Natural Winter Cough and Cold Remedies

Elderberry Plant Photo by Dmitry Bukhantsov on Unsplash

It’s that time of year, when the temperature drops, the light is fading and we seem to be more susceptible to catching colds, coughs and sore throats. So this come winter why not arm yourself with Nature’s best cold and cough defenders? You don’t have to spend a packet to make sure you have some seriously effective and very natural remedies, right where you need them – in your kitchen, ready for when those bugs start to try to take over your throat, your nose, let’s face it… your life. Having a cold gets in the way of breathing, kissing, exercising, feeling good in yourself…  Who needs that? The bugs must go!

Timing is Everything
The key to success in your fight against colds, sore throats and coughs is to NIP THEM IN THE BUD. Take immediate action the moment you notice the symptoms. If we intervene when there are less bacteria / viruses in our systems then we have a chance of gaining the upper hand. That’s why it’s important to have all the remedies in your home before you get ill. Garlic, elderberry, olive leaf and the herbal teas are all good during a cold. Echinacea tincture is a little pricey and is only effective (in my opinion) as a preventative and initial stage remedy. The throat spray is good throughout the cold, if your main symptom is a sore throat.

So first up is garlic. It’s powerful anti-microbial works to prevent colds and coughs from taking hold. Slice up a peeled garlic clove thinly. Sandwich the slices of garlic between two thicker slices of raw apple. If you are sensitive to garlic use more apple than garlic and slice it thinly.



Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Next is Echinacea… every household should have a dark brown glass bottle of this incredible herb. If you have a local herbalist source your echinacea tincture from them, it is likely to be much stronger. Also recommended is a Throat Spray made with elderberry, echinacea, cloves and myrrh. Wipe out the bacteria before it takes hold!


Photo by Dmitry Bukhantsov on Unsplash

Another cold remedy worth a mention is elderberry. This amazing berry is from the elder (sambucus nigra) – the same plant you can harvest elderflowers from… Both make delicious wine! Sadly you have to use a lot of sugar (maybe try xylitol?) to sweeten the elder berry as it’s very tart. Try this recipe or buy ready made syrup from your local herbalist or health store.

Olive leaf extract offers a wide range of anti bacterial, anti viral and even anti fungal effects. Choose it if you have failed to stop a cold in it’s tracks or if it’s a more serious ‘flu virus, or chest or sinus infection. I like to take it as a syrup but you can take it in many forms for information on the many ways of using olive leaf see here

Photo by Nazar Habovri Instagram: @nazarhrbv

Last but not least is tea… hot fluids help to combat viruses & also hydrate & soothe your throat and respiratory tract. One friend of mine gently boils a garlic clove or two with ginger, lemon and other herbs to create a warming tea with a medicinal effect. Other herbs to consider are thyme; liquorice (a good alternative to honey if you are vegan); yarrow & sage.

Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

Small amounts of the herbs mentioned should not cause a problem for most people. Avoid liquorice in quantity if you have high blood pressure. Do check with your doctor or herbalist if you are at all unsure about taking herbal remedies.


Julia is an experienced yoga teacher and holistic lifestyle coach who offers yoga classes, private yoga lessons and health coaching in Crouch End, North London.

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