Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

A Guide to Cold Medicine for Adults

Font Size

Natural Cold Remedies

Maybe you've heard that vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc are good for a cold.

They aren’t cures, but vitamin C and zinc may shorten the length of an illness. Research on echinacea has been mixed. Before you try these products, check with your doctor to make sure they’ll work well with other medicines you’re taking.

Nasal strips can also help you breathe easier, since they can enlarge nasal passages while you wear them.

Other more traditional remedies might help relieve common cold discomfort, too.

  • Drink plenty of liquids, including chicken soup. It can make you feel better.
  • To relieve a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water, use throat sprays, and suck on ice or lozenges.
  • Try a saltwater nasal rinse. These can help with a stuffy or runny nose.
  • Use petroleum jelly on your nose if it’s irritated from constant blowing. Facial tissues with added lotions can help prevent, and heal, redness and soreness.
  • Use a humidifier to help break up phlegm.

Do what you can to make yourself as comfortable as possible, and rest while your body fights the cold virus.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on July 06, 2015

Recommended For You

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat