It’s the middle of January, and that persistent case of the sniffles has finally morphed into a full-fledged ear/nose/throat bonanza. So, without further ado, here’s our list of the best items from A-Z for a do-it-yourself fight against the common cold.
Aloe Vera: Who knew that this gorgeous green plant could be your best bud in winter as well as summer? Aloe Vera is a natural astringent and, when used as a mouthwash, will help calm that tickle in your throat.
Broth: You’re getting close to the point where you’re consuming only fluids, and that can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup is getting old fast. Get a few different broths, add in veggies and spices, and mix up your brothy routine.
Coconut Water & Cayenne Pepper: Both these C’s had to be listed because they’re super natural, and natural cleansers for anything that might be ailing you. Coconut water improves hydration through high concentrations of electrolytes, while cayenne pepper is particularly effective at clearing sinus passages.
Drops: Cough drops, that is. Truth be told, we’ve probably consumed a bag of Halls Vitamin C cough drops in the last 5 days and are tempted to try DIYing it up for a more natural lozenge. Check out this tutorial on DIY Herbal Cough Drops on The Herb Companion.
Echinacea: Always a good herb to have around, echinacea is known for boosting your body’s general immunity by stimulating white blood cells, increasing production of interferon and other virus-fighting substances, and increases immune cells’ ability to destroy invading microbes.
Friday Night Lights: Wait, you haven’t watched Friday Night Lights yet and swooned over Matt Saracen, Tim Riggins, Lyla Garrity and Julie Taylor? It’s time to begin, and what better time to get lost in 5 seasons of high school football than when you’re stuck at home? Thank you Netflix.
Ginger: Adding a bit of ginger to soup or broth is a great natural way to soothe an unsettled belly. Bonus points for adding ginger to your tea to calm your body from head to toe.
Honey: Best in its raw form, honey not only soothes your throat but also reduces heartburn and indigestion. Mix a spoonful of honey in warm water or tea with a little bit of lemon. If you can’t sleep, add a pinch of whiskey to the mix. ;)
Ice: Sometimes you just can’t drink any more water or suck on any more lozenges, so its time to turn to ice. Ice cubes will soothe your throat and slightly numb it, so that tickle goes away at least for a little while.
Juice: Juice up! Ok maybe its not the best time to do a full-on juice cleanse, but juice is the best way to get your body the nutrients it needs to fight sickness.
Kittens: We told you then (with our NYE Recovery Kit) and we’ll tell you now: kitten videos and pictures will always make you feel better. We recommend I Can Has Cheezburger, Cute Roulette, and a straight up Google Image search of kittens.
Lemon: High in Vitamin C with the ability to decrease the amount of toxins in your body, lemon juice should be added to every other cup of water and/or tea you drink. Combine with honey and hot water for a warm cup of throat-soothing goodness.
Movies: The best part (yes, there is a best part) of being home sick is watching movies up the wazoo. Now, thanks to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, we can watch all those rom coms and teen sitcoms without leaving the comfort of our cozy sweatpants.
Neti Pots: We know there’s been a lot of mixed press concerning Neti Pots as of late, but when used properly they really can clear out a lot of the mucus-y gunk clogging up your nasal passages. We recommend this ceramic Neti Pot by the Himalayan Institute.
Office, The: Another recommendation for a day or two spent on the couch, seasons 1-7 of The Office are available on Netflix, and are a rip-roaring good time.
Parents: Call home. Even if you’ve been out of the nest for over a decade, few things make you feel as comforted as a call to your parents. They won’t think you’re overreacting to the evil green goblin in your throat. If you’re brave and want a ton of sympathy points, make this call on FaceTime, Skype or GChat.
Quilts: Cover yourself in blankets all day long. The warmer you are, the stronger your body will be.
Ramen: When you tire of broth and need a little something more, you can always turn to ramen. We recommend tricking out your ramen with corn, spinach, tofu, ginger and sesame oil.
Saltwater Gargle: Turns out your elementary school nurse had it right. Saltwater gargles are a surefire way to soothe an aching throat and are best done right before bed for a cough-free sleep.
Tea: Green, Earl Grey, Chamomile, Peppermint, you name it. Tea is a comfort as old as time, and is vital for getting through a few days of coughing and sneezing. Check out our roundup of 12 Creative Tea Infusers, and add a bit of cheer to your next cup of tea.
Uber: If you have to get anywhere during your spell with sickness, forget waiting around for public transportation and being that person (the one who’s coughing, sneezing, and looking feverish) and treat yourself to a ridiculously convenient Uber cab. You won’t have to wait, and you won’t even have to dig through your wallet for cash since all payments are coordinated online.
Vapor Rub: Vicks VapoRub is great for relieving congestion, but if you’re up for a little health lab experimentation, we recommend trying a natural vapor rub using essential oils and olive oil. Check out this simple recipe on TLC.
Wash Your Hands: Even if you’re the only one in your apartment, it is essential that you wash your hands frequently. Keep those germs away!
X-Men: A total guilty pleasure, the X-Men series is action-packed and so far from reality that in just minutes you can totally escape from the doldrums of your stuffy nose. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
Yerba Mate Tea: A robust, earthy tea, Yerba Mate is rich in natural polyphenol antioxidants, as well as good amount of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and E.
Zinc: If you haven’t quite succumbed to the throes of your cold, you may still have time to preemptively strike with a dose of zinc. Though research is inconclusive, zinc is known to be effective when taken regularly at the first sign of a cold for no more than five days.
Note: All of these suggestions are based on personal use, and will not work for everyone. As any with any course of treatment, we recommend consulting with your doctor beforehand.
How do you beat the common cold? Send homespun tricks to firstname.lastname@example.org.