15 Old Fashioned Flu Remedies That Really Work

There’s nothing worse than that feeling of an intense fever, throbbing headache, painful cough, and irritated stomach. With a list of other symptoms, the dreaded flu is on its way. The start of the holiday season coincides with the beginning of the flu season. Most people use over-the-counter medication to cure their illness, such as Tylenol or Advil. If those medications don’t work, the doctor often prescribes something a lot stronger. You can also get the flu vaccine but that only guarantees protection against some flu viruses. It’s still possible that another type of flu is floating around, waiting to infect your body. Luckily, those aren’t the only options available for battling the flu, as there are plenty of old fashioned flu remedies.

Homemade remedies are often more efficient than store-bought medications. Instead of rushing out to the store, try curing your cold at home with some of these essential home remedies. These remedies range from common items found in the grocery store to ideas outside the box. Some treatments use herbs or roots to flush out the lungs and chest area. Other cures soothe a sore throat or suppress a cough. Not every remedy is about curing the flu or cold either, with many focusing on preventing sickness or stopping you from spreading it once you fall ill. Here’s a look at the best old fashioned flu remedies that really do work. 

15 Old Fashioned Flu Remedies That Really Work

1. Ginger


It’s not a myth that ginger has numerous health benefits. While battling a nasty cold, ginger is an excellent way to deal with nagging issues. Slices of ginger root in boiling water create the perfect beverage to soothe a sore throat.

With antiviral and antibiotic properties, garlic tea or soup helps with a horrible cough and loosens up any congestion. Furthermore, ginger helps ease nausea and upset stomach. Another option is to add ginger, lemon, and honey to a tea. The tea will have a similar effect but is not as strong. 

2. Sliced Red Onions 

sliced organic red onions

When one person in a household gets sick, it’s common for that flu or cold to attach itself to other people in the house. To stop this there are also remedies that help prevent the sickness from spreading in the home.

Slicing some red onions and placing them around the house will keep the virus from spreading to other family members or roommates. While the onions might make everyone cry, at least you won’t get sick.

3. Salt Water

salt and hot water

Some remedies seem so simple they sound too good to be true. For example, a simple glass of salt and water could put an end to any illness. Gargling salt in hot water will ease nasal congestion and relieve a sore throat.

All it takes is dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water. The gargling will help decrease the mucus and break it free. The harshness of a cold and its symptoms are likely to decline with salt water. 

4. Chicken Soup

chicken soup

Chicken soup won’t cure the flu, but it’ll make you feel better. With big hearty vegetables, chicken soup helps the body in more than one way. Not only is it a hearty meal, but it’ll help increase energy levels. Plus, it helps slow down neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.

It’s easy to see why so many parents offer chicken soup during nasty colds or flu. The nutritional value will turn that cold into yesterday’s news.

5. Garlic

chicken soup

Garlic isn’t only good for keeping vampires away. Evidence suggests garlic can help with avoiding the flu in the first place. Garlic includes a property called allicin which aids with cold symptoms. This makes garlic the perfect weapon in fighting the flu or other seasonal viruses.

It’s impossible to go wrong with garlic in fighting off the flu. Add some garlic to your next meal to battle that pesky cold.

6. Wet Socks

wet sock

Wet socks might not be so bad after all. It turns out wet socks are an old-fashioned home remedy used to cure that annoying cold. First, put your feet in warm water and place a pair of wooly socks in icy water. After you put on the frozen water socks, grab a dry pair and put them over the wet ones.

The wet socks cause the blood vessels to tighten, sending nutrients to other organs in the body. It might seem like a strange and silly cure, but sometimes those are the best ones.

7. Honey

healthy organic honey

A simple item like honey can help with a nasty flu or cold. Most colds include an irritated throat and cough, so taking a few teaspoons of sweet honey can help take some of that pain away. Honey contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that help fight the vicious flu.

Adding honey to tea with a bit of lemon will alleviate a sore throat and suppress a nasty cough. While honey is effective with adults and young children, doctors recommend not giving it to children under one as it’ll comprise their immune system.

8. Vitamin C

vitamin C on a wooden board

Some home remedies won’t cure the flu but will help boost the immune system. We all learn in health class the importance of getting lots of vitamin C, especially when battling the flu. It has many health benefits that help the immune system fight off that cold.

Oranges, limes, grapefruits, and vegetables are all high in vitamin C and will ease the pain when feeling ill. Hot tea with lemon juice and honey is one of the keys to getting over the illness. 

9. Echinacea

Tea drink with Echinacea purpurea

Centuries ago, Native Americans used echinacea to cure illness and infections. The herb has a therapeutic effect on the body by reducing inflammation and helping the immune system. At this point, the root isn’t as effective as some other home remedies. While it might not help adults, some studies indicate echinacea may help children with specific illnesses. 

10. Warm Bath

woman running a bath with warm water

A simple warm bath can go a long way to curing the flu or any other sickness. In fact, a warm bath decreases cold and flu symptoms in adults. Take it to the next level by adding Epsom salt to deal with your aching body.

Adding baking soda, lavender, eucalyptus, thyme, and essential oils to the bath can also reduce flu symptoms and body aches. A warm bath will also help the body relax and start the healing process.

11. Inhale Eucalyptus

woman adding essential oil to water in bowl

Inhaling eucalyptus is a great way to reduce flu symptoms like a stuffy nose or pounding headache. Simply add some eucalyptus oil to boiling water.

Place the pot on a safe surface, remove the cover and put a towel over your head. From a safe distance, place your head over the pot and breathe in the steam. Let the soothing feeling take over, and enjoy the freedom as the mucus breaks away from your lungs. 

12. Vapor Rub

suppressant ointment

Vapor rub is a classic old-school remedy that’s common around the globe. It’s a great alternative to over-the-top medications with numerous side effects. A bit of vapor rub before bed will fight coughing and congestion and help you rest well. Furthermore, vapor rub is helpful with young children and replaces other harsher drugs.  

13. Oregano Oil

essential oil with oregano leaves

No cold or flu stands a chance against oregano oil. With anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, the oil fights against respiratory problems. It helps fight off cold and the flu with a few drops. It can also help with sore throats, coughs, stomach pain, and digestion. 

14. Probiotics

healthy probiotic fermented food source

Probiotics are more helpful with preventing the flu or cold from entering your body. It helps keep the immune system strong and healthy while keeping the rest of the body clean. Add probiotics to yogurt and use the snack to avoid getting headaches, a runny nose, and severe headaches. 

15. Whiskey

In the late 1940s, a theory surfaced that whiskey was a good remedy for a cold or sickness. Many still believe warm whiskey will break a fever and suppress a cough. Plus, it’ll loosen the mucus and nasal congestion. However, alcohol may disrupt sleep, which is vital when getting over a cold.