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7 Natural Remedies For A Cold

Despite the fact that we can “catch a cold” during any season of the year, it is becoming that time of year when it appears most everyone surrounding us has the flu or a cold.

This is the perfect time to take inventory of our immune system and be positive we are providing the assistance our body requires to remain healthy and strong.

We are repeatedly exposed to practically hundreds of various strains of viruses that are able to make us ill. These germs are transmitted hand-to-hand (touching eyes and nose, then by touching surfaces or other people) and aerosol (sneezing and coughing).

Have you ever wondered why you frequently “catch a cold” or ask yourself how you stay healthy when others around you are sick? The fact that we are frequently exposed to hundreds of germs/viruses but only manage to “catch a cold” twice a year, on average, proves that getting sick is more about a decrease in our immune system function and less about exposure.

An interesting fact about Oriental Medicine is that it believes the energy of the respiratory system is connected to the ability to accept change and how we grieve. We all know it’s common to become ill with a cold following a new job or shortly after the loss of a loved one. It’s thought that when we get a cold, we need to recognize that our body is probably in “dis-ease” and pay close attention to our emotional and spiritual bodies as well as our physical body as well.

How we heal ourselves on our spiritual and emotional levels may be more profound than any supplement or herb that we take.

The signs and symptoms of a cold may include an overall sense of not feeling well, achiness, fever, fatigue, sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarseness, sore or dry throat, and headache. Typically, a cold will begin with sneezing and a watery nasal discharge. As the virus dies, nasal passages will swell and secretions will thicken with mucus, dead organisms and white blood cells.

Frequent and vigilant hand-washing is extremely important since most studies show we are most commonly infected with the cold virus from direct contact with a person or surface with the virus than we are from breathing in the droplet version of the virus. However, let it be stressed that a strong immune system function is our best defense against catching a cold virus. Be sure you are participating in activities that generate the immune system such as yoga, meditation, gentle aerobic exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Decreasing the intake of excess alcohol and sugar consumption will strengthen your immune system. It can’t be underestimated that eating balanced, healthy foods with adequate protein is vitally important. If you acquire more than 1-2 colds per year, consider adding vitamins and supplements to provide nutrients to your body that are known to improve immune system function. Vitamins and minerals that improve, promote, and strengthen your immune system include carotenes, vitamin A, B-vitamins, vitamin C, iron, vitamin E, selenium and zinc. A convenient source is a quality multivitamin.

Viral immunity is the responsibility of the thymus. There are extracts on the market called “glandulars”, typically from bovine organs, that may boost thymus and spleen function, thus enhancing your immunity.

A cold should not last more than 3-4 days in a person with a healthy immune system. Bed rest is recommended to help you recover from your cold quickly and without complications. During relaxation, rest, sleep or meditation, immune-strengthening elements are form and released, providing increased immune functions. Staying home a day or two from work to recover not only speeds the healing process for you, but will also prevent the transmission of the cold virus to those around you.

7 Natural Remedies For A Cold:

1. Drink large quantities of fluids that include soups, water, juices, diluted vegetable juices, and herbal teas. Proper hydration optimizes the function of white blood cells, repels viral infection and moistens the respiratory tract.

2. Avoid alcohol and sugar, which damper immune function. Vitamin C and sugar (glucose) compete for transport sites of the white blood cells, and it is not sugar , but vitamin C, that helps heal a cold.

3. Rinsing your sinus passages or nasal lavage, using a bulb syringe or Neti pot, with a water and salt solution not only moistens your sinuses, but helps the nasal passages get rid of debris and mucus. Mix your own saline solution with 1 cup of water and ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt.

4. You can speed recovery with several herbs and supplements. These do not provide immediate relief of symptoms. Natural, alternative therapies involve healing the cold and providing assistance to the body process, instead of suppressing the disease. To heal a cold, zinc is the most potent supplement so far studied. Administering oral zinc lozenges, while awake, every two hours upon on the start of a cold decreases the length and severity of a viral illness.

5. Many studies show that vitamin C minimizes the duration and severity of cold symptoms. Recommended vitamin C dose is 500-1000mg every 2 hours. Decrease the dose should diarrhea begin. Vitamin C strengthens immune function and forces antiviral, anti-histamine and antibacterial production.

6. You can increase infection resistance with short-term use of vitamin A, which helps heal the tissue of the respiratory tract. High doses of vitamin A have been shown to cause birth defects, so it is not recommended to take in women who are sexually active who are not practicing birth control or women who are pregnant. The vitamin A dose during a cold is 15,000-25,000 IU per day for 4 days only.

7. The benefits of Echinacea has been proven through hundreds of studies. Echinacea stimulates the mobility of white blood cells and increases the consumption up of the virus by different immune cells. The Echinacea dose is 325-650 mg of the (capsule form) freeze dried plant or 2-4ml three times per day of a 1:1 extract or 1:5 tincture extract for 2 weeks in duration, no longer. Consuming Echinacea for extended periods can overstimulate immune system function.

I wish everyone a well and health winter. However, if a cold “catches” you, doing all or some of these measures can significantly speed your recovery. Most often, healthy people who acquire a cold virus do not need to seek medical intervention. However, if your signs and symptoms linger for more than a week or you develop difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, productive cough, or a sustained fever greater than 102 degrees, you should visit your health care provider.