Home Cold Remedies

Every family has their go-to home remedies for colds, and our family is no exception!


When I was little girl growing up in the north, my parents would always give us warm chicken noodle soup, the kind made of powdered stock and dehydrated noodles, and copious amounts of orange juice. My father also tortured me by rubbing our chests and noses with vapor rub, full of Eucalyptus.

Then, as a teenager, I lived in Germany. My host mother Nanne had a different formula: smelling eucalyptus oil on a tissue or on our pillows, going into the sauna to release the sinuses, and a shot of schnapps to soothe the throat. And yes, even the six-year-old got the shot of schnapps. I think it probably put him to sleep as well.

Around our house, we rely on herbal remedies and soup as well. Our go-to soup is full of lemongrass and chillies, with a coconut base. Have you guessed it? It’s Thai Tom Ka Gai soup. This tradition started when I was sick, and my husband couldn’t/wouldn’t cook enough to make me chicken noodle soup. So we started getting Thai soup as takeout, and the tradition has stuck ever since.

When the girls are under the weather, like Spice has been this week, I give them immune system boosting echinacea tea and ginseng pills. I have an immune system disorder, so unfortunately, I can’t take these helpful tools. But all of us can have good night tea, full of valerian and passionflower. That stuff puts you out like you were hit by a train.

We all have our favorite cough syrups… Jason and the girls get the horrid tasting Buckley’s. But it works, as they say.

I spread eucalyptus drops on pillows for enabling breathing, and we rub the girls’ chests with vapor rub, full of the same stuff. Amazingly, they don’t feel as tortured as we did by my father. Maybe we’re just a little more delicate rubbing it in.

Lastly, we have the best sinus clearing tool out there. When we were at a traditional Berber pharmacy in Morocco, we bought some nigella seeds from the pharmacist. All you do is put some seeds in a tissue and rub them in a ball in your palm until that oils are released. Then you take the big sniff of the nigella seeds… Wow! Sinuses cleared!

Oh, and I forgot one last thing. Usually we don’t have any kind of tissue around our house. But when the girls get very snivelly, I treat them to a little package of tissues of their choice. Somehow this encourages them to wipe instead of snivel. Which is one of my pet peeves.

I would love to hear what kind of home remedies you use, and where they came from!


4 thoughts on “Home Cold Remedies

  1. Dad says that your memory of the vapor rub is more dramatic than his … But it must have worked if you use it as well.

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