Home remedies for cold: 5 grandparent-approved methods 

Old lady holding a cup and a blue-covered book

We all know the feeling: One day you wake up and your throat is hoarse, there’s a growing pressure in your face, your nose is stuffed or runny, and maybe you even have a fever. While a common cold is something everyone catches from time to time, it doesn’t make feeling under the weather any easier. 

And in those moments when we need a bit more comfort, we turn to those who seem to have every home remedy for cold symptoms in the book and an innate knack for providing comforting advice: our grandparents.  

Sure, there may not be a magic cure for ridding our bodies of nasty colds and flu symptoms. But there are things we can do to help make the experience a little less miserable. That’s why we asked our grandparents to share their tried-and-tested home remedies for common cold and flu symptoms. 

These home remedies for cold and flu could help to ease your symptoms and provide some much-needed comfort. But remember, always consult your GP or speak to your doctor for medical advice or for any further questions you may have.  

With that being said, let’s get into some of the best home remedies for cold and flu:

1. Keep tissues in every room

An illustrated GIF of a box of tissues popping up in various rooms in the house as a home remedy for flu.

It seems like grandparents always have a little box of tissues stationed in just about every room of the house. And that’s because they know that often, the one of the best home remedies for cold and sneezing is convenience: to relieve that annoying runny nose without having to move too far from the sofa – or from your bed! 

When wiping your sniffles, keep in mind that catching your sneezes and coughs in a tissue and throwing that tissue in the bin is also key to preventing the spread of the virus in the first place.1 So the next time you feel a cold coming on, be sure to stock your house (and your pockets) with plenty of soft yet strong tissues when utilising these at home remedies.  

Tip: Keep a packet of Cushelle Pocket Pack tissues in your pocket when you feel a cold coming on. They contain eucalyptus to help relieve blocked sinuses. Not to mention, they’re soft and gentle on sore noses.

2. Garlic: the best remedy for a cold?

Garlic: the best remedy for a cold?

Yup, you read that right. We all know that garlic can scare vampires away, but grandparents swear that it can scare colds and flu away, too. As a home remedy for flu, throughout history, garlic has often been considered the best home remedy for cold symptoms, which we now know is in part due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.2

So, if you can face the taste and smell, it’s well worth a go. You can eat it either as a raw clove, by boiling it in water to make a garlic tea, or by adding more than usual minced garlic to your meals to act as a fever treatment at home. 

3. Prop up your pillows

Prop up your pillows

Grandma and grandpa don’t insist on propping your pillows for nothing. In fact, there are some who believe that sleeping on extra pillows is one of the most effective home remedies for cold symptoms, especially when you’re very congested.3 The combination of getting plenty of rest and slightly elevating your head gives your body the chance to properly recover while helping to drain any blocked sinuses.  

So, the next time you get into bed for a sick-day TV binge, be sure to prop yourself up with loads of extra pillows.  

4. Good home remedies for cold symptoms: feed it

Good home remedies for a cold: feed it

If you’re dealing with a cold or flu symptoms, food might be one of the last things on your mind. And that’s totally normal! Often times when our bodies are busy fighting off a sickness, the last thing we feel like doing is eating. But your loss of appetite is no match for grandma’s hearty meals as one of the best natural remedies for the flu. 

Despite the old adage of “feed a cold; starve a fever,” the experts at Harvard Medical School agree that eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of fluids, regardless of whether or not you’re feverish, is an important step on the path to recovery.4  

And you already know that granny’s chicken soup is right up there as one of the most comforting – let alone delicious – dishes among all the home remedies for cold relief! 

5. Sweat it out

Sweat it out

We know what you’re probably thinking with this tip, but don’t worry. Not all of grandma’s home remedies for common cold symptoms should be taken too literally. In terms of natural remedies for colds, you may hear “sweat it out’” and immediately start fearing that you’re expected to run a marathon or hit the gym while feeling sick. But that is definitely not the case – the exact opposite actually.  

If you suspect you have flu, try taking a relaxing bath or go for an easy walk to help you feel back to normal. Both of these options could work wonders in helping to ease nasal congestion – just make sure you stay well hydrated!5 Then, only once you’re feeling better, feel free to return to your regular exercise routine! In fact, studies suggest that regular exercise could strengthen the immune system, thereby decreasing the risk of suffering from a cold next time.6 

Help stop the spread of cold viruses when you're on the go by using sanitizer or washing hands regularly.

There you have it: Your grandparents’ top home remedies for cold and sneezing and natural remedies for the flu to help you recover as rapidly as possible. When a cold or the flu takes its toll on you, it’s easy to retreat and feel defeated. But worry not! With these classic home remedies, you can feel a bit more comfort and relief.  

Remember, if your symptoms aren’t going away or they’re getting worse, be sure to reach out to your doctor immediately for assistance. Otherwise, if you’re looking for the best home remedy for cold symptoms for you, trust our grandparents’ wisdom and give these a try. 


1 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention   

2 Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects, Leyla Bayan, Peir Hossain Koulivand, and Ali Gorji, Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014 Jan-Feb; 4(1): 1–14. PMCID: PMC4103721,   

3 Harvard Medical School - What to do about sinusitis 

4 Harvard Medical School - Frequently asked questions about colds and the flu 

5 NHS – Common Cold    

6 Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of the current literature, Clin Exp Med. 2020 Jul 29 : 1-14,   


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