Desi Totkas Toolkit for the Common Cold

As the weather changes, the common cold seems to hit every other household. Sadly, there is no cure for the cold. However I bring for you the Desi Totkas (life hacks) Toolkit to feel less miserable and get better sooner. There are special notes under each section for kids and babies.

desi totkas cold


Lots of fluids are highly recommended to help fight the cold. Here are some super effective ones:

  1. Chicken Yakhni (broth)
  2. Hot water + lemon juice
  3. Hot water + lemon juice + honey
  4. Hot water + cinnamon stick
  5. Hot water + ginger slices
  6. One cup warm water + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Quick recipe for chicken yakhni (broth): Add some chicken pieces with bones, chopped onion, cinnamon stick, ginger slices, garlic, cloves,  salt, pepper and whole cumin in a big pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook for around 20 minutes. Strain and drink hot.

Tips for Kids/Babies: Babies under the age of one should not be given honey. Babies who are taking solids can be given spoonfuls of warm Yakhni (chicken broth). The other liquids can also be given to kids in small quantities and after making sure its not too hot.

Sore Throat/Coughing:

  1. Take a spoonful of honey with some pepper sprinkled on top
  2. Gargle with warm water and some salt
  3. Put Vicks at the bottom of your feet and cover with socks. Works like a charm!

Tips for Kids/Babies: Do not give honey to babies under the age of one. However you can try the Vicks trick and older children can do the gargles.

Sinus Block:

Steam is very effective for a sinus block.  Switch on a humidifier at night or run a hot shower and sit in the steam.  Steam can also be taken by boiling a pot of water and then standing on top of the pot with your head covered in a towel (make sure the pot is off the stove!). While plain steam is enough, you can try adding cinnamon sticks, cloves or a blob of Vicks for variation.

Tips for Kids: It’s easier to give children steam through a humidifier or sitting in the washroom after running a hot shower and letting the steam build. Children also benefit from a warm bath with some menthol added.


Put some cloves in a bowl of olive oil and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds. Massage on the ribs. This is especially effective for babies.

Containing the spread:

Cold is viral and extremely infectious. To contain the spread lots of hand washing is important.

Cut a piece of onion and put it around the house and on the bedside of the sick. Your room will smell like a sweaty armpit but it definitely prevents the spread of the virus.

Teach your children to cover their coughs or you could use a mask like we did for our Star Wars crazy toddler 🙂

Do you have some desi totkas to fight the cold? Do share them! Would love to hear from you!

[Read More: Recipe for Chicken Yakhni Pulao]

10 thoughts on “Desi Totkas Toolkit for the Common Cold

  1. Give omega 3 in winter days specially.
    Boil cinsmon sticks, big cardamom, ginger and some clives if bkack pepper. When left half add some briwn sugar and let the kid drink. You can add camomile tea in it. I add joshanda in the end too

  2. Boil ginger slice (either one big/fat slice or few smaller ones) in water until the water is half of its original amount. Add honey. Kids/toddlers can sip it all day (slightly warm preferred). Works wonder.

    Also, take raw ginger’s juice in a teaspoon and add honey. It’s no less than a magic for sore/itchy throat and congested chest. One of our all times fav totka

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