Enhancing the Immune System
The common cold is caused by a variety of viruses. A healthy immune system can usually destroy the virus before symptoms appear. A weak immune system, however, will have a harder time getting rid of the virus. Therefore, the best cold remedy is enhancing immune function.
Sleep & Rest
Sleep and rest are very important when fighting a cold. When a person is at he’s deepest level of sleep, immune function is greatly enhanced. To relax the body and help promote sleep, try drinking a warm cup of chamomile or valerian tea.
Did you know that drinking too much orange juice can actually prolong a cold? According to studies, concentrated sources of sugars, including the natural sugars in juices, decrease the effectiveness of white blood cells when killing organisms.
Staying well-hydrated has many benefits, including improving the function of white blood cells and keeping the respiratory tract moist so it repels the virus. Drink plenty of water and dilute juices. Limit juice intake to 4 to 8 ounces (undiluted) a day. Avoid soft drinks, coffee and alcohol.
Recent data suggests taking 1 to 6 grams of vitamin C a day can decrease the duration of the cold by nearly a full day. According to several studies, vitamin C was also shown to reduce the severity of symptoms.
Echinacea stimulates the body’s natural defense mechanisms and is known to enhance immune function. To prepare a cup of tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried plant material (or 1/4 cup of fresh plant material). Cover, steep for 5 minutes and strain. To enhance its benefits on the immune system, add some honey or freshly squeezed lemon juice. People with an auto-immune disorder should not take echinacea.
Home Remedies for the Common Cold
You may have heard chicken soup is good for a cold. This is true. According to one report, hot chicken soup is more effective in clearing mucus from the nose than other hot liquids. Clearing the mucus helps remove the virus. You can buy the soup but homemade is preferred.
Garlic is an excellent mucus-thinner and has anti-viral properties. Include freshly chopped garlic in your diet.
Help drain stuffy sinuses with cayenne. Sprinkle some powdered cayenne into your soup.
Using a neti pot will clean sinus passages, reduce congestion and soothe inflammation.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Boil 1 quart of water, remove from heat, add 5-10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and stir. Place your face over the pot, with a towel over your head to trap in the steam, and inhale. Be careful to not burn yourself.
You can also place a few drops of eucalyptus oil onto a cotton ball and put the cotton ball in an old pill bottle. When you need to open your nasal passages, open the bottle and take some deep breaths of the oil.
The best cold remedy is enhancing immune function. This not only allows the body to naturally fight the virus, it will help prevent future colds.
Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)
Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen, Bottom Line’s Healing Remedies (2006)
Uncommon Cures for Everyday Ailments (from the editors of Bottom Line/Health) 2006
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