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Remedies For a Cold

by Geri Walton ~ December 6th, 2008

When you get body aches, chest discomfort, a cough, sore throat, or a stuffy nose, you may look for remedies for your cold. However, because the cold and the flu have similiar symptoms, people sometimes mistakenly think they have the flu. If you’re unsure of the differences, the following chart lists the symptoms of each.

Symptom Comparisons between a Cold and the Flu
Symptom Cold Flu
Body Aches
Chest Discomfort
Chills  
Congestion
Cough
Fever  
Headache  
Sneezing  
Sore Throat  
Stuffy Nose  
Tiredness

Colds also usually being with a sore throat whereas the flu usually comes on quickly and is more severe than a cold. If you decide you have the flu, read Flu Cures and Natural Remedies. If you decide you have a cold, you may have some ideas about the best way to take care of yourself. Similar to the flu, there are several important things you should do. They are get plenty of rest and eliminate hard-to-digest foods from your diet, so that your body can spend its energy attacking the cold virus and healing itself. Here are also ten other tips to help you get over your cold.

  • Chicken Soup.  This prescription has been used for generations, but it works. Researchers tested its effectiveness and discovered there’s two reasons how it helps: First, it reduces inflammation, and, second, it speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose, which relieves congestion and limits contact with nasal passage linings.
  • Echinacea.  This herb is extremely popular, and several studies have shown it can halt a cold or flu in its tracks. It can also shorten the time your illness lasts.
  • Fluids.   When you’re sick the last thing you need to be is dehydrated. So, avoid caffeine and cola drinks because they’re diuretics. Instead choose water, fruit drinks, 7-Up, or hot drinks, such as herbal teas. Hot drinks can also soothe inflamed linings in your nose or throat.
  • Garlic.  Garlic contains allicin, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is often used as a home remedy. You can eat it raw or take it in pill form. One study found people who ate a clove of garlic a day when they had a cold recovered quicker than those people who did not. If you don’t want to eat it raw or take it in pill form, here another option:  It’s a great recipe for a simple garlic broth from the New York Times.
  • Ginger.  You may already know ginger’s great for motion sickness or upset stomach. However, if you chew it, it can relieve a scratchy, sore throat. If you don’t want to chew it, create a ginger tea. Make the tea by combining ginger with cloves (which is an antiseptic and kills germs) and cinnamon (which has anti-microbial and warming properties). Boil gently, add a little honey, and you’ll find it  reduces cold symptoms. If you’re interested in learning more about ginger, read Did You Know Ginger …
  • Salt Water.  There are two uses for salt water: as a gargle and as a sinus remedy. The salt water gargle helps relieve a scratchy, sore throat. To make it, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces warm water and gargle. The salt water nasal rinse helps with congestion and eliminates any nasal bacteria or viruses. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt with 8 ounces of water. Hold your head over the sink and close one nostril with your finger. Use a neti pot or syringe. Squirt or pour salt water into one nostril, while you let it drain out the other nostril. Repeat the process up to three times.
  • Shower or Bath.  Viruses thrive in dry conditions. So, a steamy hot shower not only helps moisturize your nasal passages but also reduces virus-loving conditions. A shower can also stimulate your lymph system to clear out toxins and help you relax by reducing aches and pains. If you’re too tired to stand, try a hot bath instead.
  • Steam.  Because you often have chest discomfort with a cold, fill a sink with steaming hot water and add five or six drops of eucalyptus oil. It has decongestant properties, opens bronchial passages, and loosens phlegm. It also has strong germicidal and antibacterial properties. Breathe in the steam for several minutes by draping a towel over your head. You can also rub a few drops of eucalyptus oil on your chest or back to help relieve cold symptoms.
  • Vitamin C and Zinc.  According to Orthomolecular, when you get a cold you should take vitamin C daily, because  it “neutralizes free radicals, helps kill viruses, and strengthens the body’s immune system.” Zinc is also great because it fights both cold and flu symptoms, and it is a critical element needed to fight infection and maintain a strong immune system. The brand I use is Cold-EEZE. 
  • Wet Socks.  According to an alternative blog, Own Your Health, wet socks help you sleep. Soak a pair of cotton socks in cold water, wring them out, and put them on your feet. Cover your feet with a pair of wool socks and then wrap your feet in towels. Because your feet are cold, the blood goes to your feet to warm them and that helps you to sleep. Additionally, because the blood goes towards your bottom half, you end up being less congested.

 

 

CAUTION: 

This site provides information for educational purposes, and although
these remedies can, and have, helped many people without
incident, there are several important things you should know.

People sometimes have allergic or adverse reactions to spices, herbs, or
over-the-counter medications. If you have not taken something before,
if you decide to, do so with caution. Also, check to make sure you know
what side effects or adverse reactions can happen if you do take something. Also, keep in mind, children react differently to things
than adults, so use caution when  giving anything to a child. If you
are breastfeeding, pregnant, taking other medications, or if you
suffer from a chronic disease, DO NOT take anything without
first talking to your health care professional.

 

 

4 Responses to Remedies For a Cold

  1. byotipol

    hi Geri,

    thanks for sharing this one. it is indeed informative and thank you also for commenting on my blog post. tc dear and MERRY CHRISTMAS IN ADVANCE

  2. Rebecca

    Hi Geri,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me this great link in response to my pneumonia post. I have already been doing several of the things you suggested, but I think I will try your ginger tea recipe. I am not sure I could tolerate the wet sock idea! Unfortunately I will have more time to try out some of your ideas, as they confirmed today the first round of antibiotics didn’t knock it down completely. No wonder the cough is still bothering me!

    Thanks again,
    Rebecca

  3. Gina Morelli

    Hi Geri,

    Just browsing your site. I just so happen to be getting though a cold with the sore throat symptoms etc etc. I agree with the last comment, not sure about the wet socks! BUT love the ginger tea recipe. Just popped some echinacea, will try the tea tomorrow :-)

    Gina

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