You feel unusually tired. You start sneezing. Your nose runs and you have a tickle in your throat. Chances are, you’re getting a cold and the virus is starting to multiply in your nose. And whenever you sneeze, thousands of globules loaded with viruses are expelled into the air. Welcome to the world of the common cold.
The common cold is the leading cause of doctor visits in the United States. In one year, the U.S. population contracts approximately 1 billion colds and this accounts for more missed work and school days than any other illness. Because there are over 200 different kinds of viruses that can cause a cold, by the time our body has learned to recognize one virus by its structure and prepare antibodies that will attack and destroy it, along comes another virus with a slightly different structure. This is why it is difficult for the immune system to defend against the common cold and why medical researchers have not been able to find a cure yet.
While a cure for the common cold has eluded scientists, there are some natural treatments that work extremely well to stop a cold in its tracks. The following are the most effective natural treatments for a cold.
Cold Nip is a combination of three classical Chinese formulas that have been used successfully for years for the common cold with the addition of three anti-viral herbs: Andrographis, Isatis leaf and Isatis root. Isatis leaf, Isatis root and Andrographis have long been used in Chinese Medicine for upper respiratory infections and have been shown in recent research to have potent anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. Chinese Medicine maintains that if you activate the protective defense of the body, the wei qi, the virus will not penetrate. So you want to start Cold Nip right away. People report that if they take Cold Nip at the first signs of a cold, it usually stops it before it has a chance to take hold. If the virus has penetrated to the sinuses, throat and lungs, Cold Nip will still help relieve symptoms and shorten the duration. It is also effective when used preventatively in crowded areas or when flying in a plane where a multitude of viruses are circulating throughout the cabin.
Supporting your Immune System:
One way to avoid getting a cold in the first place is to support your immune system. Supreme Immune Tonic has the kings of the Chinese herbs that will help support the immune system on a deep level. Take 2 capsules twice a day during the winter months if you are susceptible to colds and the flu.
Neti pot: Since viruses replicate in the nasal passages, help your immune system to move them out by using the neti pot two to three times a day. Add a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of baking soda. The salt water restores moisture to nasal passages, lessens the inflammation of mucous membranes, washes out existing pathogens while both salt and baking soda make the environment inhospitable to the viruses and bacteria. Make sure you tilt your head at the right angle so that water only drains through the opposite nostril (you do not want it to drain back through the nose and throat). After using the neti pot on each side, blow your nose several times. All discharges should come forward and out – do not snuff up into the sinuses. Saline rinses are highly recommended by National Jewish Health; however, they recommend using boiled or purified water to ensure against the risk of bacteria or amoebas in tap water.
Gargling with Salt water: This is effective for a viral sore throat and helps reduce the soreness and shorten the duration of a sore throat. Both viruses and bacteria struggle to survive in a high-salt environment.
Probiotics: Current research indicates that taking a daily probiotic during the winter months helps prevent contracting upper respiratory infections.
Zinc helps the immune system function more effectively. Research suggests taking 15 mg 2-3 x day at the onset of a cold will help stop a cold and reduce the symptoms and duration. Oral zinc is recommended over zinc nasal sprays since several people have experienced a loss of smell with zinc nasal sprays.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can be effective when every cold seems to go to the chest and turns into bronchitis. NAC thins mucus and has mucolyptic and expectorant properties.
What to eat and drink when you have a cold?
Every morning squeeze the juice of one lemon into warm water and add a teaspoon of raw Manuka honey. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, but avoid dairy and orange juice since they seem to increase the amount of mucus. Freshly squeezed carrot and vegetable juices are also recommended, and a good homemade chicken soup with plenty of vegetables and shiitake mushrooms will support the immune system and also make you feel better.
With these natural recommendations, you should be able to say good-bye to your cold if you catch it early enough or at least reduce the symptoms and shorten its duration.
Kathy Thorpe, CHom is a Classical Homeopath and a natural health writer and blogger who has been writing about alternative approaches to health and wellness for the past ten years. Prior to that, she taught English at U.C. Berkeley and at the University of Colorado. She can be reached at 303 583-0179