We’ve all been there: we’re not feeling very good from a cold or flu bug, but it’s not bad enough to get checked out by the doctor and get prescribed medication.

In addition to over-the-counter cold and flu medicine, you’re probably relying on a home remedy or two to help nurse you back to health. While some of these are legit, others are more mentally comforting than actually helping you get better.

Bushwick Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at the effectiveness of some of the more popular home remedies.

  1. Taking Supplements to Boost the Immune System

Once we’re starting to feel a twinge in our nose or a tickle in our throat, many people go right for the supplements. Popular ones include vitamin C, elderberry, and zinc. For vitamin C, research shows that taking it regularly during the winter months can shorten cold symptoms by a day or so, but if you take it once you start to feel sick, it’s likely not going to be much help.

Studies have shown there to be some success in taking elderberry or zinc to shorten the duration of a cold, but zinc can have some rough side effects, so check with your doctor to weigh the pros and cons. Zinc should also be taken with food.

  1. Using Tea, Soup, and Ginger to Soothe a Sore Throat

Hot liquid feels good on a sore throat, and the steam can help relieve congestion. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling in your throat and nose. These aren’t going to help eliminate symptoms, but they will help you feel better, which is important in its own right.

  1. Trying to Control a Cough

The worst part about a cold can be the coughing fits. Honey is a popular remedy that coats the throat, which can calm irritated tissues.

But if you really want to try and suppress that cough, add a saltwater solution to your honey. Mix a half teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle with it for 5-10 seconds before spitting it out. The salt can help break up mucus and also remove nasty particles like allergens, bacteria, and viruses from the back of your throat. Then after you gargle, take a teaspoon or two of honey to have a more pleasant taste in your mouth.


To learn more about Bushwick Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and all of the services they offer, visit http://bushwick-center.facilities.centershealthcare.org.