Home Remedies for Upper Respiratory Infections

The Upper Respiratory Sytem includes the nasal passages, sinuses, larynx and pharynx.  Infections to these parts are often caused due to seasonal changes and by viruses.  The common upper respiratory infections include:


  • Common Cold.
  • Nasal block.
  • Running nose.
  • Moderate increase in body temperature.
  • Throat infection.
  • Cough.
  • Laryngitis, i.e, inflammation of the larynx.
  • Pharyngitis, i.e., inflammation of the pharynx.


The most common causes for upper respiratory infections are as follows:


  • Seasonal climatic variations.
  • Unhygienic conditions.
  • Lack of precautions like frequent washing of hands, covering of nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing.
  • Weak levels of immunity.
  • Presence of other serious ailments.
  • Addiction to smoking.


The doctor requires only a thorough physical examination to diagnose an upper respiratory track infection.  Generally, antivirals, pain killers and temperature-regulating drugs are prescribed.  Some of the common side effects of these drugs include drowsiness and loss of appetite apart from minor stomach upsets.


Home remedies work wonderfully in curing upper respiratory infections.  Some of them are:


  • Ginger:


  • Keep chewing a piece of raw ginger (after removing the peels), to avoid cough.
  • Make an infusion out of crushed ginger and tea leaves.  Add a little honey to this.  Drink this at least thrice in a day, when suffering from a cough or cold.
  • Ginger is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral.  It helps in curing the infection.


  • Steaming:


  • Boil water in a large-mouthed vessel.  Put a few leaves of neem and holy basil while the water is boiling.
  • Inhale the fumes from the boiling water by covering your head with a towel.
  • The process of steaming clears the sinuses and rids any nasal blockt.  The therapeutic effects of neem and holy basil hasten the healing process.


  • Vitamin C through fruits:


  • Consume fruits rich in vitamin C.  These include oranges, goose berries and sweet limes.
  • Vitamin C helps in common cold and such other conditions.  Also, it protects the body from seasonal ailments.
  • Drink a glass of warm water to which the juice of half a lemon is added. Add a teaspoon of honey to improve the health quotient of the drink.


  • Warm Water:


  • When suffering from upper respiratory infections, make it a point to drink only warm water.
  • Have an electric water heater handy, at home.
  • Boil water beforehand and allow it to cool.
  • Drink this water when it is lukewarm.
  • It is important to  drink sufficient water during periods of cold and cough, as there would be a general loss of fluid in the form of sinus and phlegm.


  • Gargling:


  • Heat a glass of water until it becomes somewhat lukewarm.
  • Add a pinch of turmeric.
  • Gargle with this water, as often as possible.
  • This is a good remedy for throat infections.
  • Avoid gargling with salt as this may not be beneficial in curing throat infections.


  • Rest:


  • It is said that you can get rid of a common cold within a week, if you visit a doctor.  Else, it would take seven days for a cure!
  • What the above adage suggests is that upper respiratory infections can be cured with sufficient rest and taking adequate precautions like hygiene and avoiding crowded places and other densely populated areas during attacks of cold.
  • While resting, adopt a semi-upright position as this would allow you to breathe properly. Even cough bouts can be avoided by taking this position.


  • Yoga:


  • Certain yoga kriyas like Jal Neti are helpful in clearing the nasal passages.
  • Learn yoga from an experienced practitioner to get the right way of doing it.