Since dear daughter shared her head cold with me I realized that two of my family's tried and true home remedies rely strictly on salt. And they both are very effective.
Gargling with warm saltwater for a sore throat comes to me over the generations, from great-grandma to grandma and so on. One teaspoon of kosher (or other noniodized salt) dissolved in one cup of warm water, is used to gargle several times a day. Do not swallow!
The next is for sinus congestion or to prevent allergy symptoms: the neti pot. It is a small pot with a slender spout that is used to irrigate your sinuses with (again) warm saltwater. It works so well I can't speak of it highly enough. There is a definite learning curve when first using the neti pot, but it becomes easy once you get the hang of it. Rather than go into great detail on it's use, I will just say that each pot comes with detailed instructions.
Why is salt so effective as a home remedy? If you think of salts use in preserving food it becomes evident; salt is an antibacterial agent. Plus, when we mix it into solution with water we come very close to mimicing the body's own salinity, thus making it less irritating to our tissues. When mixing your salt solutions they should taste like your tears.
Tomorrow I'll share some old family remedies that you may not want to use, but they are fun to talk about.