Do-it-yourself remedies for the common cold

January 29, 2013 3:27:20 PM PST
We are still in cold weather season and if you have been battling the common cold, we have some do-it-yourself cold remedies to help you feeling like your old self again.

Obviously, you don't want to skip the doctor if you feel really bad. But whether you have a slight cough, sore throat or just the sniffles, some of these remedies might just do the trick and you probably have all the ingredients you need at home.

From honey to tea, essential oils and even remedies you may never have heard of, Tamika Fletcher has used them all to cure the common cold and its symptoms.

"These are things I've been doing since I was a little girl," Tamika said. "These are not actually my recipes, by the way. These are things my grandmother used to make."

She says some of these remedies might be just as good as, if not better than, over-the-counter remedies.

"And it saves you a ton of money," she said.

First up: Do-it-yourself vapor rub. Tamika says you can make your own at home for a tiny fraction of the cost of those drug store brands. All you need is eucalyptus oil.

"It opens your nasal passages, it helps you to breathe easier and better and it absolutely relaxes you," Tamika said.

You can find eucalyptus oil at the grocery or craft store, and you will also need another oil like coconut, olive or almond oil. She adds about 20 drops of eucalyptus oil, gives it a stir and it's ready to rub.

Next up: Curing a cough. Cough drops aren't all that expensive, but you can make them in a snap at home with honey.

"You boil it until it's about 300 degrees. You can use parchment paper, just drop it on until it's hard," Tamika said. "I do want to say you need pure honey. There's a difference between clover honey and pure honey."

Honey is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. It can soothe a sore throat and reduces coughing, however doctors advise against giving honey to infants.

If you need more than just cough drops, how about making your own cough syrup using onions?

"My grandmother used to put a bowl of onions next to her bedside for her cold," Tamika said. "I always thought that was an odd thing to do, but believe it. She got better right away."

Tamika takes a whole onion and chops it. Then she boils honey for about five minutes.

"Then you pour off the honey into another container, and it's just as good as any cough syrup," she said. "The onion is good for your chest, nose, decongestion."

To help you battle a cold, how about a hot toddy?

"I think we've all heard of it," Tamika said. "You can use lemon and ginger tea or any tea you like."

She squeezes half a lemon, adds a cough drop for extra potency and a tablespoon of Jack Daniels.

"It actually opens you up completely faster to me and it actually relaxes me better than an over-the-counter medication," Tamika said.

The mixture may ease congestion, soothe a throat and help you sleep, but keep in mind too much alcohol can make it difficult to sleep, so you may want to limit yourself to just one.

If you're making this remedy for a child, Tamika says just swap out the Jack Daniels and tea for hot apple cider, and then add lemon and a cough drop.

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COLD REMEDY RECIPES FROM TAMIKA FLETCHER:

Homemade Cough Drops

Raw honey (pure, local honey works best)

Optional: Candy molds or parchment paper

Optional: Ginger, cinnamon, whiskey, vitamin C, lemon juice

Boil honey to 300 degrees, Drop on parchment paper or pour in molds. Let sit until hard.

Natural Cough Syrup

Chop 1 whole onion. Boil onion and 1 cup of raw honey for about 5 minutes. Strain the onions and take 1-2 tablespoons as needed.

Hot Toddy

Lemon and ginger tea

Half a lemon

Tablespoon of Jack Daniels

Optional cough drop for extra potency or peppermint pillow candy

Kid Friendly version: substitute Apple Juice for tea and alcohol

Ginger Tea

Boil Ginger root

5 Dual-Action Ricola

Boil in 2 cups of water with honey and lemon

Eucalyptus Chest Compress

Pour 2 ounces of almond or olive oil into a small bowl or cup.

Add 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

(For a thicker consistency use solid coconut oil)


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