By Jamell Andrews
Cold remedies are a dime a dozen and almost everyone you know has a natural cold remedy that they swear by, but do any of them actually work? The following are natural ways to treat a cold that have been shown to be effective in relieving cold symptoms and shortening the duration of a cold.
Vitamin C has long been thought to help treat and prevent colds. This natural antioxidant that is found in many over-the-counter cold remedies has been shown to have some impact on the duration of the common cold. A review of studies on the effectiveness of vitamin C on colds concluded that while taking vitamin C won’t prevent a cold, taking it before you experience symptoms may effectively reduce the severity of your symptoms and the duration of the cold. It’s also been shown to be of benefit to those that have an increased risk of colds due to frequent exposure, such as children in daycare or school during cold and flu season.
Along with supplements and cold remedies, citrus fruits, bell peppers, and broccoli are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Echinacea has been a go-to for cold suffers for years now. Study results on whether this herbal remedy can prevent colds have been mixed, though this likely due to studies using different types of Echinacea, causing differing results. There is, however, substantial evidence that suggests that Echinacea does reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms. For best results, Echinacea should be taken as soon as you notice cold symptoms and taken for a week to 10 days.
Ginseng root has been used for decades to treat various medical issues, from colds and flu to diabetes. There are different types of ginseng, though American and Siberian ginseng are the two that have been found beneficial in the prevention and treatment of colds. American ginseng may be effective in the prevention of colds and flu, according to the National Institutes of Health. Other studies have also found that taking ginseng can reduce the number of colds you get, along with the duration and severity of your cold symptoms. Siberian ginseng, when taken with another her called andrographis, may also effectively prevent and treat the common cold, according to a 2002 study. This combination is most effective when taken within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. Siberian ginseng was also found to strengthen the immune system.
Nasal irrigation, which refers to using a saltwater solution to rinse the sinuses, has been found to provide significant symptom relief in those suffering from the common cold and other respiratory tract infections. While it hasn’t yet been proven effective in the prevention of colds, it has been shown to lower antibiotics use and reduce the length of colds. There are several methods and solutions available for nasal irrigation over-the-counter, such as neti pots and saline sprays.
Hot Water with Lemon and other Warm Beverages
Getting plenty of fluids when you have a cold can go a long way in relieving your symptoms. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking clear broth and warm water with lemon and honey to help loosen congestion and avoid dehydration. Chances are you’ve heard these before from your mother and grandmother, as hot water with lemon and honey and warm chicken soup have been used for centuries to treat cold symptoms. Maybe mother really does know best.
Always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement or herbal remedy, as even natural remedies can cause side effects and interact with other supplements and medications.