As we are all aware, we are knee deep into cold and flu season. Germs are flying faster than we can keep up with. Feels like we’ve been sniffling and sneezing for months and there’s still a few months to go if the groundhog does or doesn’t see his shadow in a few days. There are many ways to combat the common cold beyond just your average run of the mill over the counter medication, like the all-natural cold remedies that are cheaper and possibly more effective. Some people don’t like pumping their bodies full of medication and look for more natural ways to overcome their symptoms. We researched many different kinds of remedies and these are some of the ones that have proven to be effective.
This one seems almost self-explanatory but according to WebMD, one of the most effective ways to combat a cold or flu is rest. It helps your body fight the attack. They also recommend staying warm while you rest. You can use a hot water bottle on the chest or near the feet, a heating pad (but make sure you only use this when you’re awake!) or just adding an extra layer of clothes or a blanket.
In this case, a small amount of alcohol can do you some good. A classic hot toddy is made of whiskey, honey, lemon, and hot water. Each ingredient has its own healing properties to combat the common cold. Honey has antibacterial properties and is known as an anti-inflammatory, while hot water helps to relieve nasal congestion (like if you were to do a steam). A small amount of whiskey will dilate the blood vessels which could help your mucus membranes. Don’t consume more than one though, because too much alcohol will make you dehydrated and defeat the entire purpose.
Ginger is a great natural remedy for colds. Why? Thanks to the element that makes it spicy. In ginger, the compound is called gingerol and it helps to lessen inflammation. Because inflammation is such a big part of the pressure in the sinus cavity, this could be a blessing. There are several ways to consume ginger; you can add it to your foods, eat it straight, or make it in a tea. If ginger isn’t your thing, you can also try other spicy foods.
Vitamin C is a common go-to cold remedy, and for good reason; it has proven to be effective. It won’t prevent a cold, but experts say that it can shorten the length of an existing one. It is recommended to take up to one gram of Vitamin C several times a day in your chosen form, but if you have too much, it can cause kidney stones, so ask your doctor if the supplement is for you.
Zinc is similar to Vitamin C in that although it is not a foolproof remedy, there is more evidence to support that it works. Zinc lozenges are a good way to get your zinc, which may help to shorten the length of your cold. You can also try syrup. According to the Cochrane Collaboration, which is a non profit that works with health research, taking zinc within twenty four hours of feeling sick is the best time to take it. You shouldn’t take it for more than five days though, because it can upset your stomach or leave a bad taste in your mouth.
There is no foolproof way for staying healthy during this time, these are just suggestions and jumping off points for remedies. They don’t always work for all people, and sometimes you have to try different combinations to see what works best for you.