Homemade Cold Remedy

A family member recently emailed me a recipe for a tonic she used with success last cold and flu season: Hair Raising Cider from Rosemary Gladstar’s book, Vibrant Health.

I read the recipe, and, not being one to shy away from a good home remedy (read my posts about Allergy Relief or Sore Throat remedies), I thought, “I’ll have to try something like that!” Of course, that was weeks ago. This morning, Hubs and I woke up with the cold that Little Bear must have caught from my mother, who works with pre-schoolers. (Those germs just spread and spread and spread, don’t they?) So, today was the day to make the cider, since it needs three weeks to steep. I don’t want to be caught without something the next time a cold runs through this house!

(Want to know how it turned out? See my reaction to tasting this stuff for the first time HERE.)


Here’s what I did:

I used a 2-Quart mixing bowl to combine my concoction:

Onions, chopped and floating in the vinegar

An entire head of garlic ready to chop–such an interesting plant, each clove in its own wrapper…

This Root Was Hung Like a Horseradish (C’mon! How could I not comment?!)

Combine the vinegar, horseradish, onion, garlic, turmeric and pinch or two of cayenne.

The garlic and horseradish sunk to the bottom

I less-than-three tumeric.

Add the spices. I prefer organic spices (there is so much of difference in quality and flavor) from Simply Organic and Frontier. You can find them at natural foods stores locally or online at Amazon.

We’re ready to mix!

Once I mixed the ingredients together, I poured most of it into a 1-quart Mason jar and the rest into a glass baby bottle, making sure the majority of the ingredients went to the larger batch.

The concoction, ready to sit for 3-4 weeks

Since I’m already dealing with a cold, I thought maybe I’d give the mixture a go, even though it isn’t full-strength. In all honesty, my body must have needed it, because I thought it tasted delicious! (It helps that I’m a huge horseradish fan.) I poured 1/4 c. into a teacup, covered with hot water, and added a teaspoon of raw honey. The horseradish clears out the nasal passages and the warmth of the liquid helped relieve my scratchy throat. The mixture is quite vinegary, but I have to admit that I love vinegar, too.

After drinking my cup-full, I felt better immediately. A few hours later, my symptoms were coming back, so I repeated the “tea.” Again, I started to feel better almost instantaneously. I have faith that this tonic will help us avoid over-the-counter medications should another bug show its funky face ’round here! Bring it, Cold Season!

Homemade Cold Remedy
  • 1 Quart vinegar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated horseradish
  • 2 T powdered turmeric
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 C local honey (or more to taste)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, horseradish, onion, garlic, turmeric and pinch or two of cayenne.
  2. Add the spices and mix thoroughly.
  3. Cover the mixture and place in a warm area for 3-4 weeks. (I prefer to bottle it in a mason jar.)
  4. After 3-4 weeks, strain the mixture, add the honey, and rebottle.
  5. Refrigerate.
  6. Take 1-2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold, and continue every 2 hours until symptoms are lessened.

Save My Arse Disclaimer: Healthful Mama is no medical professional, so always consult your naturopath or physician before trying anything new.

What do you think? Will you be making some of this cold remedy? Do you have any home remedies that are tried-and-true?

The best way to ward off cold and flu is to eat a healthy diet & keep a healthy home. Get monthly updates, recipes, and tips by email!

, , , , , ,

20 Responses to Homemade Cold Remedy

  1. Mare Pulido September 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Hi, found you on MBC. Am sure glad I stopped by! Your blog is awesome, and just hilarious. “Hung like a horseradish,” bwahahahaha. That just killed me. It made my day. Actually, this sounds like a wonderful home remedy. Garlic is a great alterative herb, and Cayenne and Horseradish are fantastic stimulant herbs…how did the whole thing taste, though? Hair-raising? I’ll bet. I was going to go make this, but my child is still a baby and I am hesitant to use honey with her. Any modifications you might suggest that I could use instead of honey? I’m just worried about the botulism.

    • HealthfulMama September 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

      Mare, I’m no doctor, but I wouldn’t recommend giving this to babies. The honey acts to 1)sweeten the mixture and 2)provide antihistamines from local allergens, so a substitute may not work very well.

    • Ann P April 23, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      Do your kids like tomato juice? Sneak it in there. That’s how I like it. :) Ann P in Wisconsin.

    • HealthfulMama April 23, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      You mean sneak the cold remedy into tomato juice? Sounds good to me!

  2. swedenesefamily October 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Wow, I am a little scared just reading the ingredients, but I might just make some for this winter. They have Simply Organic spices at Target, by the way.

    • HealthfulMama October 19, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

      Good to know, thanks!

  3. Jessi October 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    How long will it last before going bad?

    • HealthfulMama November 17, 2011 at 9:35 am #

      Hi Jessi,
      I don’t have an exact answer to that question, though since the concoction is mainly comprised of vinegar and the ingredients “pickled,” I would guess that it will last at least a year if kept tightly sealed and well refrigerated. However, use your judgement! If the mixture appears to be turning old, don’t use it.

  4. The Crunchy Wife November 7, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    This is awesome! Totally going to have to try this :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Heidi August 27, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    This looks fascinating! Did you use white vinegar and would it be recommended to use apple cider vinegar instead?

    • HealthfulMama August 27, 2012 at 11:58 am #

      I used white vinegar but I would think apple cider vinegar, particularly a good quality one like Bragg’s, might be even more beneficial. Good question!

  6. Stacy January 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    I just hit the 2 week mark on steeping. My family is in desperate need of something extra to help knock this sinus crud out of our system. Do you think it’s ok to just take out enough for us to add to some tea? Or do I need to wait another week or two?

  7. Danika @ Your Organic Life March 6, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    In mine I used horseradish, white onion, garlic, ginger, jalepeno & serano peppers (next time I’ll use cayenne), rosemary, sage & powdered turmeric then topped it off with Raw ACV and let it sit for a minimum of 2 weeks shaking daily.

    • HealthfulMama March 7, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      That sounds amazingly effective!

  8. Sunshine December 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    I’m horribly allergic to onions, do you think this would be as effective without them? Maybe sub in some ginger?

  9. Gretchen@HealthfulMama January 2, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    You could give it a try! I’d bet it would help in some way.


  1. Homemade Cold Remedy | HealthfulMama - November 7, 2011

    [...] posted a Homemade Cold Remedy that has been getting a number of views on Pinterest. I was getting a lot of questions about the [...]

  2. 12 Days of Christmas - December 23, 2011

    [...] Eight Cures for Cheese-Dipping Seven Teas for Sipping Six Simple Meals from Nothing Five….Milllllon Hits….! (Okay, not really, but a popular post.) Four Weeks Unprocessed Three Ingredient Snack Two Vaccine [...]

  3. Prepare for Winter Colds with Homemade Remedies - August 27, 2012

    [...] Cold & Flu Remedy [...]

  4. Garlic Oil for Earaches - February 25, 2013

    [...] could contact someone in the morning, we needed to get this boy through the night. I’ve used garlic for treating colds in the past, so I knew of its anti-inflammatory properties. I also knew that garlic oil is [...]

Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe:  

Website Designed By Clever Kiwi