Earth (and kid) friendly cold remedies

Skip the sugar-laden cough syrups for these natural cold remedies .

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Skip the sugar-laden cough syrups for these natural cold remedies

I think Maia tried to keep it a secret from me, but it’s clear she has a cold (last time round I scarred her taste buds by giving her a Fisherman’s Friend when she coughed). Even if it were okay to dope her up on cold medicine and plunk her in front of the TV, I probably wouldn’t go that route. There just seems something counterproductive in feeding a child an organic diet, then liberally adding medicines full of sugar and artificial dyes…

She’s miserable though and as she snuffles, sneezes, coughs and whines I find myself trying to remember old folk remedies. Some of them make me suspicious (although I have perfectly rational friends who will pin a sock around their neck at the first tingle of a sore throat), and some of them make me laugh (chillies, especially jalapenos, may be effective against a cold, but there’s no way Maia would tolerate being fed those spicy little peppers!).

These ones seem to work for my family, so maybe they’ll work for yours:


Honey and lemon

This is our tried and true. Equal parts fresh squeezed lemon and local honey and hot (not boiling water). It’s not fancy but it’s awfully soothing.


Lemon sore throat spray

Lemon is a great soother of sore throats and peppermint numbs the pain a bit. In a small spray bottle mix:

  • • 15-20 drops lemon essential oil
  • • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • • 30 ml water
  • • 30 ml lemon juice

This can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. Shake it before each use, using as often as necessary to soothe sore throats.


Ginger tea

Ginger boosts the immune system and respiration. It provides relief for virtually all cold symptoms, like fever, sinus congestion, sore throat, stomach-ache and nausea. 

  • • 1 litre water
  • • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • • honey and lemon slice

Slice ginger into thin slices add to pot of boiling water. Cover it and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste.


Natural DIY vapor rub

When I was a kid I used to love when my mum applied Vicks Vapo-Rub to my chest and back help relieve congestion. Turns out the stuff is full of petroleum products. Here is a natural version of that rub (wear an old shirt after you apply it). Combine:

  • • 10-15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • • 3 drops thyme essential oil
  • • 15 ml olive oil


Do you have any natural cold remedies that have worked with your family?