17 Tried and Tested Home Remedies for Common Cold and Cough

Home Remedies Cough Cold

Earlier, I didn’t believe in home remedies. However, after the birth of my kid, I resorted to home remedies to make her heal naturally. She suffers from constant cold and coughs during winters and even during the change of season.

This was the first time I took precautionary measures to prevent cold and cough rather than treating it afterwards. Just like other medications, even home remedies work in a certain manner. If you regularly give your kid a certain home remedy, then her body becomes immune to it. What I do is adopt a certain thing for some time. I stop it for a while and then return to the same.

Mustard Oil

It is one of the most effective remedies for common cold and cough. Being warm in nature, it helps provide relief from congestion. Mustard oil could be mixed and match with other things to help cure common cold and cough.

A warm oil massage using mustard oil is quite beneficial. As the oil is quite greasy, you can alternatively massage it on the chest and back for relief.

You can even warm garlic pieces and carom seeds in mustard oil. Make sure that you do not bring it to the boiling point but just warm the oil. Massaging chest with this mix is quite beneficial.


I like honey because of its versatility. It can be used in several ways to treat the onset of common cough. It helps relieve sore throat and even helps in building immunity.

  • Take a teaspoon of honey with a pinch of turmeric. You can have some warm water with it.
  • Add some ginger juice to a teaspoon of honey. It helps in treating cough.
  • If you are fond of tea, then add some lime and honey to a warm cup of tea. Do not add milk to this concoction. You might think why I specially mentioned milk. This is because my husband was surprised to read a recipe of tea that had lime in it. He was surprised whether lime and milk could be had together. For inattentive husbands like mine, I make sure to advice people about not adding milk.
  • If your toddler coughs at nighttime, make her have some honey before retiring to bed. This will help her sleep better.


I like sipping ginger and lemon tea when I am down with cough. Just smelling it brings me to senses. The juice of ginger is quite relieving too. Have it raw or mix it with honey to get rid of cold.

Carom Seeds

Once a friend told me that carom seeds help relieve cold. I tried it on my husband first. The result is quite good. Crush a teaspoon of carom seeds and roast them on a griddle. If you have a running nose, smell the roasted carom seeds for relief. You can bunch the roasted seeds in a handkerchief and tie it up. Smell it whenever you have a bout of running nose. Eating roasted carom seeds with some salt gives relief too. As I mentioned above, massage carom seeds mixed with warm mustard oil for getting rid of cold.

Hot Griddle

When common cold results in the onset of respiratory problems, then the hot griddle method is quite good. I heat a griddle up and then put a thick handkerchief or a small thick towel on it for a couple of seconds. Test it on my knuckles. And then place it on the chest of my toddler (with her clothes on). This procedure is to be performed cautiously. The towel should not be scathing hot, just warm enough. It is quite good as it helps provide relief and even clears up the phlegm. You can even massage mustard oil on the chest first and then place the warm towel.


An antibiotic, turmeric is one of the ancient remedies for treating several ailments. For treating common cold and cough, boil a pinch of turmeric in a cup of water. Relish it when it is warm enough. You can even add turmeric to a cup of milk and boil it. Instead of adding sugar, add jaggery to the milk.

Salt water

One of the remedies that my mother has been advocating since my childhood is salt water gargles. Warm a little water and a teaspoon of salt to it. Gargling with this water is quite relieving for sore throat. I find it so yummy that I even drink the water in between the gargles. You can even boil the water with turmeric and salt and gargle with it when it is warm enough.


One of the folklores is that eating jaggery is quite relieving for cough. I prepare a sweet by roasting whole wheat flour with some clarified butter or ghee. When it turns brownish in colour, I add equal amount of water as flour and then add chunks of jaggery to it. This sweet helps treat cold and cough, they say. However, I prepare it as it is quite soothing during the attack of cold.


Boil two cups of water. Add an inch of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of carom seeds, a pinch each of turmeric powder and black pepper powder, some leaves of holy basil, grated ginger, clove and fennel seeds. Simmer it on a low flame till it reduces to half the quantity. Switch off the flame and add two teaspoons of jaggery to this. This is the ultimate treatment I love. Have it once or twice a day till you get rid of cold.


This is a paste prepared out of boiled gooseberries and a gamut of spices. It is quite tedious to prepare. My mother does all the hard work. However, at times, to save her all the labor, we purchase the readymade variety. It helps a lot if had in smaller quantities (a teaspoon) along with warm milk. It even helps in building immunity.


I am quite fond of this recipe. I mix a pinch of grounded asafetida with a teaspoon of clarified butter or ghee. Warm this mixture up. Apply it on ribs, chest, back, soles, nails and fontanel of the kid. The smell of the magic spice gives relief, especially to the babies.

Lukewarm water

The importance of lukewarm water is not much publicized. However, it helps instantly. Sipping warm water throughout the day is quite helpful in cold and cough. Warm water even helps reduce throat inflammation and replenish the loss of fluid from the body. Having a bath with warm water is equally useful. Make sure you apply some moisturizer after a warm water bath. This is because warm water dries up the skin.

Malabar Nut Leaves

Popularly known as adulsa leaves, the leaves of Malabar nut are quite useful. To treat cold and cough, boil a cup of water and add roughly chopped leaves to it. Simmer it on a low flame. When the color of this water is slightly greenish, it is required to switch the flame off. As this concoction is slightly bitter, you can have it with either honey or jaggery. Add one of them after switching the flame off.

Betel Leaves

That Betel leaves are used as mouth fresheners is a common knowledge. However, they are also quite useful in treating common cold and cough. Apply a little oil or ghee on the back side of the leaves (light green in colour). Place it on the chest. Make sure that the greasy part (light green) is on the chest. Heat a griddle and place thick handkerchief or a small towel on it for a couple of seconds. Now, apply this warm towel on the leaf for a minute. Repeat this procedure for around 5-10 minutes. This procedure is quite helpful if you perform it before retiring to bed at night.


Add steaming water to a bucket or a big container. Place a towel over your head and bend to inhale the steam. You can even add eucalyptus oil to the steam. Inhaling this steam helps relieve congestion and also headache due to cold.

Eucalyptus Oil

Rub some eucalyptus oil to the soles of your feet. This oil is quite helpful is treating cold and cough. This is because it clears blocked up sinuses. Further, it even helps in dislodging mucus, making it easier to breathe. Alternatively, a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief, near your bedside, give a good night’s sleep.


Anti-fungal, antibacterial and antibiotic as well, garlic is one of the most recommend remedies for treating cold and cough. Mince two cloves of garlic. Add this to half a glass of water. Drink it immediately. Garlic is quite helpful in eliminating toxins from the body and helps it heal quickly. Alternatively, rub the feet with olive oil at night. After this, rub minced garlic over the soles of the feet. Wear socks after this procedure.

Precautionary Note

Please do not try all the home remedies at once. Opt for one of the applications and use it as recommended. As all the elements are warm in nature, they might increase the heat in the body and induce inflammation, if taken all at once. I opt for a remedy that can be applied and another remedy that can be consumed. I continue this for a day or two. However, if there is no relief, I change it and opt for another remedy.

Our kitchen is full of foods and things that can be used to treat common ailments. In fact, my grandmother didn’t like to visit the doctor. She often went to the kitchen and had something or the other, without cribbing about the pain (I have a habit). There are so many benefits of spices, herbs, foods and elements in our kitchen that there is no need to step out of the home to treat sickness and weakness. In fact, many foods even help in building immunity and keep disorders at bay. However, I would like to cover these foods in my next post.



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