Combatting a Cold Naturally

Photo by Soleil Nagoda

Natural health remedies used to be (and are sometimes still) something to be giggled at. We’ve all heard the funny ones like bathing in tomato juice to expel body odor, spot-treating acne with blobs of toothpaste and massaging certain pressure points in your feet to somehow cure a headache. But in this season of so many colds and coughs around campus, VALLEY is here to teach you how to effectively use vitamins and other natural ingredients to combat some of the nasty symptoms.


Headaches can arise from allergies, colds, missed meals or even just plain stress—a few things that are pretty common among a college student population. Individuals who experience headaches often are found with low levels of magnesium in their body, so VALLEY recommends magnesium supplements. It’s a substitute that is much easier on your body than a generic painkiller, as it doesn’t have nearly as many potential negative side effects. The Penn State Hershey Medical Center states that, “Taking [pain] medicines more than 3 days a week may lead to rebound headaches that keep coming back due to overuse of pain medicine.” If you’re really looking for lasting relief, it’s time to put down the Advil and pick up some magnesium. Along with the supplements, essential oils are great for soothing the mind, so go grab your diffuser! Lavender oil is great for stabilizing mood while peppermint oil eases the light and sound sensitivity that comes along with headaches.


No one wants to be that person in class who can’t stop coughing during an exam or a lecture. In order to get rid of the coughs this season, opt for something natural instead of NyQuil. Echinacea could very well be the next best thing to help us students get out of bed and into class. It’s an herb that boosts immune function, relieves pain and reduces inflammation. According to the Hershey Medical Center, tests have shown that people who took echinacea supplements as soon as they felt a cold coming on reported fewer and less severe symptoms than those who did not take it. Additionally, your diet while you have a cough can make all the difference. Sugar-filled, heavily-processed foods decrease white blood cell count, making it harder to fight off sickness. Dairy products actually increase the mucus amount in your body clogging you up even more. Avoid these types of snacks, and instead, load yourself up with immune-boosting garlic and anti-inflammatory ginger, along with lots and lots of water to lessen mucus.

Sore Throat

We’ve all been there before—one minute you feel a stinging in your throat and your voice gets raspy, the next minute you can barely utter a noise. Racking up those participation points in class might be kind of hard if you can’t speak, but don’t worry, VALLEY‘s got you covered! Honey can do wonders for someone suffering from a sore throat. A 2015 journal from the National Library of Health Medicine experimented with honey as a topical treatment for wounds and found that it actually has the ability to heal them. Working in this way, honey can help rebuild the tissues in a sore throat. Take it straight from the spoon or drop a dose in some hot tea and you’ll feel instant relief. The Hershey Medical Center comments that cold drinks help just as much as hot ones do, and you can even suck on a piece of ice or a popsicle to go the extra soothing mile. Also, it turns out that dry, cold air is a huge culprit in causing sore throats. Humidifiers are devices that moisten the air of a room, and in this season of sub-30 temperatures, we need all the moist air we can get. Invest in a humidifier for your dorm or apartment. Your throat will thank you later.

Have any of your own home remedies? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, with any you’d like to share!


Sickness Survival Guide

Sickness Sucks: When to Head to the University Health Center

The Miracle of Echinacea