Body & Fitness

How to: Get rid of a cold

Green goddess Wendyl Nissen shares her tried-and-true strategies for dealing with the sniffles, sneezes and winter woes.

I’ve been struck down by a cold early this year.

While the real winter weather is still a few weeks away, it seems there are already some nasty bugs lurking about!

So, if you’ve been unlucky like me, make sure you follow my cold-care regime. Otherwise, keep this somewhere safe for when those winter bugs come your way.

Rest as much as you can

I’m terrible at following this rule, but it really is a must if you want to get back on your feet as soon as possible. While it’s not always possible to take time out, getting as much rest as you can will give your body the time it needs to fight the bugs. So don’t charge around trying to prove how tough you are. Take your sick days, get to bed early and get dinner delivered in. That’s an order!

Heat and steam

As well as keeping your house warm, hot drinks and warm showers are the ticket here. The warm air will relieve your nasal passages and soothe you, plus the hot drinks will help keep you hydrated as well – two birds with one cuppa! My recipe for this daily bath also works wonders when you’re sick. Run a bath and add 5 drops each of lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint oils. I sometimes use more, but this is good for starters. The peppermint will attach itself to your back and may tingle, but the sensation takes your mind off your cold for a minute. If you’re not up for a bath, you can also use this concoction as a face steam. Scale it down to 1 to 2 drops of each oil in a big bowl of hot water. Pop your face above the water and cover with a towel. It will loosen congestion and give you a bonus facial while you’re at it.

Natural sore throat relief

The old-fashioned remedy we all know for a sore throat is to gargle with 1 tsp salt dissolved in warm water. This has carried me through years of winter bugs, but my favourite gargle these days is 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar diluted in 1 cup hot water. Wait until it cools down and gargle away. I also sip this as a tea when I’m feeling a bit under the weather because it’s soothing, and even though it’s strong, I can’t taste anything anyway! Whichever remedy you go for, chase it with a teaspoon of delicious manuka honey for extra relief.


When it comes to the cold war, garlic is king in my household. My mother swallows a clove a day, just like a pill. I can’t quite handle a clove, especially with a sore throat, but I definitely ramp it up, shoving garlic into anything I’m cooking or crushing a clove and steeping it in hot water for a strong tea. When I add it to my cold cure tea recipe (above right), I heal three times faster than my husband Paul, who still refuses to use my cold remedies.

Cold Cure Tea

1 tbsp ginger, grated

1 clove crushed garlic, (I use two cloves, but most people prefer one)

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

Steep all the ingredients in hot water, then strain and drink. This tea is a powerful hit, but I can have up to four cups a day when I’m ill. Not only does it soothe my cold symptoms and speeds up recovery, but it does wonders for my hair for some reason. I always come out of a cold with thick, bouncy locks. If you have any turmeric root lying around, do grate a teaspoon and add it into the mix. I’ve found it mucks up the taste a bit, but the turmeric does wonders for your immune system.

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