Close up of woman with a cold blowing her nose with a tissue.

Cold Busters: natural remedies to keep you fighting fit

Coughs and colds can sometimes drag on and on, so what can you do to fight the bugs and help protect yourself in the future?  

Editor Jane Garton looks at some natural remedies that can help soothe symptoms and lessen their severity.


Take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement: a useful insurance policy to protect against any possible nutritional deficiencies in your diet.

Vitamin C: it has long been known that that vitamin C can help to boost the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Look out for supplements containing bioflavanoids as these can enhance vitamin C absorption.

Echinacea: this potent immune booster is thought to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Take it as soon as you start to feel a cold coming on.

Ginger: this wonderful warming and invigorating herb can help boost immunity. Take it as a capsule or make yourself a tea – simply grate some ginger root into a cup, cover with boiling water and sip.


Remember what mother told you – wrap up warm, get plenty of rest and stay in bed if you feel really rough. Forcing yourself to go out to work usually means the cold stays with you for longer. Continue with the preventive tactics above and try the following:

Zinc: there is some evidence [1] to suggest that taking zinc supplements can help speed recovery as well as lessen symptoms.

Pelargonium: start to dose up with pelargonium at the first sign of a sniffle or a sore throat. Research shows it helps to kick-start your body’s natural killer cells as well as helping to relieve typical cold symptoms such as a sore throat and bunged-up nasal passages. [2]

Eucalyptus or myrrh essential oil: add 3-4 drops to a bowl of steaming water. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale to help ease congestion.


For starters aim to eat a healthy diet containing plenty of antioxidant-rich fruit and veg. Eat foods which contain chillies, cayenne pepper, ginger, onions and garlic for extra cold-boosting power.

You might not always feel like it but try to exercise regularly and make sure you get some fresh air every day to keep your immune system strong. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins from the body and keep your mucous membranes healthy.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27378206

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25925973