Natural Treatment of Colds: Spices That May Work

Although there’s not known cure for the common cold, these spices may play some role in prevention and symptom relief.

Spices and herbs have been used to treat symptoms of the common cold for centuries. Although not all of these so-called cold treatments would necessarily hold up to medical scrutiny, in the minds of the sufferer these treatments have benefits. For example, cinnamon was once used commonly as a simple treatment for the common cold. The cold sufferer simply inhaled Ceylon cinnamon into their congested nasal passages as a means of treating cold symptoms. While this method of treating colds may not be commonly practiced in modern society, there are spices that are reported to have some benefit in cold treatment. Although few controlled medical studies have been done to test their effectiveness, there is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that they work for some people. At the very least, using spices to relieve cold symptoms is unlikely to be harmful and many people swear by these natural remedies to for the natural treatment of colds. Here are some spices used to treat colds:

Rosemary, basil, and oregano

This natural cold treatment has some medical to support it. Dr. Suzanna Zick, N.D., M.P.H., a research investigator and naturopathic physician states that adding these three spices to your food may help to fight off the common cold virus. Interestingly, rosemary tea has been used for centuries to treat symptoms of cold, cough, and asthma, while basil has been used to treat fever and cough. Wild oregano oil is thought to have antibacterial and antifungal properties which may account for its effectiveness at treating and preventing the common cold. This oil has been used in Chinese medicine for years to treat colds.


Thyme is thought to enhance the immune system which may help the body to fight off the common cold virus. It also has antibacterial properties which may help to prevent secondary bacterial infection. Many people believe it’s most effective when used as a tea although sprinkling a little on your recipes could have some benefit in warding off the cold virus.


Garlic has been used for thousands of years to combat illnesses of various types. So highly regarded is garlic as a natural treatment for viral and bacterial infections that it’s sometimes known as the “poor man’s penicillin”. It’s thought to not only boost the immune system but also to possess antiviral and antibacterial properties. Many garlic fans advocate eating raw garlic cloves at the first sign of cold symptoms. If you’re concerned about odor, there are garlic pills and powder available at most health food stores. Garlic may also play a role in cold prevention. Adding a little fresh garlic to food on a daily basis may help to fight off the cold virus. A study published in the Ethiopian Medical Journal in 2006 showed that garlic displayed antibacterial activity against several different types of bacteria.

It would be rewarding if something as simple and safe as common spices could be used to treat colds. Even more reason to add a little spice to your next meal.

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