Pepper has been used for cold remedies for centuries. Depending on the part of the world, different varieties were utilized to relieve symptoms, with cayenne pepper being most popular, according to “The Magic of Herbs." Pepper increases circulation and has anti-microbial properties, which kill pathogens. Colds and flu usually clear up on their own, but adding pepper into the healing equation may speed the process. If colds or flu do not respond to home remedies, seek medical attention.
Cayenne Pepper Cough Remedy
Cayenne pepper can be used to make an effective cough remedy, according to Penny C. Royal in her book, "Herbally Yours." The mixture is helpful for relieving congestion and loosening phlegm in the chest, and soothes irritation in the throat. The recipe suggests combining 1/4 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and ground fresh ginger with 1 tablespoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar. Add these ingredients to 2 tablespoons of water. Mix and take a teaspoonful at a time as needed.
Black Pepper for Earaches
In her paper on Nebraska Folk Cures, Pauline Monette Black of the University of Nebraska mentions using black pepper as a treatment for earaches. She suggests taking a cotton ball and spreading it out thinly, then filling it with black pepper and rolling it into a ball. Place the ball of cotton in the outer ear and allow it to remain, soothing the earache. Do not place anything in the ears of small children because they may push it into the ear canal, making it difficult to remove.
Cayenne Pepper Tea for Congestion
David Conway recommends making a tea using cayenne pepper in his book, “The Magic of Herbs.” Mix a cup of boiling water and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and honey to taste. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes to brew and cool. Sip as needed to relieve tightness and congestion in the chest and clear the sinuses.
Cayenne Pepper Gargle
To relive painful sore throats, cayenne pepper can be mixed with warm water and used as a gargle, according to the Medicinal Plants of the Southwest website. Cayenne has anti-microbial properties and can be used to disinfect and kill pathogens, including some bacteria and viruses that are responsible for sore throats. David Conway suggests mixing 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne with a cup of warm water and gargling several times a day as needed.
Black Pepper Cold Remedies
A common remedy in India for treating colds is a mixture of black pepper and tamarind called rasam, according to the Home Remedies website. They suggest placing 50 milligrams of tamarind in 250 milliliters of water and boiling for a few minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of melted, clarified butter and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Drink the mixture three times daily to clear congestion in the sinuses and nose. Tamarind and clarified butter are available in stores that sell Indian foods.
The HomeRemediesForYou website suggests another cold remedy using black pepper to starve a cold. Mix together 1 teaspoon of honey and 10 drops lemon juice with 2 pinches of black pepper, which measures about 1/4 teaspoon. Take this remedy three times, every three hours for one day only to relieve cold symptoms.
Cayenne and Honey Throat Syrup
Mixing honey with a small amount of cayenne creates a soothing throat remedy for colds and hoarseness. Add 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to 2 tablespoons of honey and take a teaspoonful at a time, holding it in the mouth for as long as possible to soothe a sore throat.
Cayenne as Preventative
In addition to its anti-microbial properties, the Medicinal Plants of the Southwest website adds that cayenne is also high in vitamin C. It can be used to help prevent colds, respiratory infections, influenza and strengthen the immune system. Mixing cayenne into foods regularly and having a cayenne tea drink once a day during flu season may help prevent illness.