5 Cold Remedies That Work
By Gail Belsky
Nothing cures the common cold, so the next best thing is finding cold remedies that work to treat the symptoms. The jury is still out on zinc and vitamin C, but many of the home remedies your grandmother used to advocate really do help relieve cold symptoms. Here are a few to try the next time you get stuffed up:
Home Cold Remedy No. 1:
Drink Tea, Juice and Lemon Water
Drinking plenty of fluids won’t flush the cold virus out of your system, but it will help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic. A nice cup of tea provides immediate and lasting relief from all the major cold symptoms -- runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills and fatigue -- according to a 2008 study from Cardiff University's Common Cold Centre. Other good options are water, juice, clear broth and warm lemon water with honey.
Home Cold Remedy No. 2:
Honey has bacteria-fighting properties, and it works wonders on viral cough symptoms too. A 2007 study by Pennsylvania State University’s department of pediatrics found that children with cold coughs experienced less coughing and better sleep when they ate small amounts of honey before bedtime. (Note: Honey is not safe for children under 2 years old.)
Home Cold Remedy No. 3:
Gargle With Saltwater
Gargling three times a day with warm saltwater can temporarily reduce sore-throat pain, according to a study in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It also cuts your chance of getting a bacterial infection by 40 percent. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water.
Home Cold Remedy No. 4:
Try Spicy Foods and Antacids
Dishes that contain hot peppers or horseradish may help clear sinuses, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. And if they should happen to give you indigestion, a teaspoon of liquid antacid can do double duty: It can soothe your heartburn, as well as a sore throat due to post-nasal drip by coating the throat and neutralizing the acids in mucous.
Home Cold Remedy No. 5:
Enjoy Chicken Soup
Yup, it works … and science has discovered why. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that stop the movement of white blood cells called neutrophils. Neutrophilic activity causes the release of mucous, according to research by University of Nebraska Medical Center. So it’s no old wives’ tale that Grandma’s favorite recipe really does soothe sore throats and other cold-related ailments -- and does it as well and more naturally as anything from the drugstore would.