Echinacea

A commonly used immunity booster, this Native American plant, often taken as a tea, also comes to the rescue if you do catch a cold: Thanks to its pain- and inflammation-reducing properties, echinacea may alleviate sore throat and cough.

Dose: 1–2 grams dried root or herb as tea, or 2–3 ml of standardized tincture extract three times daily for seven to ten days

Marshmallow

The root and leaves of this traditional herbal remedy contain mucilage, a gummy substance that coats and helps soothe the throat.

Dose: 2–5 teaspoons dried leaf in 5 ounces hot water, two to three times per day; 2–5 teaspoons dried, powdered root in 5 ounces hot water (let soak for an hour), two to three times daily

Probiotics

In addition to regulating digestive function, recent research shows probiotics, specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus or a combination of L. acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis B1-07 can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms, including cough.

Dose: Follow dosage instructions on package

Zinc

A recent review of studies looking at vitamins and minerals for colds and flu treatment showed that taking 70 mg zinc daily alleviates cough, sore throat, and fever if taken with 24 hours of the onset of symptoms—which is why this mineral is a key ingredient in many throat lozenges.

Dose: 4.5 to 23.7 mg zinc lozenge taken every half hour. Warning: Excessive zinc can depress the immune system, so don’t exceed the recommended dose of 70 mg daily.