Cold and Flu Compendium
Natural Remedies for Colds

Symptoms of cold:  This is a disorder in the respiratory tract caused by exposure and resulting in catarrh and the invasion of microbial cleansers.  The affliction is usually mild and short, and is characterized by a chilly sensation followed by sneezing, watering of the eyes, congestion and discharges from the nose and throat, coughing, earache, and often fever. 

When a cold occurs the whole system is involved.  At the first sign of a cold, one should clean the nose and mouth of the toxic accumulations (through snuffing and gargling), after the cold is broke with the sweating aids (see below), the patient should be sponged with equal parts cold water and vinegar to close the pores, put to bed, and given fruits or fruit juices. 

  • Ginger:  stimulates the heart and circulation; taken at the onset of a cold or flu, when you feel tired, chilly, and achy, promotes perspiration, brings down a fever, and helps clear toxins and congestion; acts as an expectorant in the lungs, expelling phlegm and clearing chest infection; given to children in India  to treat whooping cough.
  • Lemon juice:  stimulates the immune system, promotes sweating and cleanses the body of poisons, making it an effective remedy for infections and fevers.
  • Salt:  gargle for sore throat will check the growth of infection; at onset of a cold, use a gargle and nasal cleansing, drawing salt water through the nose.
  • Cayenne:  a "hot" remedy to treat "cold" disorders such as tiredness, lethargy, phlegm, weak digestion and tendency to infection; marvelous for the lungs as an expectorant, and its decongestant action relieves stuffiness and phlegm in the head and sinuses; acts as a rubefacient and counter-irritant, bringing inflammation to the surface and relieving pain; used as a gargle, cayenne helps relieve a sore throat.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  helps to decongest the respiratory system and to treat coughs; children respond well when given vinegar(or lemon juice) and honey, as much as they will take.( honey should not be given to children under one year of age, maple syrup may be substituted for the honey)
  • Mustard:  infusion of ground mustard seeds has antimicrobial properties and has been used internally for chest infections, colds and flu and as a gargle for sore throats; externally, as a rubefacient(counter-irritant) effect, bringing blood to the skin in contact with it. A hot foot bath draws blood to the feet and relieves congestion in the head or lungs.
  • Cloves:  very warming tea for those with cold or chills, serves as an expectorant to clear phlegm and helps ward off colds and other infections, while its warmth induces sweating and can help bring down a fever
  • Cardamom:  seeds have aromatic and warming properites, invigorating the stomach and intestines;  valuable as an expectorant and in helping expel phlegm from the chest in bronchial problems and clear nasal and sinus congestion; add to milk products and puddings to counteract milk's mucus-formig effects and aid its digestion; make a warming tea by combining 4 cardomom pods, 4 black peppercorns, 4 cloves, 1 cinnomon stick, and a few slices of fresh ginger in a pint of water, heat, but do not boil, for half an hour and strain.  Drink hot with a little milk or honey twice a day to ward off coughs and colds.
  • Garlic:   its antimicrobial effect can help to combat sore throats colds and flu, bronchial and lung infections, as well as yeast and intestinal infections, and worms. Garlic acts as a decongestant and expectorant, making it an excellent remedy for coughs, chest infections, and bronchial asthma.
  • Elder:   a hot infusion of elderflowers taken at the onset of colds, tonsillitis, laryngitis, and flu will help remedy the infection quickly by stimulating the circulation, causing sweating, and cleansing the system of toxins.  It can be given to children during eruptive diseases, such as measles and chicken pox, to bring out the rash and speed recovery.
  • Meadowsweet:  infusion of the leaves and flowers for colds, flu, and children's infections, such as measles and chicken pox, and to bring down fevers and speed infections on their way.
  • Eucalyptus:  a few drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water can be used to cleanse the air of infection in the sick room, or during a flu epidemic;  helps open nasal and bronchial passages to promote a good night sleep
  • Raspberry leaf:   drink copious amounts of hot tea at the onset of a cold to draw out mucus and relieve congestion.

  • Elderberry flowers/Peppermint leaves:  make an infusion of the dried herbs and take internally as hot as possible.  The diaphoretic herbs will open the pores and discharge waste obstructions.
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