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13 Herbal Cold Remedies

These culinary herbs and ornamental plants are delicious, beautiful and might even help you get over a cold faster.

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Photo: Melissa Caughey

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Next time you have the sniffles head to your garden. You may just find some needed relief. Several common culinary herbs and popular garden ornamentals are often used for their role in traditional applications to perhaps ease the symptoms of the common cold. If you are preparing remedies from backyard flora, make sure you have a positive identification of the plants you are using. Mom’s homemade soup is good for you for a reason. Many of the herbs used to flavor our favorite comfort foods serve the dual purpose of easing our discomforts as well. Interestingly, some common landscape plants, and even the weeds, can help too.

Editor's Note: The content of this article is provided for general informational purposes only. Be cautioned that some wild plants can be poisonous, and poisonous plants sometimes resemble edible plants which often grow side by side. It is the responsibility of the reader, or the reader’s parent or guardian, to correctly identify and use the edible plants described. HGTV does not guarantee the accuracy of the content provided in this article and is not liable for any injury resulting from use of any information provided. This article is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a professional healthcare provider before trying any form of therapy or if you have any questions or concerns about a medical condition. The use of natural products can be toxic if misused, and even when suitably used, certain individuals could have adverse reactions.

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Garlic in particular, and the onion family in general, contain a broad range of vitamins, minerals and other compounds that give them their flavor and have been discussed for their potential medicinal properties as well. Garlic has been said to clear head and chest congestion, and it has been cited for its potential anti-infective properties that can assist your body’s immune system.

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Ginger has strong support from herbalists as a treatment for wide ranging health issues. Fresh ginger root has been recommended by some for treatment of coughs and colds in particular, as well as its possible help in fighting maladies of the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden


Horseradish is well known for its ability to clear the sinuses. Its essential oil is nearly identical to mustard oil in its pungent properties. As a diuretic, it helps flush toxins from the system; and it helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.

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