Conditions Part I: The Common Cold & Natural Remedies

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The Common Cold, Disease & Inflammation – Natural Remedies & Ways To Help Yourself

Web Links on Cold Blog: please note that you can click on anything marked in bold which will take you to the appropriate internet site

Listen To Your Body – A Lesson Learned!

I always count my blessings on a very regular basis for good health – so when I caught a summer cold last week, I decided to carry on regardless with my normal life & a positive mindset. Some argue for the ‘above the neck’ rule, that as long as your symptoms are above the neck (blocked nose, sneezing etc), you don’t have any chest conditions & you feel up to it, exercise is fine – so I also continued to train at the gym (against the more moderate advice of my sensible boyfriend!). Now I also believe that we’re individuals & our bodies have individual responses so for some people this rule may work well. For me personally though, my body made it quite clear that this was not the case – the cold took hold. Within days I found myself tucked up on the sofa sleeping most of the day. It was clear that I needed to find a better balance, when fighting off a virus my body also needed to rest & recuperate in equal measure with carrying on with life in general.

How Nature Can Help You To Help Yourself

Being forced to take some mental & physical time out for a few days did me the world of good. Although I was careful to get plenty of rest I also like a positive opportunity, so from under my blanket on the sofa I started to post on Facebook about the odd natural remedy. After receiving a few questions from friends & clients I decided to put my experience to good use & share some of these natural & herbal remedies that I have been using.

The result was 3 blogs: this one, a second where I explore using Aromatherapy Essential Oils & the third on Golden Milk also known as a ‘Turmeric Latte’.

I also found one remedy which worked so well as a Nose Clearer & Cough Reliever it is a Clear Winner! Greatly to my surprise this Number One was:
– not some amazing healthy superfood
– was also the cheapest!
Scroll to the end of the Blog for this Winner!

A Common Condition – The Cold

It was the typical kind of cold virus that can lay you low: muscular aches; headache & congested sinuses one minute, runny nose & sneezing the next; physical & mental fatigue that left me sleeping for hours; sore throat & irritation that led to a persistent cough which kept me awake at night – yuck.

Symptoms of the Common Cold

Taken from the NHS List of Symptoms.

Common_Cold-Nature To Nurture Aromatherapy & Massage in Hemel, Herts & Bucks

The Common Cold Virus can present with many symptoms


Main symptoms include:

  • blocked or runny nose
  • sore or irritated throat
  • sneezing
  • cough – chesty, tickly or wheezing
  • hoarse voice
  • muscular aches
  • generally feeling unwell




Less common symptoms include:

  • high temperature or fever – this is usually about 37-39C (98.6-102.2F)
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • feeling of pressure in your ears & face
  • earache (severe earache may be a sign of a middle ear infection)
  • loss of taste & smell
  • mild irritation of your eyes

Natural Ways To Help Yourself

Golden Milk

You will notice that many of the essential oils I recommend are also ingredients in Golden Milk.

Golden Milk Common Cold Remedy

Golden Milk is a yummy way to make yourself feel well & healthier


I was introduced to the idea of Golden Milk by Dietitian Dalia Maori, at the January meeting of the Aromatherapy group that I am a member of. I hadn’t heard of it before but it seems to be very popular for it’s health benefits. There are many recipes online, most of which are very similar, but here is my particular version

Golden Milk Recipe Blog





Stress & Inflammation – The Impact Upon Disease

The main ingredient in Golden Milk is Turmeric – the ‘Spice of Life’. Turmeric is well-known & increasingly being studied for it’s anti-inflammatory & antimicrobial properties, & even its possible effects upon cancer. The main constituent in Turmeric is Curcumin, one of the most potent anti-inflammatories within nature.

Now why would I keep mentioning inflammation in connection with colds? This is because inflammation & stress are big topics in healthcare at the moment.

‘Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and body. Until now, it has not been clear exactly how stress influences disease and health. Now researchers have found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of disease.’
(Carnegie Mellon University Research)


The links between the Common Cold, Inflammation & Stress are increasingly an area of research

There’s a lot to read about this topic so I have provided some links to the research below. I find it all fascinating though so am happy to sum it up briefly for you. Early research by Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology within Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, studied the common cold & how people suffering from psychological stress may be more susceptible to developing the symptoms.

‘With the common cold, symptoms are not caused by the virus – they are instead a “side effect” of the inflammatory response that is triggered as part of the body’s effort to fight infection. The greater the body’s inflammatory response to the virus, the greater is the likelihood of experiencing the symptoms of a cold’

His work since has focussed more generally on stress, the body’s reaction to it (for example, releasing Cortisol & Adrenaline) & it’s ability to regulate the inflammatory response, then the development & progression of disease as a result of this.

‘When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.’

Further Research

For the full research in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America)

Inflammation & Yoga



This whole topic also relates to the TED talk about Angiogenesis – Can We Eat To Starve Cancer? A fascinating mini-lecture by William Li on the latest research surrounding Angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels), inflammation & what we eat. This is an amazing life-changing topic that it’s well-worth you taking 20 minutes of your Life to watch:

Ted Talk Angiogenesis Blog


Herbal Tea

I take a leaf (literally!) out of Culpeper’s Complete Herbal of 1653 (still in print today & available from Amazon). He makes his tea with Mint, Yarrow & Elderflower, whilst my own recipe makes use of a few extras. This is my personal recipe for a pot of cold-relieving loveliness.

Cold Relief Tea
All these dried herbs are available from Neal’s Yard Remedies – please click here for their store locator or online. Quantities below are for a large teapot, halve for a small teapot or large mug.

  • Herbs to help the Common Cold

    Home-brewed Herbal teas can work wonders – and at least taste good at the same time 🙂

    1 tsp Peppermint

  • ½ tsp Yarrow
  • 1 tsp Elderflower
  • 1 tsp Elderberries
  • 1 tsp Echinacea Root
  • 1-2cm piece of Vanilla Bean or a few drops of good quality Vanilla Extract


All you need to do is place in a mug or teapot, add boiling water, leave 2-5 minutes depending on taste, strain & drink.

Of course you can be inventive & brew your own teas easily enough – you can buy fresh Thyme & Mint at any supermarket, or perhaps add Lemon slices or fresh Ginger root.

Cough & Throat Syrups
Thyme can also be combined with honey & lemon for a soothing throat syrup

Thyme can also be combined with honey & lemon for a soothing throat syrup


There are many natural remedies around in books & on the internet. Be warned though, the basis of many both natural & pharmaceutical cough syrups (as the name would suggest) is sugar (as an antitussive, helping to ease/soothe coughs). The simplest is to slice a large white onion (& garlic if you are feeling brave, the flavours do mellow considerably!) into a jar, cover completely with raw cane brown sugar, seal & leave for 3-4 days in a dark cupboard. A syrup-like liquid will naturally form. Turn the jar regularly before straining & using.



Please click on the links below for recipes for three of my personal favourites:


Elderberry & the bioflavonoids it contains has been used in traditional medicine to treat Colds & ‘Flu for centuries

Natural Lemon, Thyme & Honey Syrup Blog


Elderberry Syrup Blog


Elderberry & Elderflower Cordial/Tonic Blog



Essential Oils

This is my area of expertise so I am going to focus in a bit here. It started off as a small section & grew so large I have decided to create a separate blog so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by information!

Essential Oils

There are so many essential oils for Cold Relief that they needed their own blog

Please click on the link below for all the essential oils & various methods of application to help yourself combat the Common Cold:

Conditions Part II: The Common Cold & Essential Oils Blog

and the Winner is….

Jakeman’s Throat & Chest Cough Pastilles

Jakeman’s Throat & Chest Pastilles – a surprising but well-deserved winner!

Yes that’s right, a simple packet of cheap cough sweets that cost just 60p were by far the most effective remedy I found for soothing my throat, clearing my nose, & most importantly for me, stopping my cough & allowing me to sleep at night. They’re available pretty much anywhere (Boots, Superdrug, Wilkinson’s etc) & worked really well for me & anyone else I’ve asked who uses them (including my grandmother, who is a very hard person to impress!). Let’s not pretend they are something I would normally advocate, they are boiled sugar sweets, but their only other ingredients are Menthol crystals, Aniseed & Eucalyptus essential oils & boy, do they work. For the short period of infection I would definitely recommend trying them. For them & other throat Pastilles see Conditions Part II: The Common Cold & Essential Oils or follow this link to their website: Jakeman’s Throat & Cough Pastilles


This blog has hopefully given you some hope that there is plenty that you can do to help yourself & your symptoms


Why not go to my next Blog –
Conditions Part II: The Common Cold & Essential Oils
to see how they can also help you to make yourself feel well again?


Cold Virus

The Common Cold virus does look surprisingly beautiful viewed under a scanning electron microscope