How to Get Rid of a Cold Naturally Fast

Three Methods:Clearing Your Nasal PassagesUsing Natural RemediesHelping Your Body Feel Better Faster

Although most of the time a cold goes away on its own within four to seven days, there are certain things you can do to ease your symptoms and help yourself feel better much faster.[1][2] You can get rid of a cold both naturally and fast by clearing your nasal passages with non-medical options, like steam or saline solution, and treating your symptoms with the right herbs, extracts, teas, and supplements. Getting plenty of rest, fluids, and nutrition will also allow your body to fight the cold bug faster.

Method 1
Clearing Your Nasal Passages

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    Drink plenty of warm fluids. Drinking warm fluids helps to loosen the secretions in your sinuses so that your mucus flows more freely, making you feel better faster. Studies show that drinking warm fluids relieves cold symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, and fatigue.[3]
    • Hot, non-caffeinated tea will do the trick. Stick with an herbal tea like chamomile or peppermint to rehydrate yourself. Adding some honey and lemon will soothe your throat and help the effects last a little longer. Chamomile is good for reducing stress and fatigue, while peppermint relieves nasal congestion.
    • Japanese Benifuuki green tea may help reduce nasal congestion and allergic symptoms when drunk regularly.[4] The traditional herbal tea “Throat Coat” has been shown to be much better at relieving sore throat pain than regular teas.[5]
    • Hot broth is also a good choice when you have a cold. Drink vegetable or chicken broth in large quantities, but look for low-sodium broths to avoid consuming too much salt. Chicken soup can help soothe a sore throat and loosen mucus to ease congestion.[6]
    • If you're a coffee lover, there's no need to avoid it. Drinking coffee has been shown to increase alertness among those with colds. Children should still avoid caffeine.[7] Warm water, tea, and broth should be the main fluids you take in, as too much caffeine can dehydrate you.
    • Avoid alcohol. It may make nasal congestion and swelling worse.[8]
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    Take steamy baths and showers. Steam moisturizes your nasal passages so they feel less irritated, and the relaxing effect will help ease your cold symptoms.[9] Draw yourself a hot bath and soak, or start each day during the duration of your cold with a nice, hot shower so you benefit from plenty of steam.[10] You may even find a mentholated “shower bomb” helpful to relieve congestion.
    • For a quick steam treatment, you can heat up a pot of water just shy of boiling. When it starts producing quite a lot of steam, remove the pot from the heat and place it on a stable surface such as a table or countertop.
    • Lean your head over the pot, but don’t get too close to the steam or the water or you may get burned. Cover your head with a light cotton towel. Inhale the steam for 10 minutes.[11] You can use this treatment two to four times per day.[12]
    • Adding a few drops of essential oil to the water is a good way to further decongest your sinuses and get the benefits of aromatherapy.[13][14] Try peppermint oil to help relieve sinus headaches.[15] Eucalyptus oil helps relieve nasal congestion.[16] Do not use tea tree oil, as it is toxic when consumed.[17]
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    Consider oil pulling. Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic remedy that uses oil to remove germs and bacteria from your mouth. Most microorganisms adhere to the fat in oil, allowing you to spit them out along with the oil.[18]
    • Use coconut oil. Coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties and also contains lauric acid, an anti-microbial agent.[19]
    • Use organic, cold-pressed oil. Sesame and sunflower oil will also work, but coconut oil has additional anti-microbial properties (and also tastes more pleasant).
    • Take a tablespoonful of oil and swish it in your mouth for at least one minute. The longer you swish, the more bacteria you will remove. Swirl the oil around your mouth, suck it through your teeth, and make sure to get it onto your gums too.
    • Don’t swallow the oil. If you have trouble swishing the oil without swallowing, spit a little out.
    • After swishing the oil around, spit the oil into a trash can. (Spitting it into the sink could clog your pipes.) Rinse out your mouth with lukewarm water.[20]
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    Use a neti pot to irrigate your sinuses. A neti pot is designed to flush the mucus from your sinuses and relieve cold symptoms for several hours through a process called nasal irrigation. A saline solution is poured into one nostril, and it carries mucus out the other. Neti pots are available at most drug stores and health food shops.[21][22]
    • Start with one irrigation a day while you have symptoms. As you feel better, you can increase it to twice daily.
    • Make a saline solution or buy one from the store. To make your own solution, combine ¼ tsp of kosher or pickling salt, ¼ tsp of baking soda, and eight ounces of warm distilled or boiled water. It’s important to use distilled water, or water that’s been boiled and cooled, because tap water may contain parasites or amoebas.
    • Fill the neti pot with four ounces of the saline solution. Stand over a sink or work in the shower or bathtub to prevent messes. Tilt your head at about a 45-degree angle.[23]
    • Hold the spout of the neti pot to the upper nostril. Tip the pot to pour the saline solution into one nostril and let it flow out the other. Repeat with the other nostril.
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    Blow your nose correctly. While it's important to blow your nose while you have a cold to help keep your sinuses clear, don't blow too explosively. The pressure from blowing hard can impact your ears, giving you an earache on top of your cold.[24] Be sure to blow gently, and only as often as necessary.
    • Doctors recommend that you blow by holding a finger over one nostril and gently blowing the other into a tissue.
    • Wash your hands each time you blow your nose. This will eliminate bacteria and viruses on your hands that could cause other infections (or spread infection to others).
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    Use a humidifier. If the air in your home is too dry, it can worse your cold symptoms and make them last longer. Use a humidifier to keep the air moist, which will keep your nasal passages lubricated and make it easier to drain mucus. Run a humidifier at night to help ease your breathing.
    • Make sure to regularly clean your humidifier. Mold and mildew can grow easily in damp environments.
    • You can also release moisture into the air by boiling two cups of distilled water in a pot. Use distilled water to avoid any trace impurities from further agitating your cold.
    • Houseplants act as natural humidifiers. Their flowers, leaves, and stems release water vapor into the air. They also clean the air of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.[25] Good choices include aloe vera, bamboo palm, weeping fig, Chinese evergreen, and various species of philodendron and dracaena.

Method 2
Using Natural Remedies

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    Take elderberry extract. European elder is widely used in medicine. It can help reduce congestion and other symptoms of respiratory illness.[26] Elderberry has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, which can help fight colds, and it stimulates the immune system.
    • You can find elderberry extract in syrup, lozenge, and capsule supplement forms at most nutrition stores and drug stores.
    • You make elder flower tea by steeping three to five grams of dried elder flower in a cup of boiling water for 10–15 minutes. Strain the flowers out, and drink the tea up to three times daily.
    • Do not use elderberry for a prolonged time without consulting with your doctor. You should talk with your doctor before taking elderberry, as it may present side effects for pregnant women, people with autoimmune disease, and people with low blood pressure. People who take diabetes medication, laxatives, chemotherapy drugs, or immunosuppressants should also consult with a doctor before using elderberry.
    • Do not use unripe or uncooked elderberries. They are poisonous.[27]
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    Try eucalyptus. Eucalyptus has antioxidant properties that protect against free radicals, molecules that can damage cells. The active ingredient in eucalyptus is cineole, a compound that works as an expectorant to fight respiratory infections and alleviate coughs.[28] You can find it in lozenge, cough syrup, and vapor bath forms at most drug stores.
    • Ointments containing eucalyptus oil may also be applied to the nose and chest area to relieve congestion and loosen phlegm.
    • Fresh or dried eucalyptus leaves can be used in teas and warm water gargles to soothe sore throats. You can make eucalyptus tea by steeping two to four grams of dried leaves in a cup of hot water for 10–15 minutes. Drink this tea up to three times per day.
    • For gargles, steep two to four grams of dried leaves in one cup of warm water. Add ¼ to ½ tsp salt. Steep for five to 10 minutes. Use after meals to reduce bad breath and soothe sore throats.[29]
    • Don’t consume eucalyptus oil by mouth, as it can be toxic. People with asthma, seizures, liver or kidney disease, or low blood pressure should not use eucalyptus without asking their doctor.
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    Use peppermint. Peppermint is also widely used to treat cold symptoms. Its main ingredient, menthol, is an excellent decongestant. Menthol thins mucus and breaks up phlegm. It can also soothe sore throats and coughs.[30] You can find peppermint in essential oils, lozenges, supplemental extracts, herbal teas, and as a fresh or dried herb.
    • Peppermint tea can help soothe sore throats. Steep one tea bag (approximately three to four grams of leaves) in hot water. Adding a little honey will help quiet coughs.
    • Do not use peppermint oil or menthol with children under two.
    • Peppermint oil is safe for aromatherapy use and as a rub. Do not consume peppermint oil orally.
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    Eat raw honey. Honey contains anti-viral properties and strengthens your immune system, and raw honey is even better for you. Raw honey is solid at room temperature and has a slightly stronger flavor than pasteurized honey. For maximum benefits, look for raw honey that has been harvested locally, as it helps your body combat the allergens particular to your area.
    • You can use honey and lemon in tea to soothe sore throats and quiet coughs.
    • Do not give honey to a child under one year old.[31]
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    Take echinacea. Echinacea may help boost your immune system. Studies have not proven that it can help fight the common cold, although it is a common remedy.[32] You can find echinacea in supplement form at most drug stores and pharmacies.[33]
    • If you have ragweed, daisy, or marigold allergies, do not use echinacea.[34]
    • People who use certain medications, such as some heart medications and anti-fungals, should not use echinacea. Consult with your doctor before you use echinacea or any herbal supplement.
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    Eat garlic. Garlic appears to boost your immune system, and may have a mild anti-viral quality.[35] More studies are needed to determine whether garlic can help fight colds, but it shows some promise.[36]
    • You can take garlic as a supplement, or eat it in foods. You should aim to eat two to four cloves of garlic per day to maximize any effects.[37]

Method 3
Helping Your Body Feel Better Faster

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    Gargle warm salt water. A warm saltwater gargle can help moisturize a scratchy throat. Mix ¼ to ½ tsp of kosher or pickling salt in an eight ounce glass of warm, distilled, or boiled water.[38]
    • Gargle with the water for one minute, then spit out. Repeat every few hours as necessary.
    • Do not ask young children to gargle. They may accidentally swallow the liquid.
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    Consume vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help strengthen your immune system. Vitamin C will not “cure” a cold, but it can help your body heal faster.[39] Most adults should consume between 65–90 mg a day, and no more than 2,000 mg per day.[40]
    • Citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kiwifruit, spinach, and other raw fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin C.[41]
    • Do not over-consume vitamin C. In addition to the small possibility of overdose, your body cannot store excess vitamin C. It will expel what your body doesn’t use in your urine.
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    Drink enough fluids. Staying hydrated can help soothe a sore throat. Drink plenty of water, juice, or clear broth. If you have been vomiting, you may need to drink a sports drink containing electrolytes to restore your electrolyte balance.
    • Warm lemon water with honey can help loosen congestion.[42] Mix the juice of ½ a lemon with one cup warm water. Stir in honey to your liking.
    • Warm apple juice may soothe a sore throat. Pour one cup of apple juice into a microwave-safe mug and microwave for one minute.[43]
    • Women should drink at least nine cups (2.2 liters) of fluids per day when they’re well. Men should drink at least 13 cups (3 liters) of fluids per day when they’re well. When you’re sick, you should plan to drink even more.[44]
    • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Alcohol can make inflammation worse. Both alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you.
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    Get plenty of rest. Your body needs rest in order to heal faster, so go ahead and call in sick. (Your coworkers probably don’t want to catch your cold, either.) Pushing yourself too hard can weaken your immune system, meaning it takes longer to recover from your cold.
    • Try to take plenty of naps during the day, since having a cold can make you feel run-down and you need to keep up your strength.
    • If you have trouble breathing while sleeping, elevate your head on a pillow to help you breathe more easily.
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    Manage your stress. Several studies suggest that practicing relaxation techniques can help reduce the duration of colds and flu.[45] Some good stress reduction techniques include breathing exercises, yoga, and tai chi.
    • For deep breathing, place one hand on your chest and the other on your lower belly. Take a slow, deep breath through your nostrils for a count of four. You should feel your belly expand against your hand. Hold your breath for a count of four, then slowly exhale for a count of four.[46]
    • Yoga is a mind-body therapy that improves fitness, lowers blood pressure, promotes relaxation and self-confidence, and reduces stress and anxiety. It uses physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to improve overall well-being. Hatha yoga is most common form of yoga in the United States. It emphasizes physical postures or exercises, known as asanas, with the goal of balancing the opposites in one's life. During the exercises, flexing is followed by extension, a rounded back is followed by an arched back, and physical exercises are followed by meditations[47]
    • Tai chi is a gentle exercise program that is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is composed of slow, deliberate movements, meditation, and deep breathing, which enhance physical health and emotional well being. Many practitioners recommend practicing tai chi for about 15–20 minutes twice daily at home, since regular practice is essential for mastering the forms and achieving lasting results. Before beginning a tai chi program, you should check with your doctor and discuss your health needs with the tai chi instructor.[48]
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    Try aromatherapy. Aromatherapy can help you relax. Put a few drops of essential oil in your humidifier or steam bath, or make herbal teas.
    • Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and is often used to improve relaxation and reduce anxiety. You can make a simple lemon balm tea by steeping two to four grams of dried lemon balm, or four to five fresh lemon balm leaves, in hot water for 10–15 minutes.[49]
    • Lavender can help calm and soothe you. It can also help relieve fatigue. Use the essential oil in rubs or your humidifier.[50] You can also find lavender teas at many health food stores.
    • Chamomile is very popular as a calming herb. It can also help treat chest colds.[51] Make a chamomile tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over two to four grams of dried chamomile or a chamomile tea bag. Adding chamomile oil to a steam inhalation bath can help relieve a cough.[52]
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    Know when to see a doctor. In many cases, the doctor will tell you to treat a common cold with the remedies in this article. However, if you have severe symptoms of a cold or flu, or have been previously diagnosed with a respiratory disease, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you have any of the following symptoms, see a doctor:[53][54]
    • High fever (above 102 °F or 38.9 °C)
    • Ear or nasal infection
    • Green, brown, or bloody nasal discharge
    • Cough with green phlegm
    • A cough that does not go away
    • Skin rashes
    • Breathlessness


  • Eat oranges. They contain Vitamin C, which helps your immune system fight off colds.
  • Rest! Pushing your body too hard will only mean it takes longer for you to recover.
  • After you wipe your nose, wash your hands and get a clean tissue. Wash your hands regularly. Use a hand sanitizer when you’re on the go.
  • Drink as much water as you can, but do not over-drink. Also, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Try putting your feet in hot water. It relaxes the nerves in your body and relieves some of the symptoms.
  • Get as much rest as you can. This means sleeping in during the weekends and even taking a couple days off work. Constantly drink plenty of liquids (water is best).
  • Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest to help your body recover quickly.
  • Make a soup that is four cloves garlic, one tablespoon ginger, two cups chicken broth, one lemon, and about one teaspoon paprika.
  • Get some exercise to help prevent colds. Research has shown that regular, moderate exercise can reduce your chance of catching a cold.
  • Splash cold water on your face. It will make you feel fresh. However, this is only a temporary fix; the effects last for about 30 minutes.
  • Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke when you have a cold. Smoke irritates your mucous membranes and can worsen your symptoms.
  • Using cough drops will help but don't over use them.
  • Try not to consume any dairy products as this will make your cold worse.



  • If you have an underlying lung condition, such as asthma or emphysema, you should let your doctor know right away when you get a cold.
  • See a doctor if your symptoms don't improve in seven to 10 days, or you are experiencing symptoms that include high fever (above 102 °F or 38.9 °C), nasal discharge that is not clear, development of a productive cough (cough with phlegm), or skin rashes.
  • If you are pregnant, certain medications, herbs, and supplements may be harmful to you and your baby and should not be taken.
  • Consult with your doctor before taking any herbal remedy. Herbs can interact with some medications or medical conditions.
  • Neti pots should only be used with clean, purified water, preferably not tap. Unclean introduction to such sensitive areas might cause waterborne parasites to fester.

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Categories: Colds and Viruses