Cold home remedies analysed

We get doctors to assess popular home remedies for cold

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Our experts

Dr Christine Venter (CV)

General Practitioner, Raffles Medical Beijing

Home remedies to treat or cure the common cold have never been scientifically studied. When you have a cold, the most important things are to rest as much as possible, keep hydrated and wash your hands as often as possible’.


Dr Christine Wang (CW)

Medical Director, ParkwayHealth

‘There is no clinical evidence that show home remedies are useful for common cold. However they can help patients drink more fluids or relieve symptoms. The symptoms of a cold will resolve over time, even without any treatment’.


Photo by Leighann Renee on Unsplash

Photo by Leighann Renee on Unsplash


Boiling coke with ginger

Method: Add ginger slices and coke in a saucepan and boil over a slow flame for 10 minutes.


CV: I don’t advise using this home remedy. Caffeinated and carbonated drinks can make dehydration worse, which will make congestion worse. The high sugar content in Coke is also not healthy though it, and little bit of caffeine in Coke might make you feel more energised for a period after drinking it.

CW: If you like coke or ginger flavor, it’s a good way for you to drink more fluids. However, know that every 100ml coke contains 180 kj energy and 10.6g sugar so it’s not recommended for diabetic patients.


Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash


2. Chicken soup

Method: Boil a chicken with onion, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. After 45 minutes, add celery, carrots, potato, egg noodles and parsley.


CV: There’s no reason not to drink chicken soup as its warmth can be soothing and it will also keep you hydrated. Eating healthy meals like this is always a good idea when you’re ill.

CW: Healthy ingredients like carrots, onions, and celery, have vitamins A, C, and anti-oxidants. The chicken itself is full of protein, which is good for your immune system. It’s a good way for us to keep nutrition balance. However, remember not to use too much salt and skim extra oil from the soup.


Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash

Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash


3. Ginger tea

Method: Add ginger slices to a freshly boiled tea. Cover cup for 10 minutes to infuse.


CV: The tea will keep you hydrated. The warm liquid can be soothing and might ease congestion by improving mucous flow. Studies on the health effects of ginger have also shown that it helps fight against nausea and vomiting.

CW: If you like ginger flavor, it can help us to drink more fluids, a way to relive cold symptoms. There are no negative side effects to drinking ginger tea.


Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash


4. Honey and lemon water

Method: Mix honey and water into boiling hot water.


CV: Honey soothes a sore throat and it could help with suppressing coughs. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, which has anti-oxidant effects and also improves the immune system. However, studies have shown that Vitamin C is not helpful if you start to take it after the onset of symptoms and too much of it can cause diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps.

CW: Lemon water and ginger tea have the same functions in helping with a common cold. The main ingredients of honey are glucose and fructose and it has high calories and offers some nutrition. This remedy is not recommended for diabetic patients.


5. Baking Soda Water

Method: Dissolve one-half teaspoon baking soda in a glass of cool water and drink six times per day


CV: Baking soda is an alkaline agent. As a home remedy it is commonly used to treat indigestion and heartburn by neutralising stomach acid. However excessive intake can be harmful as it contains a lot of sodium, which elevates blood pressure and leads to fluid retention. It should not be used by people with hypertension, cardiovascular disease or chronic kidney disease. Sodium bicarbonate can also interact with other medications. It also tastes horrible. Definitely not something I recommend.

CW: Baking soda is an alkaline substance. When it mixes with an acid, it alters the pH level. That’s why it can quickly soothe an upset stomach or cover a bad smell. If one of the symptoms of your cold is indigestion, baking soda water can help you to calm it.

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