Tips for treating a cold

Natural health remedies to help treat the common cold

The winter is the time of year that we’re most likely to catch a cold. It’s almost inevitable that we’ll pick up a cold virus and start feeling the effects of a runny nose, sore throat, cough and sinus pain.

Alternative medicine and complementary therapy can help treat a common cold using natural health methods and products. Here’s our quick guide to treatments that will ease the symptoms of a cold and maybe prevent you catching a cold in the first place.

Simple herbal remedies for a cold

While not able to cure the common cold, herbal remedies are beneficial for relief from the symptoms while giving the immune system a boost so it can help you toward a quick recovery.

Echinacea – One of the most popular remedies for treating colds and flu. Echinacea can kick start the immune system which means it acts as a stimulant. The Germans prefer Echinacea over any other remedy for minor infections of the respiratory system.

Herbalist believe Echinacea is best taken in liquid form (for instance as a tea) because of its direct contact onto the tonsils (which form part of the lymphatic system that fights infection).

Echinacea comes in three species: purpurea, angustifolia and pallida. Echinacea purpurea is most commonly used. Dosage is important when treating the common cold and a daily dosage of 900mg has proved to be most effective.

Symptoms of a cold have been found to reduce from 13 days to 9 days when Echinacea has been taken. It is available in powdered extract form (which can be used to make tea), as a tincture or as a juice. Start taking Echinacea as soon as those cold symptoms appear and keep taking it for the next week to two weeks.

For a fever – A combination of herbs can be mixed to create a tea that will help lower your temperature.

Ingredients: 1oz of peppermint leaves (dried), 1 oz of Elder Flower (dried), half a pint of distilled water.

Instructions: Place the herbs into a saucepan. Boil the distilled water and then pour over the herbs. Cover the pan and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. Use a sieve or tea-strainer to strain the liquid into a mug. Add honey for sweetness. This remedy has been known to reduce a high temperature by 5 degrees in less than two hours.

Quick common cold treatments

Here are some quick home remedy treatments for a cold using tried and tested natural remedies that you may have in the home:

Lemon – One of the best ingredients for a cold as it is rich in Vitamin-C and reduces toxicity. A slice of lemon in hot water with a drizzle of honey eases a sore throat and can speed up recovery.

Garlic – Good for the heart and good for a cold too. Garlic has antiseptic properties and its oil opens up the respiratory system to ease chest tightness. Make up a simple soup by boiling three or four chopped cloves and adding to a cup of water. Or, two to three times a day take five drops of garlic oil with a teaspoon of onion juice and add into a cup of water.

Turmeric – If you’ve got this spice in your home, half a teaspoon of turmeric powder added to a cup of warm milk is effective in treating a sore throat.

Ginger – Another age old treatment for coughs and colds is ginger. 10g of ginger cut into pieces and boiled in a cup of water – this should then be strained into a mug and a teaspoon of sugar added for sweetness (or honey). Ginger tea is also easily made by adding a few pieces into the water before placing the tea leaves into the pot. Drink twice a day.

And finally…

Zinc lozenges – You may not have these in the house but for future use consider buying a pack. Zinc lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of a cold by half. At the first sign of a cold, place a zinc lozenge that contains 10mg to 20mg of either zinc gluconate, zinc acetate or zinc gluconate/glycine into your mouth and suck it for five minutes or longer.

Don’t swallow the lozenge as this will lose its effectiveness.

When it has melted, have another one and repeat the process. Do this once an hour for four hours reducing this to down to every three hours. Zinc lozenges often come with added Vitamin-C and are available from most good health product shops.

Article submitted by
Daniel James Alexander, GoToSee Journalist

Date published

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