabi paste is IT for sinus relief. Take a small bead of it orally, swirl it around in your mouth and let the heat wave through your sinus passages go!

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