Your child comes home with a fever and your co-workers in the surrounding
cubicles are coughing and sneezing. Suddenly, you feel a tickle in the
back of your throat. It's the thick of cold and flu season and there
are a lot of different "bugs" flying around out there. If you've
been bitten, here are some simple home remedies to get you through the
worst of it from
Chesda Eng, MD, an internal medicine physician at
St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group in Tustin.
Garlic contains immunity-boosting allicin, a compound that acts as an anti-inflammatory
agent. In a 2001 study, people who took a garlic supplement had fewer
colds and recovered more quickly than people who didn't have any garlic.
"You can thinly slice a couple of garlic cloves and steep them in
warm water to make a type of tea," Dr. Eng says. "Wait about
10 minutes after cutting before putting the cloves in water, in order
for the compounds to fully activate."
This natural sweetener helps the medicine go down. "Some honey mixed
with tea or hot water can be very soothing for a sore throat or rough
cough," Dr. Eng says. "Plus, honey, especially Manduka honey,
has antibacterial properties." Dr. Eng adds that honey should never
be given to children younger than one.
Studies have shown that the catechins in green tea have the potential to
stifle viruses. "Green tea is a good way to ensure you are getting
enough fluids, as it's easy to become dehydrated with a cold or flu,"
Dr. Eng says. "Aim for two to three cups per day, but avoid caffeinated
teas. Caffeine can act as a diuretic and potentially dehydrate you."
This herb is thought to soothe a cough as well as nausea brought on by
the flu. "There are a few different ways you can use ginger as a
cold or flu remedy," Dr. Eng says. "You can buy a decaffeinated
ginger tea, or steep fresh ginger in hot water to make your own. You can
also use it aromatically, by putting some fresh ginger in a steam bath
and inhaling the vapor." Consult with your pediatrician before giving
ginger to young children.
It can soothe and calm like ginger, but it can also work to break up mucus
and help you breathe. Again, look for a decaffeinated version.
Lemon is packed with Vitamin C and is thought to help with decongestion.
"You can squirt lemon in your tea, or even mix it with hot water
and some salt for a gargling rinse," Dr. Eng says. "Like all
home remedies, these aren't cure-alls but ways to ease symptoms and
try to get better faster. If you have questions about any home remedy,
it's best to call your doctor's office and ask."
For more information on St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group,
click here. For more information about Dr. Eng,
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.