12 Efffective Ways to Get Rid of Common Cold That’ll Work

More than one billion cases of common cold are reported each year, and that’s in the United States alone [1].

This viral ailment is caused by any of the 100 types of rhinoviruses, which account for up to 50 percent of respiratory problems [1].

Common cold affects people of all ages, causing unpleasant symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and sore throat [2, 3].

Although it doesn’t seem like a serious problem, it can disrupt sleep, work and social life [4].

It should therefore be treated right away with effective but safe home remedies such as the ones enumerated below.

1. Lemon Juice

One of the most popular remedies for the common cold is lemon juice.

In fact, when people learn that you have a cold, they’ll immediately advice you to drink this juice.

It’s probably because lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, which as studies indicate, can help prevent and treat common cold [5, 6].

While other complementary remedies showed inconsistent efficacy, vitamin C was shown in large studies to have positive effects on people with this viral condition [5].

In 2002, researchers from the United Kingdom divided 168 participants so that half received vitamin C supplement and the other a placebo [6].

Those who belonged in the first group were given two tables of vitamin C everyday for 60 days from November to February [6].

Compared to the placebo takers, those who used vitamin C experienced fewer episodes of colds [6].

Vitamin C also shortened the duration of the cold [6].

Researchers concluded that vitamin C takers are less likely to catch a cold, and if they did, they were able to recover more quickly [6].

The best thing about this is that the benefits of vitamin C can be enjoyed without having to worry about harmful side effects [6].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 glass of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add lemon juice and honey to warm water.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Drink the solution two to three times a day until symptoms subside.

2. Garlic

Garlic is widely known for its pungent scent and flavor.

It is also hailed in many parts of the world for being a potent natural medicine.

Historical records show that garlic has been used since 2600 BC in ancient Egypt and Greece as remedy for a wide range of ailments [7].

Most of the conditions it cured had something to do with bacterial and viral infections since garlic is a strong antimicrobial.

At present, many still rely on it as treatment for countless health problems, including common cold.

A study published in the Advances in Therapy Journal reported that 146 volunteers with common cold received either garlic supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks [8].

It was found that those who were given the garlic treatment not only recovered quickly but were also less likely to get sick again [8].

Garlic’s virucidal effects can be attributed to the presence of allicin [8].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 glass of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients in a glass of water.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Let it sit for five minutes before drinking.
  4. Do this once a day until cold is treated.

3. Onion

Onion is similar to garlic in many ways.

Both are used in adding flavor and aroma to ordinary dishes.

Both have potent biological effects that have been used by folk healers for the last 4,000 years [9].

And like garlic, onion also remains a favorite natural remedy for many minor and serious infections like common cold.

In a 2012 study conducted in the University of Toyama in Japan, it was reported that onion can strengthen the immune system and ward off viruses that cause common cold like the influenza virus [10].

Researchers explain that onion prevented the virus from replicating and spreading [10].

Its polysaccharide has also been proven to boost the production of antibodies that work against influenza virus [10].

What You’ll Need:

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  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar

Recommended Directions:

  1. In a glass jar, put chopped onion.
  2. Add honey or sugar.
  3. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. The next day, take one teaspoon of the mixture.
  5. Repeat once a day for up to one week.

4. Ginger

Known for its array of health benefits, ginger is widely used in China, Japan, Africa, and Latin America [11].

Most people use ginger to alleviate nausea and vomiting.

Since it’s safe to use and well-tolerated by most users, ginger is even recommended for pregnancy-related nausea.

A cup of ginger tea is also believed to be effective in relieving common cold symptoms such as nasal congestion.

It also gets to the root of the infection with its sesquiterpenes fighting the rhinoviruses that cause this ailment [12].

It has toxic effects on viruses, and can also halt the viral formation of plaque [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of clove, grated
  • Pinch of salt

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients to make a paste.
  2. Take one-half teaspoon of this twice a day for two to three days.

5. Honey

Honey is very popular as a healthy alternative to sugar.

As it is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, honey has long been used to improve health.

As a skincare regimen, it maintains skin suppleness by drawing moisture from the air and locking it into the layers of the skin.

Did you know that honey can also help combat common cold infection?

In fact, it has been cited by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “potential treatment” for cough and cold symptoms [13].

Experts believe that honey’s antimicrobial properties come into aid, controlling these illnesses and preventing them from getting worse.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Eat honey once a day for one week.

6. Echinacea

Scientists from Cologne, Germany assessed the efficacy of Echinacea as treatment for common cold and found that it is well tolerated and highly effective in reducing symptoms [14].

This was their conclusion after they compared the effects of Echinacea and placebo in 80 adults with first signs of cold [14].

Not only did Echinacea alleviate the symptoms, it also shortened the duration of the common cold [14].

There were no reports of harmful side effects after using this remedy [14].

Swiss researchers meanwhile describe Echinacea as a “low-risk and effective alternative” to the usual medications prescribed for acute common cold [15].

Other studies echo these positive findings regarding Echinacea and its role in the treatment and prevention of this ailment [16, 17].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of Echinacea leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Put the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Drink this tea two to three times a day for up to one week.

7. Water

If you have nasal congestion, runny nose or other signs that you have a cold, be sure to drink plenty of water.

Increased fluid intake is said to have a possible beneficial impact on people suffering from common cold [18].

According to traditional healers, water can help thin the mucus and make it easier to expel.

It can also clear the passageways, and lessen difficulty in breathing.

In fact, it is often recommended as part of standard medical treatment for this illness [19].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 slices of lemon
  • 1 glass of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put lemon slices in water.
  2. Drink the flavored water.
  3. Repeat seven to eight times a day.

8. Yogurt

Probiotics refer to the live microorganisms that provide beneficial effects to the health when consumed adequately [20].

Yogurt is one of the best food sources of probiotics.

In a study published in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine, researchers analyzed 10 studies involving 2,894 participants, 1,588 of which were given probiotics while the rest a placebo or another common cold remedy [21].

The treatment period went on for more than three months [21].

The conclusion reached was that probiotics can moderately prevent and reduce common cold occurrence [21].

Further studies regarding its safety should be conducted according to the researchers [21].

What You’ll Need:

  • A cup of yogurt
  • Strawberry slices

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add strawberry slices to your yogurt.
  2. Snack on yogurt throughout the day.

9. Eucalyptus

How often do you think about reaching for eucalyptus balm when you’re finding it difficult to breathe?

For most people, this is a go-to solution for common cold and nasal congestion.

It appears to have a soothing and cooling effect on the nasal passages that immediately brings relief.

Eucalyptus oil is one of the main components in an herbal cold balm that has been scientifically proven effective in alleviating common cold symptoms [22].

Of the 40 patients who suffer from cold, those who applied the herbal cold balm on their forehead, nose and neck twice a day for one week report of improvement in their condition [22].

Reduction in sneezing, runny nose, difficulty in breathing, watery eyes and headache was reported [22].

Researchers confirm that inhalation of eucalyptus oil reduces nasal congestion by stimulating the cold receptors inside the nose [23].

But that’s not all, it also has anti-cough and anti-asthmatic effects that can help prevent complications [24].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 5 drops of eucalyptus oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put boiled water in a bowl.
  2. Add eucalyptus oil.
  3. Move your face close to the bowl and take in the steam.
  4. Repeat remedy until symptoms improve.

10. Ginseng

In Canada, ginseng is one of the “best-selling” remedies for flu and cold [25].

In 2011, researchers analyzed five trials that included 747 common cold sufferers [25].

It was shown that ginseng reduced the cases of common cold by 25 percent, which is higher than the placebo [25].

Although it doesn’t appear to alleviate the severity of common cold, it does shorten the duration of the symptoms [25].

In most cases, it was able to shorten the duration of colds by an average of six days [25].

It was also found that ginseng can exert preventive actions when taken for eight to 16 weeks [25].

Moreover, this herbal remedy has been proven to boost the immune function to make the body more resistant to viral infections [26].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 ginseng root, sliced
  • 3 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add ginseng root to water.
  2. Boil over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Simmer for 3 hours.
  4. Drink the tea two to three times a day until you feel better.

11. Pumpkin Seeds

If there’s any mineral that’s said to benefit those suffering from common cold, it has to be zinc.

Numerous studies have pointed out its role in the prevention and treatment of this viral infection [27, 28, 29].

In 2004, a team of scientists from Ohio, USA analyzed clinical data published from 1980 to 2003 to evaluate the efficacy of zinc in treating colds caused by rhinovirus [28].

It was revealed that zinc can help decrease both the severity and duration of common cold symptoms [28].

Take note that it only works if it was administered within 24 hours when the first signs of common cold appeared [28].

You can take zinc supplement or eat foods that are rich in this mineral.

A good source of zinc is pumpkin seed.

A cup of pumpkin seeds supplies 44 percent of the recommended daily value for zinc [29].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of pumpkin seeds

Recommended Directions:

  1. Snack on pumpkin seeds throughout the day.
  2. Do this at the first sign of common cold.

12. Tea Tree Oil

Another essential oil that can help fight common cold is tea tree oil.

Research has shown that this oil is a powerful antiviral agent that can combat influenza virus [30].

When applied within two hours of infection, it can successfully prevent the virus from replicating [30].

This mechanism of action can be attributed to its active compounds namely terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol and terpinolene [30].

When you feel that you’re about to have a cold, be sure to use this remedy right away.

Its effects are more pronounced when it is applied immediately after you’ve become infected with the virus.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 bowl of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put water in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Transfer water to a bowl.
  4. Put tea tree oil drops.
  5. Inhale the steam.
  6. Repeat several times a day until relief is achieved.

Common cold is not something people usually panic about.

Since it causes unpleasant symptoms, and hampers productivity, it’s only right to treat it immediately with the help of these proven remedies.