Cough and Cold: Home Remedy and Foods that Help

With every changing season, the biggest concern amongst parents around the globe is to prevent their kids from cold, cough and flu. Children start to get cold and cough after about six months of age when the immunity they received from their mom fades and they have to build up their own immunity. Cough and cold is one of the most common complaints for which parents take their children to a doctor. Some cough and cold home remedy and foods can help to cure the symptoms and build immunity in kids. Understanding different types of cough helps to treat them better.

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How cold and cough affects the immunity of a child?

Children catch cold or cough, when a virus comes in contact with the lining of nose and throat. There are more than two hundred different viruses causing cold and cough in children, but the Rhinovirus is the most common offender. The symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sneezing and coughing. However, flu symptoms are more severe than cold and include fever, headache, sore throat, congestion. Every time when kids get infected with a specific virus, their immune system develops antibodies, which help them to fight against it next time. But there are lots of different viruses, so it takes time to build an effective immune system. Many a times, taking medicines for these symptoms can give immediate relief but affect the immunity of a child negatively.

Which foods can help to boost immunity in children?


It is a shrub and an essential herb in ayurvedic medicines. Giloy is used to treat a wide range of health conditions. It contains important plant compounds like terpenoids, alkaloids, lignans, and steroids. Research shows that these compounds have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidiabetic properties, among other benefits which help to boost immunity.


Tulsi leaves have been scientifically proven to have medicinal properties. It also has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects, rich in vitamin c and zinc and thus keeps the infection at a bay and naturally boosts the immunity.


Amla is a storehouse of antioxidants. It is one of the richest sources of vitamin C, which is known to boost immunity. It has antibacterial and astringent properties that boosts immunity.


As an anti-oxidant, boosting immunity is one of the most popular benefits of Ashwagandha for kids. The root activates and increases the levels of enzymes and macrophages, a type of white blood cell that kills bad viruses and bacteria. It also promotes the development of antibodies, which is a major factor in improving the body’s response to a health-threatening infection.


A compound found in turmeric, Curcumin, offers therapeutic relief and is a perfect immunity booster for kids. It has a a very high antioxidant value to protect body from invading infections. It is also rich in vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2) and vitamin C.


The vitamin E found in nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and hazelnut help the immune system to fight against invading bacteria. They are a great source of antioxidants that keep the body healthy and disease free by neutralizing free radicals and reducing inflammation. Nuts are beneficial for brain development as well. (What are some proven brain foods?)


Seeds are an incredible source of nutrients. Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium, vitamin E, antioxidants and good fats. Together they help to boost immunity. Pumpkin seeds are rich in Vitamin E which is necessary for immunity building and also packed with other bone-building nutrients like potassium, magnesium and vitamin K. Melon seeds are a good source of zinc. It helps to boost our immunity, helps in digestion, cell growth, and keeps your nervous system healthy.


Cocoa contains flavonoid, a naturally occurring compound found in plants which act as antioxidant and help in counteracting free radicals in the body. Also rich in zinc, iron, copper, and vitamins like A, B12 and K. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and has an ability to modulate host immune functions. Vitamin E is key for strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes. In recent years, vitamin E supplements have become popular as antioxidants.


  • Heat mustard oil and roast garlic and carom seeds in it. Once cool, apply this oil on the baby’s head, palm, feet base, chest and back. Leave it applied and let the child sleep. It will help settle the cold and cough both. Also, any body ache the child has will be resolved. Mustard oil is a very effective cough and cold home remedy.
  • Take1 to 2 tbs of lukewarm mustard oil and mix half a teaspoon of rock salt. Then, massage this oil gently on the baby’s chest and back, cover with cotton cloth. The warmth of mustard oil helps in relieving congestion.

Mix a spoon of mulethi (Licorice) powder with a spoonful of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and make your kids take this twice a day to get relief.

Also check, Which foods are good for boosting immunity in kids?

Ginger & Honey:

Take out some ginger juice by grating it and mix it with some honey. Give this mixture to your child above 1 year twice a day for quick relief.

Also check, 10 health benefits of honey for kids

Warm water:

Squeeze some lemon juice in a glass of warm water and add honey for taste. This remedy is for older kids above one year.

Also check, What is the right age to give water to babies?

Turmeric milk:

Add turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk and make your kid have it every night. This provides instant relief for an aching throat and runny nose.


If your little one suffers from cold and has trouble breathing, give him/her steam inhalation. Heat water in a wide bowl and make the kid inhale the hot fumes for at least 10 to 15 minutes or use a steamer. Adding eucalyptus oil can also help soothe your child’s system.


Drinking lukewarm water at regular intervals will help fight the common cold and reduce the inflammation in the throat. Warm soup or a fresh juice will also help to replenish the body’s lost energy.

 Salt gargling: 

A glass of hot water with a teaspoon of salt is very beneficial to ease a sore throat. Ask your kid to gargle with salt water twice a day. The saline water helps soothe the pain.

Sleeping Position:

Keep your child’s head in an elevated position to give some relief from cough and blocked nose that perpetuates through the night.

Also check, How sleep and brain development is related?

Black pepper:

Roasting pepper in ghee and consuming it 2-3 times a day helps in easing congestion and blocked nose. In addition, pepper is rich in vitamin C that helps to boost immunity.


Avoid fried and spicy food to prevent acid reflux which might trigger cough and cold. Soft and warm foods like soups, daliya and khichdi are easy to eat and digest. (What are some easy khichdi recipes?) Moreover, when kids are sick, their appetite also goes down. If a child falls sick often, it might cause a drop in their weight as well. (\

Also check, What are some weight gain foods for kids?


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Immunity, Gut health, Digestion, Weight, Brain development, Speech delay, Epilepsy, Eye health, Hormones, Sleep, Hyperactivity, Bones and Overall growth

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