I have a cold right now. Yeah, it sucks. Here are some of the ways I deal with it. This is not medical advice. Get vaccinated, it won't give you autism or Down's syndrome. Take over-the-counter meds (properly) if you're sick enough to need them. If you're really quite sick, have been sick for a long time, or are experiencing symptoms that are unfamiliar to you, you should go to the doctor. No, really. That's not a cop-out disclaimer like some natural healing sites have to save their asses.
But for minor symptoms? Here are some things that will not cure illnesses, but they do make me feel better.
Eucalyptus and Camphor
These are some of the main ingredients in over-the-counter chest rub ointments. These are largely herbal remedies; you can use them if you choose, but many people have a problem with petroleum oil. Luckily, if you have eucalyptus oil, camphor oil, and perhaps some sort of mint oil (peppermint, spearmint, etc.), you can make something similar. I honestly don't pay attention to the proportions that much... I will use maybe twice as much eucalyptus as camphor, and add it to oil until I feel it's an effective dose.
Another advantage to making your own is that you can make a bath version that isn't as harsh on your pipes. You can add this to bath salts or alternatively you can just put a few drops in the water. You can also, provided you don't use any really nasty oils, put this in an oil diffuser.
Gypsy Cold Care Tea
Alright, normally I try to avoid mentioning specific brands, but I have yet to mix my own herbal teas. If you'd like, you can find the ingredients and experiment, but I personally just buy the tea. It's made by Traditional Medicinals and usually costs around five dollars a box when I buy it. It's tasty and really makes me feel better.
Geez, I'm off my game today, as this is another brand product. Again, I'd give you a recipe but I don't have one. This is a nasal inhaler, it looks like a tube of lip balm but inside it has an essential oil diffuser with a blend of menthol, peppermint, cajeput, and eucalyptus. It lasts for a few months and is basically like shoving chest rub up your nose... but in a way that isn't bad.
Do I even need to write this? Sleep more!
Yup, that bottle that you shove in your nose that drips out the other. Once you get used to it, it feels really nice. I'm not going to put instructions here because I'm sure you can find people laughing about it all over YouTube, but I will say please boil the water for a while (and then let it cool some) before putting it in your head. There are things in your water you don't want to know about.
When I'm sick, I wash my bedsheets and quilt more often, and wash again when the sickness is gone. The reason is that going to sleep in my own sick fluids, aside from just being gross, has the tendency to make me keep feeling sick, and the more full of my own sick they become the longer I just lie in bed moaning in the morning.
Steam... Lots Of It
One of the things that aggravates my colds in the winter is living in a very dry house. A humidifier will really help with this, but if you don't have one you can always boil a big pot of water on the stove until it evaporates (the humidifier will probably be a better choice energy-wise, but if you only need it a couple times, that might be different).
Watermelon and Citrus Fruit
Watermelon was something I eventually picked up as my "eat this when I'm recovering from something" food. If I eat something toxic (like a cheeseburger, not like cyanide) I'll usually follow it with watermelon... because for some reason, it just makes me feel better.
Similarly, it's my go-to food when I have a cold, along with oranges and lemons, especially Meyer lemons.