Cold and flu remedies are popular, while modern medicine has yet to find a cure for these ancient ailments. While some medications can offer temporary relief, many natural remedies provide relief as well. From tasty items like garlic to curious compounds like zinc, the following cold and flu remedies have shown the most promise.
This herbal supplement may boost the immune system and help fight infection. However, it’s unclear whether or not it can really fight off a cold. Most evidence shows that it can certainly decrease symptoms by a day or two, while others show it has very little effect. Echinacea may work for you if you use it for 7 to 10 days. If you have a medical condition or take other medications, make sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplement.
Some research shows that zinc is effective against viruses. For example, some studies have shown that zinc may prevent certain proteins from forming, which, when fully formed, help cold viruses reproduce themselves. While zinc does not seem to prevent colds, research suggests that it may help shorten symptoms and reduce their overall severity. However, make sure to avoid using the zinc nasal products for colds because there have been reports of loss of smell.
The cold-fighting powers of vitamin C still remain uncertain. Some studies suggest it can reduce the longevity of cold symptoms by about 24 hours. In one study, participants who were exposed to extremely strenuous activity and cold weather and took vitamin C were 50 percent less likely to get a cold. To stop a cold in its tracks, about 2,000 milligrams seemed to work best, however this high dosage can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach.
Chicken soup is certainly good for the soul. Inhaling the steam can relieve some nasal congestion, sipping spoonfuls can help stave off hydration, and some believers say the soup can even soothe inflammation. Researchers have indeed found anti-inflammatory properties in the soup, however it is unclear if it has any effect on an actual cold.
Garlic has long been a legend for its germ-fighting powers. One study found that garlic supplements may prevent colds when taken daily. More research is needed to determine garlic’s benefits, but while you’re at it you simply can’t go wrong. Garlic is very nutritious and can spice up your meals when a clogged nose makes everything taste so dull.
Saltwater can be dripped or sprayed into the nose, which can thin out nasal secretions that are congesting your sinuses. Over-the-counter saline drops can work or you can make your own by mixing 8 ounces of warm water with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. You can use a bulb syringe to squirt the salty mixture into one nostril, while holding the other closed. Repeat 2-3 times then switch to the other nostril.
Make sure to consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for all health related advice.
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