18 Head Cold Remedies That You Can Use at Home

head cold remedies

Are you feeling stopped up and foggy? Is your head pounding and your nose running? Are you having trouble sleeping and your throat is painful and scratchy? It sounds like the dreaded head cold has struck again!

This common ailment causes millions of cases of illness each year in the US. How long do colds last? The average cold sticks around for seven to 10 days. If you ask us, that’s too long to go on feeling like this.

Thankfully, there are some highly effective home remedies for a cold that will help you get over a cold fast and provide huge symptom relief.

Home Remedies That Really Work

A plan for how to get over a cold fast may not even require that you leave your house. Depending on what you have in the kitchen, you may need to pop out for some supplies for these head cold remedies, but they are all easy to perform at home.

More and more research is highlighting the science behind home remedies, many of which have been in use for generations. Give some a try, and you might find the perfect way to beat your head cold, and fast.  


Ginger Tea

If you’re wondering how to get rid of a cold, a great place to start is in your kitchen with a hot cup of ginger tea. Ginger is effective at fighting respiratory viruses, making it one of the most powerful head cold remedies.

And warm beverages are a great way to help relieve congestion, so by combining these two approaches, you’ll get double the chest cold remedy for your effort!

To make ginger tea, steep a few slices of fresh ginger in hot water for about 15 minutes. Before enjoying, strain and add honey to taste.


If your noise is at the center of your symptoms, you’re likely trying to figure out how to relieve nasal congestion. Steam is a great tool for this. Moist, warm air can help ease congestion, while also soothing other symptoms like coughing.

While it may be tempting to head down to the sauna at your local gym, it’s best to find a way to access steam at home so you don’t get others sick.
You can use a vaporizer or humidifier if you have one, or just sit in the bathroom while you run a hot shower.

Lemon, Garlic and Honey

Could some of the best cold medicine already be hiding in your kitchen?

Lemon has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, which means it may help fight off the germs causing illness in the first place. It’s also high in vitamin C (we’ll talk about why that’s important later).

Garlic is a bit of a double whammy when it comes to head cold remedies. Research has found that regular use of the plant can help prevent colds, and help speed recovery when colds do occur.

Honey is great for relieving cold symptoms like a cough and can even help people sleep while suffering from a head cold. Plus, it tastes delicious!

Incorporate these ingredients into your cooking or tea to help ease symptoms and find relief.


Mullein is a lesser known herb that packs a punch when it comes to fighting a head cold. The plant is antibacterial, meaning it may help fight off germs.

To use mullein as a cold remedy, you can steep some dried leaves in hot water to make a tea. This way, you get the antibacterial benefits of the herb plus the benefits of a warm beverage.

Licorice Root

Licorice root has been found to be quite effective at battling a sore throat. Just make sure you opt for the natural root, not the candy!

Yet again, the root can be made into a tea, or you can use licorice root extract in water to gargle and help protect the throat.

Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root is another powerful herb that can help as you experiment with how to treat a cold from home. The root is antitussive – meaning it can help ease and prevent coughs.

You can find the herb in teas, or make your own using the dried root.

Homemade Vapor Rub

If you’re looking for effective nasal congestion home remedies, look no further than homemade vapor rub. A homemade rub is a great, natural way to get rid of a cold fast.

You’ll need to melt together oil and wax before blending in essential oils. The oils are what makes this one of the best head cold remedies. Try eucalyptus oil, which is helpful for easing nasal congestion.

Hot Pepper

Wondering how to get rid of a head cold while still eating interesting food? Spice it up with hot pepper!

Capsaicin, an active compound in hot peppers, can reduce symptoms like nasal congestion and sinus headaches.

For an extra boost, add a bit of hot pepper to something warm and nutritious like chicken soup or bone broth.

Apple Cider Vinegar

With vinegar, we have another natural, antimicrobial substance that can help your body fight off germs.

Mix with water and other healthful ingredients, like lemon, honey, hot pepper, and ginger. This way you’ll create a super effective cold-fighting drink.

Saline Spray

Saline sprays and washes are some of the best nasal congestion remedies. The methods have been found to reduce both symptom intensity and duration.

You can buy pre-made drops or sprays in the store, or you grab pre-proportioned saline packets to mix your own washes. Just make sure to follow all saline spray instructions correctly.

Gargle With Salt Water

A salt water gargle is one of the fastest ways to get rid of a cold.

Just dissolve a quarter to a half of a teaspoon of salt in a warm, eight-ounce glass of water and gargle in the throat. This remedy is great for soothing a painful or itchy throat.

Keep Your Head Elevated

Keeping your head propped up – especially while you sleep – can help you rest easier a feel better faster.

An elevated head position will help ease breathing – even if you’re coping with a majorly congested system. (And resting well is essential to healing up faster, too.)

Chicken Soup

Similar to tea, the warm liquid and steam of a chicken soup can help ease head cold symptoms, especially congestion.

Plus, other ingredients, like vegetables and herbs, may provide anti-inflammatory benefits, helping your body heal. (And it tastes better than cold medicine!)


The herb Echinacea can both reduce the chance of developing a cold, and reduce the length of time it lasts if one does develop.

You can find Echinacea in a variety of products, including teas, beverages, and supplements.

Vitamin C

Long lauded as a standard, Vitamin C for colds is an effective, classic remedy. The vitamin can help reduce the length of illness, plus may ease symptoms.

You can find the nutrient in supplements and vitamins, plus in fresh fruits and veggies, like citrus products.


Elderberry is one of the best chest cold remedies out there. The plant can ease throat and sinus symptoms, lower fever, and reduce congestion – quite the impressive list.

You can find elderberry syrups specially made for treating a head cold.


Wondering how to fight a cold with the power of vegetables? Try radish!

These veggies are full of Vitamin C, making them helpful at keeping colds away. Pus, radishes are anti-congestive – helping to clear up respiratory passageways and give you some comfort.

Drink Bone Broth

Bone broths are nutrient-dense liquids that are loaded with cold-fighting power. They can also help encourage sleep, helping you find a little rest while you recover.

You can make a savory and healing bone broth with leftover bones and veggies after a meal. Drink the soothing broth warm to take advantage of a little extra steam.

When To See a Doctor

Although we all wish we knew how to get rid of a cold overnight, it’s not always that easy. Some colds can turn serious and go beyond the scope of home remedies.

If your symptoms are worsening, or if they persist for a week or more, it is probably time to make an appointment with your doctor. You should also keep an eye out for symptoms like high fever and a productive cough. These could all be signs that your illness is worsening and it’s time to get a medical professional involved.

And while exploring how to shorten a cold, make sure no herbal remedies could interfere with any medications you are taking. Check with your doctor if you aren’t sure.

And remember to take precautions with herbal remedies, just like you would with traditional medications.

For example, eucalyptus oil needs to be diluted before use. For this reason, not only should adults take care, but the product might be unsafe for children to access. Take care, follow the instructions on product labels, and ask your doctor any questions that you have.