Best Natural Remedies & Home Treatments for Cold & Flu...

Yes, the dreaded cold and flu season is now upon us. If you happen to have been struck down with either of these afflictions, do not fear… help is on the way!

Whether you want to get rid of your cold or flu virus quickly, or you simply want to prevent yourself or your loved ones from coming down with a cold or the flu, here’s 15 natural home remedies for flu and cold relief (and prevention) that will get you through...  

Article by Troy Sawyer (Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Health & Wellness Coach, Sports Nutritionist)

Updated June 29, 2024 -- This post contains affiliate links  

Best natural home remedies for cold and flu

As soon as winter hits, you can be guaranteed that people from all over will be struck down with either the common cold or flu (influenza) virus. This is one of the reasons I don’t like winter (I don’t like the cold either… give me summer anytime!).

Misery reigns during this time of the year!

The problem is these viruses are highly contagious and it doesn’t take much for you or one of the kids to catch either of them. Simply breathing in air that has infected droplets can be enough (hence why when someone sneezes near you, you should cover your face and get away from them as fast as you can!). Touching infected items such as phones, door knobs, benches, iPads, etc, and coming into personal contact with an infected person can also give you the common cold or flu virus. Parents with multiple children will know this scenario very well. When one child gets the flu, usually the other siblings will end up with it as well (a horrible time indeed for a parent). And why do cold and flu viruses only seem to be around in the colder months? Because rhinoviruses (which is essentially what these are) survive and thrive in cool climates – they don’t like the heat.

Some of the symptoms of the common cold or flu include nasal and chest congestion, headache, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, fever, chills, body aches, coughing, and lots of feeling sorry for oneself and wanting extra TLC (okay, I threw the last one in myself, and technically it’s not a symptom, but is this true or what?).

Clearing up a cold or flu infection quickly is crucial. The last thing you want is for the infection to lead to a further infection such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or sinus or ear infections. Most people head straight for over-the-counter prescription medications when they catch the flu or a cold, but the side effects are never any good. With natural options, however, you rarely get side effects, and even when you do, they are mild and short lived.  

Best Fast-Acting Home Remedies for Flu, Cold and Fever Relief…

Adults over the age of 65, children and pregnant women are most at risk of getting the flu or being struck down with a cold. Statistics show that the average adult gets between 2 and 4 colds a year, and with children (including toddlers and babies) it’s somewhere between 6 and 8.1 This is quite shocking considering the numbers could easily be much closer to zero. The reason a person gets the flu or a cold in the first place is because their immune system is weak and has been compromised. Strengthen your immunity and you won’t have to worry about catching the latest cold or flu virus going around - that’s how it works.

They say there’s “no cure for the common cold” but this is a false statement. The truth is you can not only get rid of both the flu or common cold viruses fast, you can keep both of these unwanted pathogens away for good. Like I said, all you need to do is strengthen your (or your child’s) immune system and get it up to the maximum level. But I'm guessing that if you have the flu right now then you probably don’t care a whole lot about prevention at this point, you just want to get rid of it (and the accompanying symptoms) as quickly as possible so you can start feeling better? That’s what these top 15 home remedies will do, along with helping to boost your immunity so you don’t end up in this horrible predicament again.

What we’ve done is list each remedy in order of importance, so we recommend you begin with number one and work your way down from there. With whatever remedies you decide to choose though, you really can’t go wrong. They all work like a charm and pack a much needed health boosting punch!

Home Remedy for Flue and Cold Relief #1… Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): 

Apple cider vinegar definitely needs to be your first choice remedy if you’ve been struck down with the common cold or flu virus. It’s highly alkalizing to the body (viruses cannot survive in an alkaline environment), so it not only helps to kill the pathogen fast, it helps relieve your flu symptoms straight away and all at once. ACV is particularly effective for headache, breaking a fever, relieving chest congestion and cough, and clearing/drying up those nasal passages. Apple cider vinegar also gives your immune system a much needed “shot in the arm”, along with helping boost your energy levels.  

The secret to taking the ACV (and getting the most out of it) is to make sure you continue to have it at regular intervals throughout the day, and the next few days, until the virus is completely dead and buried. Unfortunately, this is where most people go wrong. They have the ACV once or twice, get relief from it, and then don’t have it again, thinking that’s all they need. No! You will definitely notice the positive effects and begin to feel better - usually within the first hour of taking the apple cider vinegar - but to really break the symptoms and destroy the virus you MUST continue to have it! One tablespoon every 3 hours throughout the day is what you need right up to bed time. If you wake up during the night, have another tablespoon then as well. Continue with this regimen for the succeeding days ahead until your symptoms have all but vanished.

The easiest way to have your ACV is to mix a tablespoon (30ml’s) in a glass of warm (not hot) filtered water and drink down. If you can, try and gargle the first few mouthfuls before swallowing to help kill the germs in your mouth and throat. For extra benefit and to alleviate some of the strong taste, mix a teaspoon of raw or Manuka honey in as well. If you’re really desperate to get over your flu as fast as you can (and you don’t mind hot or spicy foods), add a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to your drink also. This works a treat!

Now don’t forget, you need to continue to have the ACV (and other ingredients if you can) every 3 hours, 4 at the most, until ALL of your symptoms have completely cleared. Remember also, only raw organic ACV with the mother (like these) will work. Processed vinegars of any kind are no good. For those of you who absolutely positively can’t handle the taste of the liquid, go with the ACV capsules instead. 1 to 2 capsules taken every 3 hours until the virus has been put to rest is what you need.

And if you want to keep yourself free of all cold and flu viruses, continue to take the apple cider vinegar each day. 30 ml’s of the liquid or 2 capsules daily will do the trick.

Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu #2… Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda): 

Good old fashioned baking soda is also one of the best (and dirt cheap) home remedies for treating flu and colds. It’s a strong alkalizing agent, so it helps maintain the pH balance in your bloodstream. This has been proven to severely shorten the lifespan and duration of virtually all forms of cold and influenza viruses (remember, these viruses can’t survive in an alkaline environment). There’s a story circulating about a Doctor who recommended all his infected patients take baking soda during the horrible 1918-1919 flu pandemic. He reportedly never lost a single patient during that time! Another doctor, Dr. Volney S. Cheney, said this in a letter to the company that manufactures Arm & Hammer baking soda…

“In 1918 and 1919 while fighting the ‘Flu’ with the U. S. Public Health Service it was brought to my attention that rarely any one who had been thoroughly alkalinized with bicarbonate of soda contracted the disease, and those who did contract it, if alkalinized early, would invariably have mild attacks. I have since that time treated all cases of ‘Cold,’ Influenza and LaGripe by first giving generous doses of Bicarbonate of Soda, and in many, many instances within 36 hours the symptoms would have entirely abated.” 2

You’ve probably got some baking soda sitting in your pantry right now, so if you do, get it into yourself or whoever needs it right now! The recommended dosages are as follows…

Day one: Take six doses of ½ teaspoonful of baking soda in a glass of filtered water roughly every two hours.

Day two: Take four doses of ½ teaspoonful of baking soda in a glass of water every 3-4 hours.

Day three: Take two doses of ½ teaspoonful of Bicarbonate of Soda in a glass of clean filtered water - first thing in the morning and again in the evening before bed. After this, ½ teaspoonful first thing each morning until your cold or flu is cured.

Baking soda works for kids too, if you can get it into them. Make sure you reduce the dosage though to at least half or more (depending on their age). For more information on the baking soda cure for colds and flu, have a read of this terrific article by baking soda expert, Dr. Marcus Sircus… Baking Soda for Flu Relief.


NOTE: Combining both the apple cider vinegar and baking soda treatments to get rid of your cold or flu is one of the most potent and fast-acting remedy combinations you can use. The ACV and baking soda can be taken either at the same time or at separate times throughout the day. Just make sure you have both on an empty stomach and stick with the recommendations above so you get the most out of them. 

Fast-Acting Treatment for Flu and Colds #3… Raw or Manuka Honey: 

Raw honey for cold and flu relief

Both raw and Manuka honey are loaded with essential nutrients, enzymes and powerful anti-bacterial and viral destroying agents. They help stop the release of mucus and phlegm in the body to quickly relieve symptoms such as cough and runny/blocked nose. Honey is also an excellent throat soother, which is why it’s added to virtually all throat and cough lollies.

The great thing about honey is it’s easy to get the kids to have (no kicking and screaming required). Manuka honey is definitely the best honey if you can get it and is even recommended by the World Health Organisation as an alternative treatment for colds and flu.

Along with mixing a teaspoon in with your apple cider vinegar, you can also make a soothing tea by combining 2 teaspoons of Manuka honey and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of warm water and slowly sipping. Or if you prefer, simply eat a spoonful of raw or manuka honey 3-4 times throughout the day. Just before bedtime is particularly important, especially with the kids, so a teaspoon or more before going off to sleep will do wonders for them (and you) getting a good night’s sleep. 

Home Remedy for Cold and Flu #4… Cayenne Pepper: 

Cayenne pepper is a strong natural decongestant. The heat in cayenne breaks up and dissipates mucus and phlegm in the body very quickly. Add it to your ACV, honey and lemon mixes as much as you can. If you’re not used to hot and spicy foods then be sure to start off slow and low with the cayenne and build up the dosage over the next few days.

Begin with ¼ teaspoon added to the drink or tea of your choice, then increase to ½ teaspoon, then finally to ¾ or 1 full teaspoon. Another way that you can have your cayenne is to simply mix it in a cup of warm to hot (but still drinkable) water and chug it down. This is my favorite method as it gets it over and done with fast. You can also add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to soups such as tomato, pumpkin or chicken noodle soup.

To prevent colds and flu in the future, it’s a good idea to continue to have some cayenne pepper every day as well. For me, I chug down a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (I slowly worked up to this amount) mixed in a glass of warm filtered water first thing every morning. I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a cold or the flu?

Natural Home Treatment for Flu and Colds #5… Ginger: 

Ginger cold and flu cure

Ginger contains potent anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s similar to cayenne pepper in that it helps warm the body and break up mucous and phlegm. Because of its heating properties, ginger is also effective for reducing chills and fever associated with colds and flu.

Chop up a few slices of ginger and add these to one of your drinks or teas. In addition to this, take a slice of fresh ginger and suck on it. It will be quite warm, but doing this really helps shorten the duration and symptoms of the common cold or flu virus. Do this at least 4 or 5 times throughout the day to get rid of your symptoms fast and help increase your energy levels.

Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu Relief #6… Garlic: 

You’re probably already aware of the incredible health benefits of garlic - I think just about everyone on the planet is. Garlic is one of the strongest anti-viral and pathogen destroying herbs discovered thus far. It works a treat at opening up the respiratory passages and boosting the body’s immune response, along with killing the virus responsible for the common cold and influenza. This is definitely one home cure that grandma would have used back in her day.  

Fresh garlic can be easily added to foods such as soups and broths. Or, chop up a fresh garlic clove into small pieces then swallow each piece (washed down with some liquid). Just remember, fresh garlic can repeat on you and make you smell like you’ve been rolling in a garlic patch (it does help keep the vampires away though). If you don’t like the idea of this then take a good quality odourless garlic supplement instead (such as these ones). One 1000 mg capsule taken 4 times a day until your cold or flu is gone will do the trick. After this, continue to take 2000 mg’s a day of garlic to keep all cold and flu viruses away for good. 

Natural Treatment for Cold and Flu #7… Cinnamon: 

Yet another terrific spice for boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation - especially inflammation of the throat. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon (do not use the cheap cassia variety) to your favorite tea or warm drink. You can also add a few drops of food grade cinnamon bark oil to your drinks or beverages as well for extra benefit and relief. Cinnamon bark oil goes particularly well with honey. 

Fast-Acting Home Remedy for Flu and Cold Relief #8… Turmeric: 

Turmeric for cold and flu relief is a traditional folk remedy the people of India have been using for millennia. This wonderful spice will kill just about any harmful pathogen in its path, including the viruses responsible for the common cold and flu. Turmeric contains powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory ingredients that no man-made drug can even come close to emulating.

The best way to have your turmeric is by making a delicious turmeric milk tea. To do this, add 2 cups of either coconut, almond or dairy milk, a teaspoon of turmeric powder, teaspoon of ginger powder, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder, teaspoon of manuka honey, pinch of ground up black pepper (also good for treating cold and flu) and a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) to a blender or Nutribullet and blend until smooth. Add the mixture to a saucepan and heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly until it’s hot (but not boiling). Poor into a cup and drink immediately. Delicious! 

Quick Cold and Flu Remedy #9… Hydrogen Peroxide in Ears: 

Yes, this one’s a bit out there I admit, but it really does work extremely well. And the great thing about this remedy is it works a treat for both the common cold (any cold really) and the flu. It’s also one that you can administer to the kids quite easily.

All you do is fill an eye dropper with 3% grade hydrogen peroxide. Lie down on one side and gently squirt the HP into the exposed ear. Leave in for 5-10 minutes (it will bubble and make all sorts of funny noises but this is normal) then tilt your head up and drain. Switch to the other ear and do the same. If you find your ears get a little sore after doing this, repeat the process again but this time using clean filtered water.

Just remember, the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is what you need (3% Hydrogen Peroxide). Do not use anything stronger. If you do have a stronger grade then simply dilute down to 3% grade. In addition to doing the ear cleanse, gargle a capful of 3% hydrogen peroxide for 20-30 seconds to kill any bacteria and infection in your mouth and throat. Of course, be sure to spit the HP out afterwards. Do not swallow it.

Natural Home Remedy for Flu and Cold Relief #10… Probiotics (Good Gut Bacteria): 

Probiotics for cold and flu relief

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that supplementing with probiotics, particularly the lactobacillus strain, can reduce the duration of a cold by an average of 2 days and reduce the symptoms by 34%. And according to a 2017 report and study, probiotics (lactobacillus strain again) were able to completely inhibit the influenza virus in vitro.3  The reason? Probiotics heal the gut and stimulate and enhance the body’s immune response. When you consider that 70% of your immune system is actually located in your gut, this makes perfect sense. So the bottom line… fix your gut and you’ll get rid of your illness much faster.

Taking a good quality probiotic supplement (gummies for kids) is essential, along with eating and drinking probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, natural yogurt, kefir, kombucha and buttermilk (here’s how to easily make your own). Limiting the amount of refined sugars is also crucial as sugar feeds the bad bacteria, which then destroys your good gut bacteria! (Probiotics). 

Natural Treatment for Cold and Flu #11… Olive Leaf Extract (OLE):

This is one supplement that you definitely should have in your medicine cabinet at all times. Olive leaf extract contains very powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Its antioxidant capacity is twice that of green tea and 400% higher than vitamin C. OLE is also an exceptional immune booster - one of the best discovered so far in fact. In research studies during the 1960’s, olive leaf extract was found to destroy every viral and bacterial pathogen it was tested against (they tested it against more than 30 microorganisms) including various influenza and rhinovirus strains. What’s more, it was able to kill these strains virtually on contact! 5  

Olive leaf extract treats all of the symptoms of a cold and flu very quickly, particularly chest infection, cough, headache, fever, runny nose and sore throat. Find yourself a good quality “super strength” olive leaf extract supplement (don’t bother with the regular varieties as these are not strong enough) and take 1 capsule every 3 hours until your symptoms vanish. For kids, find a reputable children’s OLE formula.

Because olive leaf extract is such a potent immune booster, it’s also a good idea to take it as a permanent health supplement to keep all viruses and pathogens away. If not, at least keep a bottle handy and start taking it at the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat.

In addition, OLE has other positive health benefits such as helping maintain normal blood pressure, reducing your risk of cancer, arthritis/joint pain relief, brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention. Here’s some of the best olive leaf extract supplements currently on the market if you’re interested… Best Super Strength Olive Leaf Extracts.  

Fast-Acting Treatment for Cold and Flu #12… Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc: 

These 3 vitamins and minerals are exceptional immune boosters. When you’ve been knocked down with the flu or a cold, it’s imperative that you begin building up your immune system right away to hasten your recovery. There’s nothing worse than being hit with a virus and having it linger for weeks, even months, on end.

Along with olive leaf extract and probiotics, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc all help to build up your body’s immune response so you won’t be stuck with your cold or flu for very long. You can either but these as separate supplements (and they aren’t expensive), or you can sometimes find an all in one. Because of the high amounts that adults need, you may be better off purchasing them separately. Vitamin C is taken at a dosage of 1000mg’s 3-4x daily, vitamin D at 3000-5000 IU’s a day, and zinc at 30-50 mg’s per day with food. 

Home Remedy for Flu and Cold Relief #13… Oregano Oil and Elderberry: 

Oregano oil for cold and flu

Oregano oil and elderberry are two more herbs with exceptional anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities.

The antibiotic properties contained in oregano oil definitely help to speed up recovery time from a cold or the flu, along with destroying the underling infection that’s causing the problem.

According to a preliminary study, elderberry reduced the symptoms of influenza on average 4 days quicker than patients who received a placebo.4

Both herbs can be safely taken and used by both adults and children as long as you stick to the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer (listed on the side of the bottle or container).

Oregano oil can be used as both an essential oil (5-6 drops in a pot of steaming water then breathe in the vapors) or as an internal remedy. If you decide to use oregano oil internally then you must make sure the oil you have is fit for internal use (such as this one). 4-5 drops of oregano oil in a glass of orange juice (OJ helps disguise the taste) 3-4 times a day will do the job, or 1-2 capsules of the soft gels.

With the elderberry, find the “gummies” to take. They’re super easy and the kids won’t have any problems with them. For dosages, follow the recommendations listed on the bottle.

Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu #14… Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE): 

Grapefruit seed extract is another valuable supplement to have in your pantry during the cold and flu season. GSE acts as a natural antibiotic and contains strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It also boosts the immune system significantly and speeds up recovery time from illness. You may have heard about the powerful healing qualities of resveratrol? Well, grapefruit seed extract is rich in resveratrol, along with other strong antioxidants.

You can find GSE in either capsule or liquid form. The capsules are the handiest as these are already premeasured. You can take anywhere between 250 and 1000 mg’s a day of these. In the beginning to get rid of your cold or flu, go with the highest amount, then slowly taper down in the days following as your symptoms disappear.

For kids, keep the dosage to at least half that of an adult. For the liquid, children under 10 can have up to 3 to 5 drops of GSE in 5 ounces of juice 2-3 times a day. Adults should have 10 to 15 drops of GSE in 5 ounces of water or juice 2-3 times a day. Grapefruit seed extract does have quite a bitter flavor so having it with juice is definitely the best option. 

Quick Cold and Flu Remedy #15… Foods and Soups: 

Eating good recovery foods and drinking plenty of liquids is essential to getting over a cold or flu virus quickly. Soups or broths are certainly the best options. Chicken noodle, pumpkin and tomato soups should definitely be on the menu. These are of course, the standard home-made cold and flu relief remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation.

If possible, go with home-made soups over the canned or packaged varieties. And don’t forget to add the extra cold and flu relief ingredients such as cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, turmeric and black pepper if you can. Another handy tip is to break open a probiotic capsule and add this to your soup. Your insides will love you for it.

Finally, make sure you add some organic virgin coconut oil to your meals. Coconut oil is antimicrobial and immune boosting and has been shown to help reduce the severity and duration of viruses, including the common cold and flu. Coconut oil can be added to virtually anything including soups (here’s some handy recipes), bone broths, yogurt, tea or coffee – and it tastes great. With whatever foods you do decide to go with, just make sure you stay with easy-to-digest meals... nothing too heavy. 

“Home Remedies for Cold and Flu” Final Note…

Best cold and flu relief remedies

Well, that ends this article on the best home remedies for treating the common cold and flu. You are now armed with everything you need to finally get rid of that blasted virus for good!!! Like we said, start with the ACV and baking soda first if you can. If not, go with whatever you have sitting in your refrigerator or pantry right now to get things under way while you’re waiting for your supplements to arrive or you can go to the store and pick them up. 

With the littlies, you may need to be a bit inventive and come up with ways to get the remedies they need into them without them throwing a hissy fit. For instance, if they like honey then crush up an ACV pill and mix this in with the honey, or mix some olive leaf extract powder in, or GSE. Certain things like the probiotics, elderberry or “immune boosting” supplements can be bought in gummy form so the kids shouldn’t have any problems with these. With the big kids, put on your Miss stern nurses cap and force them to have what they need. A bit of tough love will go a long way in this case.

Good luck and all the best to you!

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