8 Amazing Natural Cold Remedies from the Kitchen

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natural support for post-surgical healing on the green divasLet’s face it: With Autumn in full-swing, and Winter just around the corner, tis’ the season to come down with a cold or two. While we all do our best avoid getting sick, sometimes catching a virus is totally unavoidable. Instead of reaching for a cocktail of drugs from the pharmacy, why not open a cabinet or a drawer in your very own kitchen and  make some natural cold remedies?

You’ll be surprised to know that there are many at home remedies made from natural foods that can bring some much needed relief. For this week’s Foodie-Phile segment, I’ve compiled a list of some pretty useful foods and remedies that are right under your nose (runny or otherwise). Make sure to check out Green Diva Meg’s Natural Health Elixir, which is great for boosting immunity from colds and seasonal allergies — at the end of this post!

bananas1. Bananas

Bananas are power fruits. They are full vitamin B6, which is imperative for fighting-off infection. Have achy muscles? The potassium found in bananas could help alleviate that as well. Dice up a banana with peanut butter for some extra protein. You really can’t go wrong.


2. Cayenne Pepperpepper

This spice is full of capsaicin, which can beat congestion by decreasing the mucus in your nasal passages to clear your airways. It’s a great alternative to a nasal spray for sure. Eating spicy food of any kind, however, releases endorphin’s which can help the body relax. You can put cayenne pepper in a wide array of dishes — from soups, to fajitas (or GD Meg’s natural health elixir – see below).

garlic3. Garlic

Garlic is full of allicin, which is found in freshly crushed garlic. It blocks enzymes that could potentially lead to an infection. I personally eat a little garlic everyday to decrease my chances of even getting sick in the first place. You can use this food in basically anything; from pesto, guacamole, or fish, to meats, soups or maybe in a salad dressing. Studies have shown that those consuming garlic daily are two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.carrot

4. Sweet Potatoes and Carrots 

Both of these foods are LOADED with beta-carotene (which is a form of vitamin A). Your body uses this vitamin to increase your white blood cells to fight infection. I personally recommend sweet potatoes mashed or roasted, while I prefer like carrots steamed and simple. These three cooking methods lock in the most nutrients.

tea5. Black tea

People who drank 5 cups of black a day were found to have 10 times more interferon in their blood than those who chose not to drink it. The amino acid responsible (L-theanine) is also found in green tea and decaffeinated versions. Black Tea (Green Tea, too) appear to reduce inflammation and prevent the growth of some bacterium, particularly in the mouth. Tea in general contains antioxidants, such as flavonoids and catechins that have an anti-microbial effect. Check out GD Meg’s great post on Earl Grey Tea for more details and health benefits of black tea

ginger roo

6. Ginger Root

This food is a very common remedy in traditional Chinese medicine that is used to treat coughs.  It also helps colds accompanied by a runny nose with clear nasal discharge, neck and shoulder muscle aches and headaches. It is also used in traditional medicine of India for similar reasons.  I’ve also heard that ginger is incorporated on ever type of food possible by Cruise Ship chefs to prevent seasickness due to it’s stomach soothing properties.  Why not find a great ginger tea and adding honey or lemon?

lemon7. Lemons

Lemons are the ultimate army to fight off a cold or sickness. They  contain several nutrients  such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B5, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, natural sugars and fiber. Lemon juice even has medicinal properties in it such as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, ant- tumor, anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory. While I would never just eat one plain (for one obvious, very puckery reason), they can be added to many different recipes or even with warm water/tea to create a soothing drink for sore throats.

8. Honey honey

Honey has been used for centuries as a way to ward off a cold or virus due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that sooth sore throats. It also decreases inflammation of the throat muscles and kills bacteria that could cause an infection. A lot of professional singers take honey to calm their vocal cords and throats before performing. If the trick works for them, then it’s a sure bet that honey will allow you to speak comfortably soon enough.

Green Diva Meg's Natural Healthy Elixir
Serves 1
GD Meg's natural health elixir ~ great for seasonal allergies, colds and warding off colds and flu
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Prep Time
5 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
10 hr
Prep Time
5 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
10 hr
  1. 1 Tbls – Local raw honey
  2. 3 – 4 Tbls – raw organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
  3. 1/2 cup – warm (NOT boiling) water
  4. pinch – organic cayenne pepper
  5. 1/8 tsp – organic turmeric
  6. 1/8 tsp – organic cloves
  7. 1/8 tsp – organic ground cinnamon
  1. I use filtered water and heat it up to almost boiling, but take it off the heat before it boils. Boiling water or water that is too hot will destroy the beneficial enzymes in both the raw honey and the apple cider vinegar, so this is kind of important. Mix it all together in a mug and let it sit until the honey is dissolved. I drink this every night about an hour before bed.
  1. Add 1/2 - 1 whole clove of garlic crushed & 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (or 1/8 tsp of dried/ground) to ward off cold and flu or in the early stages of either.
The Green Divas http://thegreendivas.com/
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About the author / 

Green Diva Gina

Green Diva Gina (aka Gina Gioldassis) is fondly referred to as the “Happy” Booker & Foodie-Phile Editor. She was producing and hosting the Eco-Radio show at Drew University when we met her, and we were thrilled that she chose to come work with us after she graduated. Having been brought up in New Hampshire in a Greek family, she is a natural food explorer and enthusiastic green diva. Previously, she worked as a production intern for both WNYC's Soundcheck and New Hampshire Public Radio's All Thing's Considered. While not in the studio, she spends her time traveling, eating, doing yoga and working full-time as a finance writer. At the moment, aspires to one day master her grandmother's homemade doughnut recipe.

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  1. naturalalternativeremedy@gmail.com'
    Tina Johnson October 12, 2013 at 7:11 am -  Reply

    All fantastic options. I always have lemons, so I’ll constantly add half a lemon’s juice to a glass of water til I feel better. I know a lot of people who love using apple cider vinegar, too.

  2. megan@thegreendivas.com'
    Green Diva Meg January 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm -  Reply

    PS – add about a quarter to a half clove of crushed raw garlic to the elixir when you are trying to ward off a cold or have an active cold!

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