Stop That Cold in Its Tracks!

Date: November 8, 2016      Publication: Bottom Line's Household Magic      Source:  Joan Wilen & Lydia Wilen      Print:

It’s pretty easy to tell a cold’s coming on—your head hurts, your throat aches, you basically just feel blah. Those expensive, over-the-counter remedies with harmful dyes and chemicals sometimes help…sometimes don’t…so why waste your money? Instead, try these powerful natural remedies from your kitchen…

Ginger Tea…Soothing and Effective

If you feel the telltale signs of a cold coming on, it’s time to chill out and make some healing tea! Here’s what to do: Peel a three-inch knob of fresh gingerroot and cut it into chunks. Bring the ginger to a boil in two cups of water, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink a cup of this tea every few hours, making a fresh batch as needed. The pungent components in ginger called gingerols help fight viruses. If you can handle a little spice, add one-eighth teaspoon of cayenne pepper to your cup of brewed ginger tea—it’ll help clear your sinuses. And/or sweeten each cup with one tablespoon of raw honey, and add the juice of one-half a small lemon—the honey has additional antiseptic properties to rid your body of germs, and the lemon adds some vitamin C to boost your immunity.

Do you feel the scratchiness of a sore throat coming on? That’s usually the sign of a big head cold brewing. Try this pantry staple for relief: Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in an eight-ounce glass of warm water. Take a mouthful, gargle with it and spit it out, then swallow a mouthful. Again, gargle a mouthful, spit it out and swallow a mouthful. Notice a pattern? Do this until there’s no liquid left in the glass.


Dose: Repeat the process once an hour. By the third or fourth hour, the sore throat usually is gone.

Another Potent Tea to Make You Feel Better

Garlic has antiviral, antifungal, anticoagulant and antiseptic properties. It can act as an expectorant and a decongestant, an antioxidant, a germicide, an anti-inflammatory agent, a diuretic and a sedative. That’s a pretty impressive list of cold killers!

Take it as tea: Garlic can be made into a tea to help stop a cold or clear up a minor cough. Add one-quarter teaspoon of garlic powder to a cup of just-boiled water. Or peel and mince three medium cloves of garlic, and steep them in a cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink the garlic tea—three or four cups a day—and add the minced garlic bits to soup or a salad.

Caution: Do not drink garlic tea on an empty stomach—it can cause nausea. And be cautious with garlic if you have gastritis.

Oh, and along with these home remedies, get plenty of rest, watch what you eat and stay away from coffee, cigarettes and alcohol…but you already knew that!


Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen are health investigators based in New York City who have spent decades collecting "cures from the cupboard." They are authors of Bottom Line's Treasury of Home Remedies & Natural Cures and contributors to the free e-letter Bottom Line Life Insider. You can find their tips at