Remedies for Colds and Flu with Stuff You Probably Have Around the House

You don’t have to spend money on over-the-counter medications to get relief from a cold or flu. Many home remedies are effective at easing symptoms and are made with ingredients you already have. Next time you feel the sniffles coming on, try one of the following remedies instead of making a trip to the pharmacy.

Below you can find 10 remedies to help ease your cold.

Sage Tea for a Sore Throat:

Sage tea by itself is great for soothing a sore throat. If you want something a little stronger, you can make this German remedy. Add two tablespoons of vinegar, honey and 2 teaspoons of table salt to a cup of tea made with 2 teaspoons of dried sage leaves and eight ounces of boiling water. Gargle as frequently as necessary.

Bay Leaf Tea:

This Sicilian remedy helps sore throats, stomachaches, and the flu, and only requires bay leaves and some honey or sugar.
To make, add 2 dried bay leaves to a cup and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for ten minutes before adding honey or sugar.

Ginger Tea for a Sore Throat:

The ginger in this tea makes it effective for treating upset stomachs too.
Simmer 2-3 pieces of peeled ginger, or 1 tablespoon powdered ginger, in water for 8-10 minutes, then remove from heat and add a tablespoon of lemon juice(under $2) and a teaspoon of honey. Drink several cups a day.

Spice Things up to Feel Better:

In addition to hot soup or tea, several foods help thin mucus and relieve congestion. Eating spicy foods like garlic, horseradish, and wasabi will help clear the nasal passages and promote drainage. They relieve chills, boost circulation, and relieve lethargy too. Add some cayenne pepper or chilies to your favorite soup, or try one of the following:
Spicy Hot Lemonade Recipe
8 ounces boiled water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Honey to taste
Mix ingredients together and sip slowly. Drink three cups a day until symptoms disappear.

Horse Radish Remedy:

If you’re feeling brave, this Russian cold remedy may be for you. Mix a tablespoon of horseradish with a teaspoon each of honey and ground cloves in 8 ounces of warm water and sip slowly. Have a box of tissues nearby because this clears sinuses out fast!

Homemade Cough Syrup:

You can make a cough syrup using honey and lemon juice. Heat one tablespoon of honey until warm and mix in the lemon juice. Make extra and take it as often as you need to. For an extra potent mixture that helps bring up phlegm, add a little grated onion.

Use Your Blow Dryer to Kill a Cold:

As crazy as it sounds, inhaling hot air may help kill viruses in your nasal passages. People who breathed heated air had half the cold symptoms of people who breathed room temperature air, according to a study done at Harvard Hospital in England. To try this remedy, set your hairdryer to warm and breathe the air through your nose for 20 minutes.

Ease Fever and Congestion with Wet Socks

Another weird remedy that relieves fevers and clears congestion is to wear wet socks to bed. As uncomfortable as it sounds, it works by drawing blood to your feet, which increases blood circulation. Soak your feet in hot water first, then soak a pair of cotton socks in cold water, wring them out, and put them on before going to bed. In the morning you should feel much better.


As awful as having a cold or the flu is, the virus generally goes away on its own in a week with proper rest and hydration. However, some symptoms are indicative of more serious issues that should be checked out by a physician. If your fever lasts for more than three days, or reaches 104, call your doctor. If you find it hard to breathe, have severe pain in the lungs, or cough up phlegm that’s green or tinged with blood, visit your doctor or an urgent care center.

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