We often dismiss cold and flu as minor illnesses, but the fact that they are common doesn’t make them any less difficult to deal with. They can take quite a toll on your body, leaving you physically and mentally exhausted. While our go-to fixes often include over-the-counter medications, there has also been an increase in relying on natural home remedies in recent times, especially for conditions such as common cold and flu. Here is a list of some of the best cold and flu home remedies, including a variety of traditional Ayurvedic herbs that you will find in almost any Indian kitchen.
Proven Home Remedies For Cold And Flu
Ginger or Adraka is one of the most widely used ingredients in Indian cuisine, as well as Ayurvedic medicine. It also serves as one of the most effective home remedies for cold and cough. Research shows that the herb helps treat colds and coughs as it reduces inflammation in the upper airways, making it easier to breathe. You can consume ginger in any form, including fresh ginger, dried ginger or sunth, ginger tea, or ginger capsules.
Salt Water 
This may be the most inexpensive home remedy for a cold and cough, but it’s also the simplest and among the most effective. Gargling with warm salt water is proven to help treat upper respiratory infections, easing throat pain and nasal congestion. In addition to fighting infection, the action of gargling warm salt water can loosen mucus and help to eliminate bacteria or allergens.
Tulsi Tea 
Tulsi is highly recommended in Ayurveda for its healing effects in the treatment of a wide range of infections. These recommendations are supported by scientific evidence, which shows that tulsi contains an abundance of phytochemicals that exhibit beneficial effects. Some of these bioactive compounds are now even used in conventional medicine. When dealing with the flu or a common cold, tulsi works through its immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects to provide quick relief. You can use fresh tulsi leaves or a packaged tulsi tea to treat yourself at home.
Steam Inhalation 
Steam inhalation is another traditional treatment for colds and coughs that can provide quick relief, clearing the airways to allow you to breathe easy. To maximize the benefits of steam inhalation, you can use Ayurvedic herbs or oils that are meant specifically for this purpose. Look for products that contain ingredients such as eucalyptus, pudina and camphor, as research shows that they can provide adequate relief from cold symptoms to ensure better sleep quality.
Chyawanprash is not a formulation that you make at home, but every Indian kitchen has a bottle of this essential Ayurvedic product. Packed with numerous medicinal herbs, such as amla, tulsi, ashwagandha, giloy, sunth, tejpatra and jayfal, Chyawanprash boosts your immune response, making it easier for your body to fight the infection. Aside from Chyawanprash, you can also use supplements of individual herbs such as Giloy and Ashwagandha as they are all known for immunomodulatory effects.
All of these home remedies are safe and highly effective when used consistently, but there are situations in which their efficacy can vary. If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, make sure to consult a doctor as you could be suffering from something more serious than a cold or the flu.