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Natural Remedies for the Common Cold

Items that you stock in your kitchen pantry can help you fight cold or flu germs naturally.

Cold and flu season is just around the corner; in fact, our recent temperature drop has probably pushed the season up a bit. Unfortunately, there is no medical cure for a common cold or the flu and a visit to the doctor will generally result in a co-pay or doctor’s bill and a prescription for a drug that simply masks the symptoms.

The easiest and least expensive way to treat a cold or the flu are the basic folk remedies which have been handed down through generations. Before loading up a basket with expensive over-the-counter remedies like Nyquil or Robitussin, try one of these remedies using items you probably already keep in your pantry.

Treat Your Clogged Nose

The easiest way to relieve nasal congestion is to take a steamy shower. The steam from a hot shower will help to moisten and open your nasal passages, helping you to breathe easier. Alternatives to a steamy shower include holding your head over a steaming hot bowl of water or holding a comfortably hot cloth over your sinus cavities. Use common sense when heating the water so you don’t end up burned.

If you like spicy food, this is a good time to indulge. Spicy mustard, horseradish and hot peppers act as natural decongestants, when taken in moderation. You can also make a homemade nasal spray by mixing one quart boiling water with two teaspoons Kosher salt and one teaspoon baking soda.

Treat Your Cough

Some studies seem to show that honey may be more effective in treating coughs than over the counter cough medicine. You can take a spoonful of honey straight or mix it into a cup of warm water, herbal tea, or warmed lemon juice.

Treat Your Sore Throat

If you take honey for your cough, you’ll also be doing double duty to treat your sore throat because honey has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Another option for treating your sore throat is to make an infusion from fresh ginger. Grate fresh ginger into a cup and cover with boiling water. Allow the ginger to steep for 10 minutes, before straining and drinking the tea.

Boost Your Immune System

Fighting off a cold or the flu takes a lot out of your body. Drinking a lot of fluids and getting a lot of rest are basic ways to help boost your immune system. Studies also show that grandma had the right idea—chicken soup does seem to be good for helping your body’s immune system fight off cold and flu germs. If you don’t have chicken soup available, trying adding extra garlic to your food. Garlic has antibacterial properties that can help your body fight off infection.

Use Common Sense

Using natural remedies to treat your family's cold and flu symptoms is a great way to save money and avoid potentially harmful side effects from man made chemicals. You should however use common sense--if you or one of your family members experience a long lasting high fever (102 degrees or higher), listlessness, or shortness of breath, you should .

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