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5 Home Remedies for this Season’s Colds and Flu

It’s that time of year again when colds and flu make the rounds. Between the runny nose, sore throat, and body aches, it’s enough to make anyone miserable.

The flu, common cold and most other upper respiratory illnesses are caused by viruses, so you can’t cure them with antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections. However, you can soothe your symptoms with home remedies made with things you already have in your pantry. These remedies won’t cure you instantly but will help make a nasty cold more bearable and possibly shorten its duration. 

If your symptoms don’t dissipate after two weeks, or they get worse, make an appointment to see your doctor. 


There are two things all doctors prescribe when you’re down with a cold or flu: the one is bed rest, and the other is “drink plenty of fluids”. It can be a chore to keep up the daily recommended intake when you’re sick, but it’s worth it. It helps to replenish all the fluids you lose from blowing your nose and sweating from fever and helps to flush out toxins from your body.   

Home-made chicken soup 

Chicken soup got the name ‘Jewish penicillin’ by 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides who wrote about its ability to relieve colds. Research has shown that eating chicken soup slow the movement of neutrophils in your body, which are a type of white blood cell that help fight off infection, and as a result decrease inflammation in the respiratory tract. In addition, the antioxidants in the vegetables present in chicken soup provide a mild anti-inflammatory effect.  

Salt water gargle 

Doctors often recommend gargling with salt water to relieve a sore throat but it’s also great for loosening mucus and flushing out irritants like bacteria, viruses and allergens. To make your own ‘”altwater mouthwash”, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Swish it around your mouth and then spit it out. Do this four times a day until your throat feels less scratchy and raw.  

Ginger and turmeric  

Ginger and turmeric root have both been used for centuries in traditional medicine, especially in the Ayurvedic medical practices of India. Ginger (when consumed in root form) is high in antioxidants that help boost your immune system and is often used to treat nausea and vomiting. Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that fights inflammation in the body (great for aches and pains!). Add a teaspoon or more of fresh ginger and turmeric (finely chopped or grated) to smoothies, juices, or soups.  


Drinking hot water with lemon and honey is a time-honoured way of soothing a sore throat. Honey has antimicrobial properties that can help fight some bacteria and viruses, and it is also an effective cough suppressant for children. Add a teaspoon of honey and a knob each of ginger and turmeric root to a mug of hot water with lemon and stir. Drink as hot as possible. 


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