I don't take antibiotics or over-the-counter medicine when I have a cold. I let my body fight off infection like it's supposed to and what I've learned is that cold medicine reduces your "symptoms" but you get these symptoms (stuffy nose, cough, headache) because your body is fighting infection.
The best we can do is rest, eat whole foods, drink a lot of water, and wait it out. I've made a little list of things I like to keep handy that help me feel better.
from left to right
Ginger is an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory herb and pretty much the best thing to have in any scenario. These Nairn's biscuits are addictive. My sister found them at Tesco when she visited and came running up the aisle with boxes in her arms like a child picking out toys at the toy store. Somehow the only Tesco that seemed to sell these was the one on Princes Street (who the hell ever goes to that one?) so I settled for Rude Health's Ginger & Tumeric ones at Waitrose. *Update, Waitrose sells Nairn's ginger biscuits. My life is complete.*
Peppermint will wake you the fuck up. My sister got me my first bottle of peppermint oil when I started undergrad because just a hint of it will clear the sinuses. In math class during my freshman year, I urged my friend to try some and the fumes were so powerful that her eyes began to sting and she had to run out of the room. I'm warning you, it's strong. Dab some on your wrists and rub your wrists together, rub some up on your neck and maybe a bit under your nose. It should help you breathe more clearly. I found this oil at Holland and Barrett, a health food store that has all the herbal shit you can imagine.
I'll be honest, I don't know if these actually do anything but it doesn't hurt to add some more Vitamin C to your body. I like to drink them in warm water in the morning and it tastes like orange juice.
Any kind of tea helps, but I would stay away from caffeinated teas and adding milk or sugar. Stick to peppermint tea or ginger-lemon tea with honey.
My sister and I swear by this cayenne-pepper-lemon-juice-ginger concoction called "Dragon's Breath" and I'm sure you can imagine what it's like by the name... It's tougher than a tequila shot.
I don't have any lemon in the flat but I substitute it with warm water. Squeeze about two to three lemons into a blender, add chopped ginger and cayenne pepper. Blend and pour the liquid through a sifter to avoid the ginger pieces. If you don't have a sifter or a blender, just stir the ingredients together. It's nice to chew on the ginger pieces.
The only place in Edinburgh I know that does ginger shots is Filament Coffee on Clerk Street in Newington. I'm sure there are a ton of places that do ginger shots but, you know I like my coffee shops so Filament is my go-to.
Cairngorm Coffee on the West End is well prepared for cold-season. I ordered a peppermint tea and a MOJU ginger shot. I also tried a turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger latte with coconut milk. I wrote there for over two hours and felt pretty much 100%. I'm kicking myself right now for not taking a picture of that latte.
It doesn't seem to matter how well you take care of yourself, you are still prone to the common-cold and just remember, it gives you an excuse to veg out. So get the Netflix on, lounge on the couch, hook yourself up to an IV of ginger juice, and ride it out.