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Kick your cold to the curb – 11 natural remedies

Nothing interrupts fantastic plans like catching a horrible winter cold. Sometimes you may just not have the luxury of the down-time required to “sleep it off”. Thankfully there are some natural remedies you can use at home to fight the cold or strengthen your immune system in anticipation of its yearly onslaught.

Oil of Oregano

Nicknamed urine of satan, when suffering from cold symptoms you can put three to four drops under your tongue, taken with a glass of water for the taste. It can also be used in a diffuser or vaporizer to reduce nasal congestion. When taken consistently Oil of Oregano helps to build resistance and fight symptoms. Dosages can be spread throughout the days until symptoms are reduced.

EnchinaceaEnchinacea tea

Studies are inconclusive on whether the drops are effective in boosting your immune system.  A hot pot of Enchinacea tea will, however, hydrate you and help clear up congestion.

Saltwater nasal spray or rinse

Saltwater is effective at reducing nasal congestion while fighting virus particles and bacteria. You can mix your own spray at home: ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in roughly 230ml of filtered, boiled, or distilled water. Use a syringe to squirt into one nostril while holding the other close. Let it drain and repeat before following the same procedure on your other nostril.

Lots of fluids

You should aim for at least eight to ten glasses of water a day. Drinks heavy in sugar, such as fizzy drinks, flavoured water, and even some fruit juice, should be avoided. Using caffeine and alcohol should also be limited as these drinks can suppress your immune system and dehydrate you.

Infused water is a yummy way of ensuring you slurp up your daily recommended water intake. Try making your own with ginger, lemon, and red berries. You can really have fun with this, as it is an easy way to boost your immunity while drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day!

SteamSteaming to fight congestion

Fill the bathroom basin with just-boiled water and close the bathroom door. If tolerable, hang your face over the basin with a towel covering your head. This will aid in reducing congestion.

Making use of a humidifier or spending an extra minute or so in a steamy shower could also assist in relieving nasal congestion.

Ginger tea

Ginger, a powerful antiviral root, can fight cold symptoms if taken in time. Make the tea using sliced fresh ginger root, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and honey.

Chicken soupChicken soup

Chicken soup contains cysteines which assist in thinning mucus. When enjoyed with garlic and hot red pepper flakes the soup will help you kill germs and reduce nasal congestion.

Homemade cough syrup

Mix ¼ cup of honey with a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar. One tablespoon of the mixture, every four hours could offer some relieve by reducing your cough.

Vitamin COrange juice

Some research suggests that Vitamin C does not help to prevent colds, but may reduce symptoms. When feeling ill, you could use a larger dose daily until symptoms improve. And despite what research may suggest, it can’t hurt to enjoy an orange or naartjie every day.


If taken as soon as the first symptoms appear, zinc lozenges could help in reducing cold symptoms.

Raw honeyRaw honey, wooden spoon

Unpasteurised or raw honey is an antioxidant that boosts immunity and suppresses coughs.

Please remember that honey is not recommended for babies younger than a year, and that if symptoms do not improve, or worsen you should consult your doctor.

Have you implemented these tips in your home to keep you and your family healthy all winter?


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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