8 effective ways to treat a cold without medicines

Although there are many OTC medicines available, it is best to treat a cold without medicines. There are several home remedies which are safe and more effective in treating a cold than any medicines.

Photo: Microsoft office clipart 

On an average, an adult gets two to five colds in a year, with children going upto even seven or ten a year. It generally takes four days to a week for a cold to clear up. For severe and persistent symptoms, a visit to the doctor is warranted. 

Photo: Microsoft office clipart 
The best way to treat a cold is to get adequate rest or even sleep it off! Exertion prolongs the course of a cold. In addition, remember to stay warm and stay hydrated. 
The following are some popular home remedies that can help treat a cold without medicines. 

Gargle Salt water 

A salt water gargle with a solution of ¼ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water works wonders in relieving a sore or itchy throat. This is probably one of the simplest, cheapest and most effective ways to treat a cold.
Do it at least twice a day - in the morning upon waking up and at night before going to bed. Be careful to ensure that the solution is not too salty or you will end up irritating your throat further!

Inhale steam 

Nasal congestion is best combated by steam inhalation. Cover your head with a towel and inhale steam from a bowl of boiling water. Nowadays several steam inhalers available in the market, make steam inhalation much simpler. Remember to take necessary precaution to protect yourself from getting burnt. If you like, you could even add eucalyptus oil for additional benefit. 

Chicken Soup 

One of my favourite remedies for treating a cold, is a nice warm bowl of chicken broth - made using the bones and skin of the chicken. It is not only comforting, but also helps alleviate symptoms of a cold. 
Studies have now shown that chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory properties that aid in curing a cold. There are also claims that chicken soup has anti-viral properties. 


Photo: Microsoft office clipart
In India, Haldi-milk is a very popular home remedy used to treat a cold. Add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder to a cup of milk and stir it well. Bring to a boil and drink it while still hot. If you prefer, you could add honey, sugar or jaggery to make it sweet. Some people also add peppercorn or ginger to this preparation for added benefit. Generally taken at night, it is improves symptoms of cold by the next morning.
Alternatively, you could try swallowing a pinch of turmeric powder mixed in a teaspoon of honey, to get rid of a cough.

For many more amazing uses of turmeric you might like to read: 11 must-know uses of turmeric powder

Onion Syrup

You can turn up your nose at this one, but onion syrup is the best and most effective cough syrup for cold. It doesn't taste as bad as you'd think (Even my toddler likes it!).
Take one finely chopped onion in a shallow bowl and add to is 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix them well so that the sugar dissolves. Tilt the bowl at a slight angle to allow the syrup to collect and let it stand for a few minutes. Take this syrup through the day and you will notice the difference.

Ginger and honey

Take a small piece of ginger and crush it or chop it finely. To this add a small quantity of honey. Let it stand for a few minutes and swallow it slowly. 
You could even try chewing on a raw piece of ginger if you can manage the heat. This, if done right at the beginning when your throat first appears sore, produces amazing results!

Saline nose drops

Simple saline nose drops are a better choice over medicated for relieving nasal congestion. You can even prepare them at home using this recipe at www.food.com
Do is as often as required through the day, to produce effective results.

Khada (Herbal/Medicinal Tea)

Another very effective remedy used to treat colds in India is the Khada. This herbal tea is prepared from several common spices that are known to be useful in treating a cold. Here is one very useful Khada recipe you might like to try. 
In Goa, we use a slightly different variant, known as Kassai. Stay tuned for a recipe in a later post. 
Here is the Kassai recipeThat wasn't too long a wait, was it? :)

What measures do you take to treat a cold without medicines? I would love to learn about them.

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