39 Responses to “Your Natural Medicine Cabinet : Home Remedies for Coughs and Colds”


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  1. Great post especially for this time of year. My daughter already has the classroom crud. Thank you!

    • Crunchy Betty

      I hadn’t even thought about the fresh crop of germs from school starting again. And, luckily, you can use any of these for the kids. (Though, of course, no honey for little ones under a year. Oh, and I guess no brandy in elderberry syrup for them, either. Heh.)

      Now I’m curious about this tornado …

      Off to read!

  2. Juice of 1 lemon, slices of fresh Ginger, honey and boiling water. That’s what we have. I like the sound of the licorise tea. I hate it but I hate a sore throat more.

    • Crunchy Betty

      Ooh. I forgot all about ginger tea! And that’s even something I do often. I especially use it for an upset tummy – maybe that’s why I forgot to add it in.

      And I am crazy about black licorice. My grandmother used to bring me these ginormous licorice jelly bean things (just a little bigger than a robin’s egg) she found when she’d go to this little German town in Kansas. Five minutes, and they were gone.

      And don’t even get me started on Jaegermeister. Ha. Seriously.

  3. Great tips, Leslie! You are right in time as always! My fiance is having a bad cough and I’m giving him to drink oatmeal milk with honey. You know it’s an awesome treatment for sore throat. I definitely will try your recipes for a change. Thank you!

    • Crunchy Betty

      This is what I love about you, Victoria. You know so many things I haven’t even heard of – including drinking oatmeal with honey. How do you do that, exactly? Do you soak the oatmeal in water, filter it, and then drink the liquid?

      (I almost want a sore throat now, so I can try it. Ha.)

  4. I’m a huge fan of elderberry and echinacea! I actually found your blog through your elderberry syrup vlog and now I’m hooked! I think I have read almost every post! Thank you for sharing all of these amazing recipes and tips!!

    Oh and I’d love to see some more vlogs too!! You are great!

    • Crunchy Betty

      Yay! Thanks so much for the comment! (Especially about the vlog … I wasn’t sure anyone really cared about ’em all that much, so I took a break until I could learn how to shut my mouth a little more and keep the time under 5 minutes.)

      I love echinacea, too, but the weirdest thing – I just stopped taking it. Used to drink echinacea tea all the time in the winter, and just kind of forgot about it somewhere in there. Funny how you go in cycles like that. But now that you’ve reminded me, it’s on my shopping list. Thanks!

  5. Mimi

    Oh yeah!! I can vouch for the Eucalyptus and Peppermint treatment for stuffy sinuses. Really clears out and then soothes the nasal passages. Would MUCH rather use this (no side effects) than OTC medications!

  6. Pixie

    Eat a clove of garlic raw. I have to be desperate to do to this but it does work. Best done with a drink to drown the flavour of garlic.

    For a clogged nose, put boiled water into a bowl, then put your face over it with a towl draped over it. This method is also recommnded to unclog pores I believe. Do so for a few days. A doctor told me about this.

    In Australia whenever I see one about a cold they are like have plenty of rest and liquids, your immune system can handle it. I don’t know if doctors in America say something different.

    Share the love of licource and was recently handed Jagermesiter. Fun! One bar does Jagerbombs which invovles redbull. Energy drinks are terrible but good fuel for late dancing :-) There is a Greek liquor, I think it is called Onza? Anyway also tastes like licorice.

    In your previous post, I left comment about beauty recipes. Your probs already know them but I hope it was helpful.


    • Crunchy Betty

      LOVE these ideas, lady! And I loved the recipes you gave on the other post, too. Good grief, YOU could be running this blog. I’m going to get out my notebook today and write all of this down for future reference.

      Jaegermeister does not have to include Red Bull (I stay away from the RB – yikes). I love a small glass of Jaeger on the rocks. I don’t drink often, but when I do, it’s usually that. I’m convinced it’s medicine. Heh.

      Boomshanka, indeed!

      • Pixie

        Yeah… I realise that energy drinks are terrible. I’m considering giving them up but I’m a fiend for caffiene.

        I’m attempting to run a blog as a social networking tool for a streetzine but its feel like a commitment.

        I’ll try it on the rocks. The first I had it was like around midnight when a friend and I bumped into her brother in her kitchen. Then we stood around, nibbling on werid things like olives, dried fruit and European biscuits with Jagermister and vodka. Best midnight feast ever. We are going do it again expect with grocegy shopping before hand… because that is related to natural beauty.


    • Marie Unrau

      One trick my family came up with to be able to consume vast quantities of garlic is to layer a slice of bread with slices of raw garlic, top with a layer of cheese and toast in a toaster oven just until the cheese melts. The cheese keeps you from tasting the garlic too much, and the kids just loved it!

  7. My dad used dried sage leaves to make the worst tea in the history of the universe when I had a sore throat. It was so strong and for some reason, he wouldn’t sweeten it. I detest sage to this day because of it! I think the sage honey would be the ticket for us!
    I love the idea of the eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil! I’ve always slathered up in Mentholatum and I think this would be much more appealing.

    • Crunchy Betty

      Honey WOULD have been just the ticket. We have this Mediterranean restaurant down the street that serves the yummiest sage tea ever. When I asked what all was in it, the guy looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Sage. And honey. That is all.”

      The eucalyptus and peppermint IS wonderful. My mother is obsessed with it (as she commented earlier). I love it too, but wouldn’t call it obsession. A few more days of these allergies, though, and I might change my mind.

  8. These remedies all sound so great, I almost wish I was sick so I would have a reason to try them! Growing up we did the salt-water gargle (“we” didn’t include me) and hot lemon “tea” with honey (that’s the one I still do).

    Since I lost the stressful job I hated, I hardly ever get sick and the allergies are gone too. That’s my best health advice… lose the stress! Easier said than done though, I know!

    • Crunchy Betty

      It is SO stress. Except I wish I could say the same thing about my allergies. They’ve been in rare form the last week. I’ve even been waking up in the middle of the night sneezing. New for me.

      Good old saltwater. The only thing I use it for anymore is the neti pot. Which is another off-putting post all together …

  9. For bronchial cough and dry sore throat, boil together one cup of hot milk with one teaspoon of turmeric. Then drink it. It’s awful, but it works. Next time, I will try your licorice remedy first…

  10. I just found your blog via a link from Simply Frugal, and I’m so glad I did! I love the eucalyptus & peppermint oil combo for nasal congestion as well. I use it in a steam inhalation (add a few drops when you’re doing the boiling water in a bowl trick that Pixie mentioned). I make a thyme and honey cough syrup that seems to be quite effective. The recipe is here: http://abundanceonadime.blogspot.com/2010/11/seven-natural-and-cheap-ways-to-calm.html (along with my other favourite remedies!)

    My latest and best trick ever as far as a natural cold treatment has to be the “Cold Sock Treatment” that a friend turned me on to. It sounds absolutely dreadful, but it’s not really that bad and the results when I did it were *amazing*! Instructions on how to do it are here:

  11. Mel

    Thank you for the Elderberry Syrup recipe–I’ve been using a commercial product for years. For any cold or flu I always use 3 ingredients that are like magic: onion, ginger, garlic. Once I realized that the *magic* my chicken soup was these ingredients I started adding them to my tea for a remedy. It gives me a burst of energy and relieves head cold symptoms immediately (even only if temporarily).

    So, to any tea (green, black, decaf, whatever) add: bruised garlic clove, sliced fresh ginger, piece of onion, and of course lemon and honey too. It doesn’t taste good and I have to bribe children to drink it. But *its like magic.*

  12. Beth

    whenever I start to feel a cold coming I take a tbls of Honey..(only buy the ones from bees in my area) and also add honey to my tea before bed.  Kicks it before it starts..swear by it.

  13. DegaMoore1

    Mix 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup vinegar in a bottle. Shake til well incorporated. Take 2 tablespoons 4-6 times a day for sore throat. Both honey and vinegar have anti-bacterial properties. I keep a bottle around all the time. It’s the first thing my kids go for at the first sign of a sore throat. They love it!

  14. Sheryl

    We start slamming elderberry extract (mixed with grape juice) whenever we start to feel yucky.  We also put a little in juice every day for the kids before they head off to their respective germ factories. Uh…I mean schools.  I’ve noticed that it really stops colds in their tracks and the kids have only been sick a couple of times (as opposed to the 8-10 times we’ve endured in the past).

    I also drink tea with honey when my throat is feeling scratchy.  I’ll add lemon if I have some.

    I am all over that elderberry syrup.

  15. Ashley

    I’ve gotten coughing spells really bad my whole life. I cough until I start throughing up and coughing up blood. The only thing other than Codiene cough syrup that has ever been able to help is a spoon full of honey and standing with my head in the freezer. I guess the cold air helps me breathe better, I’m not sure why, but it works.

  16. emile

    My favorite home remedies for a cold:
    1. Gargle with salt water! And then drink a tall glass of water. Do this a few times a day at the onset of a scratchy, sore throat and hopefully you can shorten the length of the sore throat – or at least make it tolerable.
    2. Vicks VapoRub. Seriously, this stuff is my BFF when I have a cold or cough. Put a thick layer on your chest before bed for nighttime cough/breathing relief. Then rub some on your feet and put thick socks on – seriously it works! 
    3. Boiling water & Thyme. This is a huge relief when I’m so congested I can barely breathe. Just pour boiling water over a few fresh thyme sprigs in a big bowl, cover with a blanket and stick your head in the sauna and breathe in the steam. Make sure you have tissues nearby! I especially like doing this first thing in the morning and right before bed. 
    4. Vaseline/Carmex on the lips. One of the worse parts about a cold, in my opinion, is waking up with lips so chapped you can hardly move them. Fix this my going to bed with a thick layer of Vaseline or Carmex on your lips – it stays put better than regular chap stick

  17. Bluemosquitoes

    I know this one is super-old but I thought I’d chime in….since I’m home sick right now….

    I used to sing (almost) semi-professionally with classical choirs – like Brahms, Dvorak, Mozart, think Handel’s Messiah.  Anyway, in those days, I used to drink alot of licorice root tea before practice & performances.  It really helped keep my voice limber and healthy.  So its not just for sick times!

    I also like very hot baths (that make you sweat, not burn) for colds, and bundling up and breathing very cold air (I live in Canada).  If I’m feeling up to it, I go for a run in the cold air – boosting my circulation seems to boost the sickness out.

    Ok, off to get eukalyptus oil out…

  18. When I start to get a sore throat, rather than use licorice (I hate it), we always suck on Horehound candy…

  19. My tried and true is Ajwain…available in Asian supermarkets, it looks like celery seed but has a very high thymol content. A pinch in your tea, soup or salad will chase the sniffles away…three pinches a day, and this anti-viral will clear up what ails you!

  20. I take the homeopathic cell salt ferrum phos at the first sign of a head cold or sore throat and by the next morning i am fine. for coughs, we make a tea out of dried red clover buds…works soooooo good. also vicks with tea tree essential oil on the bottoms of feet at night relieves coughing. also when i start to feel sick i make a little mixture of salt, cayenne, and apple cider vinegar and take a teaspoon full or i make a tea out of anise seeds and chamomile.

  21. Jen

    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme in hot water. A little lemon and honey if you like.. Helps clear upper respiratory infections.

  22. Caroline

    My personal fave and very effective home remedy for colds and general aches and pains is to make a Mustard Bath:
    1/4 cup Yellow Mustard Powder
    1/2 cup Epsom Salts
    5 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil or Frankincense Essential Oil (both are great for congestion)

    Combine ingredients in small bowl and add to bath water (as hot as you can stand). Soak for at least 10 minutes. Having a mustard bath when I’m feeling lousy prepares me for a fantastic sleep and I wake up feeling refreshed (or at least a lot better than I did prior to taking the bath! Believe it or not, this Mustard Bath doesn’t leave a huge mess in your tub either–just a quick wipe and rinse) so don’t let that discourage you from trying it!

  23. Michele

    Apple cider vinegar! Add 1/2 cup ACV to water – Swish around in mouth for sinus pressure, gargle for sore throat. Add 1 tsp to 16 oz water and drink 3x a day

  24. Jake Johnson

    Thank you for sharing this information about natural cough syrup for sore throat. I have been looking for some.


  1. KIRO 7 says:

    @Martha_Kang @veronicas Not sure if it'll help, but @crunchybetty had a post on natural cough/crud remedies yesterday http://bit.ly/ctbW95

  2. […] wonderful leslie from crunchy betty posted an excellent article on other cold and cough remedies, including a homemade sage honey for a sore throat (i am dying to […]

  3. […] Remedies for Cold and Flu Symptoms Your Natural Medicine Cabinet 10 Cough […]

  4. […] to find ways on how to treat his colds. Here’s a very good home natural remedies: Source: crunchybetty.com via Tenette on […]