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Homemade Congestion Remedy (For Cold & Flu)

Do you have a cold or the flu, along with uncomfortable congestion? Here is a great natural remedy to make right at home to help relieve nasal, sinus, and chest congestion. This remedy is excellent, especially for those who have viral pneumonia.

Sliced onions on a cutting board.

Why I Love This Remedy

I found this old Amish home remedy for deep chest congestion from an Amish grandma. It was a remedy her mom had used that was common if someone got viral pneumonia. The method is so simple and only takes a couple of minutes to make.

You’ll be so amazed at how effective this remedy is. The best part is that you can make it with items you probably already have on hand.

We love using remedies here on our homestead such as homemade cough remedies, homemade mustard plaster, homemade elderberry syrup, immune boosting tea, and even have ways to plant medical herbs to use at home. All of these are homemade recipes which are great for help during the cold and flu season.

A woman standing in her kitchen with supplies for a congestion remedy.

Supplies Needed

  • Cutting Board and Knife or Food Processor – The size of the diced onion is not super important, so you can either dice them or chop them in a food processor.
  • Microwave or Skillet – You can either heat the chopped onions in the microwave in a heat-proof bowl or heat them in a skillet on the stove.
  • Mixing Spoon or Spatula – For mixing your onion and salt.
  • Onion – Yellow onions work best, but any onion will do. You can use whatever you have on hand.
  • Salt – The salt pulls the juices out of the onion. These juices contain the healing properties (which is why you start crying when chopping onions!).
  • Cheesecloth or Towel – In the video, I’m using a higher grade cheesecloth, but cheaper cheesecloth will work as well. You’ll just need it thick enough that the onion pieces don’t fall through. A clean cotton towel will also work.
  • Thread or Tape – This will help hold the wrapping in place so it doesn’t make too much of a mess.

How Do You Break Up Congestion Naturally?

Making this remedy will naturally break up congestion. Even after chopping the onions, I was already beginning to clear up, but the real healing magic happens when the onions are combined with the salt and heated just slightly.

  1. Dice the onion reasonably small. No one is eating it, so it does not have to be perfectly diced. You can also quickly pulse it in a food processor.
  2. Put the onion into a microwave-safe bowl (or any old bowl if you will be using a skillet instead of a microwave).
  3. Add about half of your volume of onion with salt. In this case, I have about a cup of onion, so I’ll add half a cup of salt. Homestead Hack: You don’t have to be too fussy about the amounts here, we’re looking for approximate measurements.
  4. Use a spoon or spatula to mix the onions and salt well.
  5. Microwave for one minute, just until heated through and the onions start releasing their juices. If you are using a skillet, you merely want to heat it until the onions begin to sweat, then remove from the heat.
  6. Lay the cloth wrapping on a flat surface.
  7. Pour the onion and salt mixture onto the cloth and spread it to about the size of the person’s chest.
  8. Wrap the mixture with the cloth so everything is contained in a nice package. You want the juices to be able to seep onto the patient’s chest, but not allow the onions to spill out. Homestead Hack: Use some thread or tape to help hold the wrapping together.
  9. Have the patient lie on a flat surface, propped up slightly. Ideally, they should lay there with the treatment on for two hours, so make sure they’re comfortable. For small children, it may help to put on a movie so they can relax and lay still.
  10. Oil their bare chest with olive oil. This protects the skin from getting irritated from the onion juices.
  11. Make sure the compress is not too hot to be on their skin. You can test it on your wrist first. If it’s too hot, simply wait a few minutes and test again.
  12. Pick up the entire packet carefully and place it onto their chest.
  13. Place a towel over the wrapped package. Homesteading Hack: Your towel will smell like onions, so you may want to use a towel you don’t care about.
  14. Cover the towel with a heating pad or hot rice pad to generate more heat. If you don’t have either of these, simply add a few extra blankets on top to maintain the heat as long as possible.
A woman holding a folded cheesecloth pouch of onions and salt.

How Do You Get Rid of Congestion Fast?

We all want our congestion to be gone as quickly as possible. With this remedy, immediate results can happen, but usually, it takes a few treatments. If you’re trying this home remedy for yourself, and you have the energy to do so, I recommend being the one that chops the onions as this can jump-start the decongestion process.

You can also rotate this home remedy between the chest and the back.

There you have it! A simple old Amish remedy for relieving congestion. Though it may not work quite as fast as other OTC medications, you can rest easy knowing the ingredients you’re putting in and on your body are safe.

Did you try this remedy? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then snap a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see these home remedies working for you!

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Sliced onions on a cutting board.

Home Remedy for Congestion

4.93 from 13 votes
Print Pin
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion or any other size or type of onion
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 piece cheesecloth

Instructions

  • Dice the onion reasonably small.
  • Put the onion into a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Add about half of your volume of onion with salt.
  • Use a spoon or spatula to mix the onions and salt.
  • Microwave for one minute, just until heated through.
  • Lay the cloth wrapping on a flat surface.
  • Pour the onion and salt mixture onto the cloth and spread it to about the size of the person's chest.
  • Wrap the mixture with the cloth so everything is contained in a nice package.
  • Have the patient lie on a flat surface, propped up slightly.
  • Oil their bare chest with olive oil.
  • Make sure the compress is not too hot to be on their skin.
  • Pick up the entire packet carefully and place it onto their chest.
  • Place a towel over the wrapped package.
  • Cover the towel with a heating pad or hot rice pad.

Notes

  • This is more of a ratio recipe, not an exact amount. You can use ‘about’ an onion and ‘about’ a 1/2 cup of salt.
  • If you do not have a microwave, heat the mixture in a skillet until the onions release juices.
  • You can use thread or tape to hold the package together; this is just to prevent it from being messy.
  • You can add extra blankets over the package heating pad to generate as much heat for as long as possible.
  • Repeat this process twice a day for the best results.
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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