Some remedies for coughs, colds and a red and runny nose….

unwaxed lemons


We’re both suffering with Spring time coughs and colds….what started off with a tickly throat over the Easter weekend has become a real stinker of a cold…my nose is puffy and I sound all croaky……Every time the seasons turn and there is a noticeable change in the weather, we find ourselves sniffling and coughing and feeling all miserable and grumpy.

My favourite remedies for coughs, colds and sore throats are pretty much all natural ones…they aren’t so fast working as over the counter ones but I find my body and self responds better to them, no unpleasant side effects and they taste and smell much nicer…..just about all the ingredients are found in a store cupboard or can be purchased

My boyfriend’s late grandfather was a chemist in the brilliantly named town of Pill (it’s just outside of Bristol) and he used to make this lovely tasting syrup for sore throats.


golden honey


Grandpa Keen’s soothing throat elixir….

200 ml of boiled water

50 ml (about 3 desert spoons) good quality honey

50 ml lemon juice (I generally use the juice of one lemon)

25 ml vegetable glycerine

Dissolve the honey in the boiled water. Allow to cool a little and then add the glycerine and the lemon juice.  Allow to cool completely before keeping in a covered jar in the fridge.  Take a tablespoon or so as required.  Keeps for up to a week.

This is really soothing and seems to benefit sore throats where there is a constant tickle.  When I’m suffering from a bout of laryngitis then this is made up in double quantities and seems to live in the fridge.

(Glycerine can be easily purchased from chemists or somewhere like Neal’s Yard Remedies…don’t be tempted to use more than suggested, it’s a laxative.)

I try to buy a locally sourced set honey as I think it seems to taste nicer in this than the runny kind.

When I get a bad head cold with ears that pop and feel muffled then I find nothing seems to relieve it better than sitting with my head over a bowl of hot water, covered with a big towel…breathing in the steam really helps me feel I can breath again…I generally set a timer for 5 minutes, if not I find I lose track of time and end up all drowsy and spaced out……


Clear head steam inhalation

eucalyptus essential oil

lavender essential oil

bergamot essential oil

Drop just 1 drop of essential eucalyptus oil in to a bowl, and pour on a little hot water. Carefully lean over and cover yourself and the bowl with a big towel.  Breath n the steam for about 5 minutes.

In the day time I also add 1 drop of bergamot essential oil as this has a wonderful uplifting smell to it and helps me to feel not quite so grumpy.

When I make a steam inhalation before bed then I substitute lavender for the bergamot, but again only use 1 drop.

If you use too much essential oil then it can be too harsh for your delicate nose membranes (they’ll be feeling super sensitive as it is with having a cold so you need to treat them gently)

If you don’t have the essential oils then a small sprig of rosemary from the garden, crushed a bit in a pestle and mortar will be just as good,  pour over a little hot water and use it in the same way as the oils.


Red and Puffy sore nose balm

One of the worse things about having a cold is the runny nose, and the constant having to blow it….before long, your nose is all red, puffy  and very sore and even the softest tissues feels coarse and rough…I use a little of this balm on my nose to protect it and also a little on my lips as they tend to dry out really quickly when I have a cold.


cocoa butter

almond oil (or a light olive oil)

lavender essential oil (if you are using this as a lip balm you may not want to add the lavender, it’s not to everyone’s taste…)

In a bain-marie carefully melt about a teaspoon of beeswax.  When the wax has fully melted add a teaspoon of cocoa butter and allow to melt thoroughly. Finally stir and mix in a desert spoon of sweet almond oil or a light olive oil.

If you have vitamin e oil capsules then you might like to pierce one and add the oil from that in as well but if you don’t have them then it’s not the end of the world. Add just a few drops of lavender essential oil (3 or 4 drops is plenty) and stir.  Rose essential oil is also very good, 1 or 2 drops will be plenty.

Transfer to a small clean jar and apply as and when needed.  Keeps for about 3 months.

(it also doubles up as a nice hand or foot balm once your cold has gone and your nose is back to normal)


crocheted cosy


I’m a big tea drinker, and tend to drink a couple of big pots a day, however when I’ve got a cold I find that tea tastes a bit yucky so I then drink lots of lemon and honey, so much so that I make it in a big tea pot, cover it with a tea cosy and sip that instead.

A tea I really do like when I have a cold is “morning time” by Heath and Heather….it’s made with hibiscus, rosehips, and spearmint and tastes lovely and refreshing.  My local health food store has stopped selling it but I think you can buy it in Holland and Barrett.

I’m off to make a poorly bed on the sofa (some plumped cushions and a big crochet blanket) and am hoping the sight of Colin Firth in his lovely Georgian trousers will make me feel all better very soon.

6 thoughts on “Some remedies for coughs, colds and a red and runny nose….

    1. Thank you …it was a pence buy a few years ago from a car boot (I bought a big liner full of embroidered cloths and doilies from a lovely old boy, think I gave him both a hug and a peck on the cheek when he said a fiver for the lot.)
      The home made remedies don’t knock you out like the over the counter ones do (they always make me feel groggy and a bit zombie like)…the only shop bought cough syrup I buy is Potter’s Balm of Gilead. It’s thick like tar and tastes far too nice for it’s own good (I’d happily take it even if I wasn’t feeling poorly) but I’m finding it harder and harder now to buy locally.

  1. Wow, I can’t believe that’s how you got that beautiful embroidered cloth!
    I’ve been sick for 2 weeks and I also hate taking the over-the-counter medicine, not to mention that they never work on me anyway. This time I tried a home remedy very similar to the one you listed and it worked great! I didn’t cough all night. I like the one you posted better because it has the lemon and honey. I’m writing it down just in case I need it. Thanks 🙂

    1. You really have my sympathies…I suffer a lot with laryngitis and this “elixir” seems to be the only thing that soothes it without making me feel sleepy in the daytime. Just be careful about not using too much glycerine… I speak from experience! Hope you get better very soon xx

  2. Haha! Thanks for the tip. I used to play the flute and every year I’d get laryngitis. I stopped playing years ago and since then I’ve only had laryngitis maybe twice. I always thought that was kind of interesting. Not sure if one had anything to do with the other…

    1. Oh my goodness, flutes sound wonderful. When I was at primary school I played the recorder and one of “resolutions” for this year which I haven’t gotten round to yet is to try and re-learn it…there is a piece of music by Bach (The Brandenburg Concerto’s that I love and would like to be able to play for myself)…at one point I was getting laryngitis 5 or 6 times a year, I had it pretty bad just before Christmas which was a pain trying to do Craft Fairs with a Minnie Mouse sounding voice, it’s getting better so has only lasted a week this time. Hope you had a good night’s sleep and are feeling better today xx

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