Facebook Community: 20 Cold & Flu Remedies We Love

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It’s that time of year—stuffy noses, aggravating coughs, nasally voices…oh, here we go again. This cold and flu season we thought it would be fun to ask our Facebook readers how they kick nasty colds to the curb, and everyone seemed to have some great ideas! We received so many wonderful tried-and-true remedies that it was hard to pick just 20, but here are some of our favorites.

Drink This


“I swear by this strong ginger-honey-lemon drink: In a glass jar, combine 10 ounces boiling water, a thumb-sized knob of thinly sliced (or grated) ginger, the juice from half a lemon and enough honey to sweeten (to taste). This recipe helps soothe sore throats and relieve sinus pressure. Let it steep for as long as possible, but sip it while it’s still hot.” –From Lori Parr

Hot Toddy

“Try this old home remedy: Brandy plus hot water, honey and lime. It’s called a hot toddy. Drink it just before bed.” –From Jackie David

Grapefruit Goodness

“OK, I don’t know how natural this is, but it sure knocks out a bad cold. Take one grapefruit, cut it in half and squeeze the juice into a saucepan. Add some water as well as the grapefruit halves, then bring it all to a boil. Finally, add some whiskey and honey, and drink it while it’s still hot, right before bedtime.” –From Sharon Howell

Preventative Tea

“While everyone around me is sick, I stay healthy with this preventative elixir: Combine 1/2 cup hot water with 1/3 cup lemon juice, or juice from 1 fresh lemon; 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne powder; 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger powder, or fresh; and honey, to taste. Drink the concoction as warm as you can, without risk of burning yourself. Drink it all at once. This will raise your body temperature and cleanse your kidneys and liver. Enjoy daily.” – From Ellen Nygaard

Chest Congestion Relief

“For chest congestion: Mix 4 tablespoons warm water with 2 tablespoons organic honey, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Shake well. Drink 1 tablespoon, three to four times a day.” –From Sally Rogers Devine

Go-To Foods

Lots of Garlic

 “Raw garlic: Eat it, steam it and inhale it. It works on the toughest of infections. I’ve used it on myself, my husband and my three little girls.” –From Star Gypsy

Secret Ingredient

“I’ve studied holistic medicine and swear by black cumin seed organic oil—it’s beyond amazing. Even though it tastes terrible, it treats more than 40 ailments and is better than any high-dollar face cream or serum on the market. Many companies use it in $200 face creams as their secret ingredient. It’s good for acne or scalp conditions, but it’s great for wiping out a cold, flu or sore throat in a couple of days! Nettle is also awesome at helping clear up mucous, hacking coughs and allergies.” –From Cynthia Shirrell

Juice Up

“I juice kale, garlic, carrots and apples for flu symptoms. It’s very effective for my diabetic husband who shouldn’t take much over-the-counter medications.” –From Patty Kratzer

Chicken Soup

“My grandmother’s chicken soup is not your traditional soup—it’s a recipe my family has used for generations. Cover pieces of chicken with cold water, then season with kosher salt to taste; 1/2 cup star anise; and a couple of bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer, covered, for a few hours. Strain and place in the refrigerator until cold. Skim off the fat, then reheat the soup, garnishing with parsley. Serve by itself or with egg noodles or another noodle of your choice. This is a great soup to freeze. In fact, I have some of it in my freezer right now! –From Candice Gayleen

Sweet Syrups

Elderberry Cough Syrup

“Try the following recipe: Pour 4 cups water into a medium saucepan and add 1 cup fresh elderberries (or 1/2 cup dried), 2 teaspoons fresh or dried ginger and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it’s no longer hot, add 1 cup raw honey and stir well. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint-sized Mason jar or 16-ounce glass bottle of some kind. Store in the refrigerator and take daily for its immune-boosting properties.” –From Susanne Aggerholm

Know Your Onions

“OK, everyone is going to go ‘Ewww,’ but our oldest daughter, who was born with a rare heart problem, can’t take anything that would cause any elevation in her heart rate. My pediatrician told me to chop an onion really fine and cook it in a little water, then strain and add sugar (I usually used anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup) to make a syrup. I gave it to her every couple of hours and it worked. Now I use this with my great grandchildren. Honestly, they don’t really mind it as much as you would think. –From Gayle J. Rhodes

Ayurvedic Medicine

“As a yogini, I love all things Ayurveda. It has been extremely supportive in helping me overcome problems with imbalanced hormones and PMS. I would love to share my go-to Ayurvedic tea for whenever I have a sore throat. I have had many clients use this exclusively to overcome colds and flu. Friends, family and my children love to use it, too. As a bonus, it tastes great!

3 cups water
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of turmeric
Dash of cayenne (optional)
2 teaspoons raw honey

Bring water to a boil on the stove. While water is coming to a boil, add the ginger. Once water has boiled, add coconut oil, lemon, turmeric and cayenne. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain into 2 cups and add a teaspoon of raw honey to each cup. (Ayurveda says that cooked honey loses its beneficial qualities and becomes poison in the body; always use raw honey if you want to get the most beneficial medicinal qualities out of this Ayurvedic superfood.)

Drink as often as you like. I would recommend at least three times as day, but if you would like to drink it more often, go for it!” –From Olga Dossa

Vitamins & Herbs

Vitamin C

“I always humidify tea tree oil with eucalyptus oil. This works well on sore throats and congestion. I also up our diets in vitamin C and zinc-rich foods.” –From Ash Allgood

Vitamin D3

 “I take vitamin D3 and drink honey-lemon tea with chamomile and ginger. Honey and lemon soothe while chamomile calms and ginger helps with nausea. Vitamin D3 is an immune-system booster that helps fight off illness quickly.” –From Amber Abram in Ohio


“Combine turmeric with black salt and gargle for as long as you can stand. It tastes horrid but works!” –From Denise Curry

Oregano Oil

 “Oregano oil! Mix it with coconut oil and apply to your feet, or take the mixture orally, which works fastest. You can also place oregano oil directly under your tongue and chase it with milk or juice to keep it from burning too much.” –From Erin Jaramill

Essential Oils

“Essential oils! Our flu bomb consists of 4 drops lemon oil, 4 drops thieves oil, 3 drops oregano oil, 2 drops tea tree oil and 2 drops frankincense oil combined in a vegetable capsule. Take two times daily with food and water.” –From Rachel Alexander

Thieves Oil

“I second thieves essential oil blend! It contains cinnamon bark, cloves, rosemary, eucalyptus and lemon therapeutic-grade essential oils, and the blend is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. Adding 1 drop to a cup of hot water makes a soothing, delicious and healing Thieves Tea. Just sweeten with honey as needed. My family also rubs the blend on our feet before going to bed at the first sign of a cold. No sicknesses in this house!” –From Jessica Steel

Family Remedies

Tried-And-True Recipe

“This remedy has been a tradition in our family for more than 80 years: Combine 1 cup red wine (per person) with 2 to 3 cloves (max), 1 tablespoon sugar (per cup) and 1 slice lemon (per cup). Bring these ingredients to a boil, then strike a match over boiling liquid to burn off alcohol. (Note: Be extremely careful at this point, as the flame can get quite large.) Allow most of the alcohol to burn off, then pour into a cup and sip all of the liquid until it’s completely gone. Don’t consume the cloves. This has worked for our family every time—it breaks colds and fevers.” –From Mark N Heather Cooper

Homemade Rub

“For sore throats, my parents always rubbed Vicks VapoRub on our necks then covered it with 100-percent wool socks—it truly seemed to work! For chest coughs, pour 2 to 3 cups white long grain rice in an old pillow case, tie it into a knot at the top, microwave for about 23 seconds, then check the temperature on your wrist. If it’s at a manageable heat, apply it to your chest until it cools. There’s something in the rice that relieves the chest pain from coughing and loosens up congestion.” –From Traci Shirley Lyman

*Statements herein have not been evaluated and are not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or health condition. It’s recommended that patients check with their doctors before taking herbs to ensure that there are no contraindications with prescription medications.

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