Frugal Natural Remedies For Cold & Flu Season


It’s that time of year again: sniffling, sneezing, coughing hell. Maybe you’ve already gotten your first cold (I have!), or maybe it’s still on its way. In any case, you want to be prepared and prevent it, or at least get rid of it as fast as possible when it arrives. My tips are below — for more you should also check out Broke Millennial’s post How Do You Combat A Cold For Cheap? 

Get well soon!

Frugal Natural Remedies For Cold & Flue Season



Garlic. This is a well-known but seemingly unpopular natural remedy and potent immune system booster. At the first hint of a sore throat, I’ll cut up some raw garlic to eat 2-3 times per day. The cold rarely manifests itself, and if it does it’s considerably less severe. Few people take me up on this, but I assure you, it works. Careful downing it too quickly though, it definitely burns. I always take it with a huge class of water, otherwise your stomach is just not pleased with your aggressive behavior. Nevertheless, I’ll take short-term suffering over a long-term cold any day, so this remedy stays!



Salt water for a sore throat. If I didn’t get the garlic into my system fast enough, and my throat feels like I’ve swallowed a cup of razor blades and glass, I gargle saltwater. The relief is instantaneous, but sadly not long lasting so I’ll keep a glass nearby for most of the day — and spit in the sink as needed, because this is GARGLING. Please don’t drink saltwater! It’s still important to get lots of fluids when you’re sick, so in-between the salt water gargling, make sure to consume lots of liquids as glasses of water, tea, or soup!

Hot Toddy. Now I’m pretty sure it’s the hot water, lemon, honey, and tea that make for the healing powers of this beverage, but let’s indulge the whiskey as well. A super simple recipe can be found here. It’s no secret that alcohol can make you sleepy, so why not have a few sips as part of your convalescence? Besides, it’s endorsed by the unofficial spokesperson of Ole Miss, so you know you can trust it.

What are your methods to stave off the common cold?


  1. A whole lot of OJ and a day in bed – but that’s only “frugal” because my new job gives me 6 paid sick days. Taking a day off at my last job (which I worked 6 days a week) was a huge hassle. I couldn’t afford to take unpaid days, and therefore stayed sick for months at a time.

    I have definitely self-treated a throat infection with salt water when I couldn’t get in to see a doctor. It was gross but it was so easy and more importantly it worked!

  2. Koala

    Avoiding getting sick in the first place. Hand washing, hand sanitizer for when washing isn’t possible, getting vaccinated if you’re in the majority that safely can be.
    If that fails and you end up with the flu, Tamiflu. I had to pay for it when it wasn’t on the formulary, but it’s worth it to not end up in the hospital.

  3. Ines

    Eating oranges, lots and lots of oranges, of all types are my secret to avoid flu. I also drink hot tea or milk before bed and carry a scarf everywhere so my neck stays warm (especially when I’m at the office).
    But if I happen to catch the flu, I eat chicken soup, tea and oranges. And carry a warm blanket everywhere in the house lol

  4. I find Ginger works really well for me. I believe it’s a immune system booster. Just boil pieces of peeled ginger and add some honey to the water to improve the taste, and voila! homemade ginger tea!

  5. Drinking lots of lemon water works pretty well, too. That is, squeezing lemon juice into all the water you drink (a good amount). Might not be that frugal, I suppose, based on where you live. Prices of lemons seems to vary quite a bit based on location. Still, if they’re cheap it works well.

  6. I love going to get some zinc tablets at the first sign of trouble. It helps my body out so I don’t feel the full brunt of the cold. Although I’m interested in trying garlic the next time I feel a cold coming on. Do you know if it has any benefits if it’s been cooked? I’m just curious if adding a bit of garlic to most of your dinners can act as a year round booster of sorts.

  7. Apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, lemon, lime, green tea, sleep. Repeat.

  8. Kiki

    I just wanted to add that if you do eat garlic, drink a glass of milk as you do – it prevents the odour.