Natural Cold Treatment

My school-age son has a terrible cold. I have him rubbing with mentholated ointment and breathing in steam, but he is so miserable! Is there anything else that will help?

Dr. Greene`s Answer:

Here’s my favorite recipe for a natural cold treatment:

  • 2 cups of water (we prefer filtered)
  • the juice of one lemon
  • zest from half that lemon
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • an inch of chopped fresh ginger
  • honey to taste

Combine all and bring to a boil. Pour through a strainer, add honey to taste and drink it hot.

All of these ingredients have proven natural anti-cold properties and it tastes a bit like Thai Soup. The flavors may be strong for a child. You can adjust the cayenne, garlic and ginger if he won’t drink it as is. Most adults enjoy it — at least the second or third time they try it.

The cold virus lives best at 98.6 degrees, so raising the temperature in the throat and nose can help. Drinking lots of hot tea and chicken soup and breathing in steam can help. Salt makes it more difficult for the cold virus to replicate–another good reason for chicken soup, which is often loaded with sodium. Some canned soups have more salt than salt water. Acid is also tough on the cold virus, which is why lemons and tea are a great idea in a cold treatment. Honey helps as well, but shouldn’t be used in children under 1 year of age due to the risk for botulism.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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  1. carin75

    Do you really want to boil the honey?

    • Great point. The recipe should read (and will soon) ” … an inch of chopped fresh ginger. Bring it to a biol. pour through a strainer, add honey to taste and drink it hot.” Thanks for the close read!


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