Natural Cold & Flu Remedies
With our busy lives, most of us loathe to spend a day or two under the covers. But getting plenty of rest lets your body direct more energy to fighting off germs. Staying warm is also important, so tuck yourself in and give your immune cells a leg up in their noble battle.
Let Your Fever Work
A fever is the original natural remedy. The rise in temperature actively fights colds and flu by making your body inhospitable for germs. Endure a moderate fever for a couple of days to get better faster. Just be sure to stay well hydrated. Call your doctor right away if the fever is over 105, unless it comes down quickly with treatment. In infants 3 months or younger call your doctor for any fever greater than 100.4. Children with a fever of less than 102 usually
Another strategy for relieving nighttime congestion is to try over-the-counter nasal strips. These are strips of tape worn on the bridge of the nose to open the nasal passages. While they can’t unclog the nose, they do create more space for airflow.
Home Made Cold Remedy
Natural Cold & Flu Remedies
For a sore throat, the traditional saltwater gargle has merit. Gargling warm water with a teaspoon of salt four times daily can help keep a scratchy throat moist.
Days of wiping and blowing your nose can leave the skin around your nostrils sore and irritated. A simple remedy is to dab a menthol-infused ointment under the nose. Menthol has mild numbing agents that can relieve the pain of raw skin. As an added benefit, breathing in the menthol aroma can help open clogged passages.
For a more systematic nasal rinse, the neti pot is an option. This small ceramic pot is used to flush out the nasal passages with a saltwater solution – a process known as nasal irrigation. The result is thinner mucus that drains more easily. Research suggests neti pots are useful in relieving sinus symptoms, such as congestion, pressure, and facial pain, particularly in patients with chronic sinus troubles.
Natural Cold & Flu Remedies
Dripping saltwater into the nose can remove virus and bacteria particles, while reducing congestion. Try over-the-counter saline drops, or make your own by mixing 8 ounces of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Use a bulb syringe to squirt the mixture into one nostril while holding the other one closed. Repeat 2-3 times and then do the other side.
For a heavy dose of steam, use a room humidifier – or simply sit in the bathroom with the door shut and a hot shower running. Breathing in steam can break up congestion in the nasal passages, offering relief from a stuffy or runny nose.
Horseradish is a folk remedy for breaking up mucus in the breathing passages. One option is to mix ground-up horseradish and honey into a glass of water, then gargle.
Garlic has long been touted for legendary germ-fighting abilities. While there is not enough research to recommend it as a cold remedy, garlic is very nutritious. In addition, it can help spice up your meals when a stuffy nose makes everything taste bland.
The hot toddy is an age-old nighttime cold remedy. Since you won’t want to drink black tea before bed, make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add a teaspoon of honey, a small shot of whiskey or bourbon, and a squeeze of lemon. This mixture may ease congestion, soothe the throat and help you sleep. Limit yourself to one hot toddy. Too much alcohol can affect the immune system.
Drinking hot tea offers some of the same benefits as chicken soup. Inhaling the steam relieves congestion, while swallowing the fluid soothes the throat and keeps you hydrated. Black and green teas have the added bonus of being loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.
Grandma was onto something. Chicken soup may help cold symptoms in more than one way. Inhaling the steam can ease nasal congestion. Sipping spoonfuls of fluid can help avoid dehydration. And some advocates say the soup may soothe inflammation. Researchers have found chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties in the lab, though it’s unclear whether this effect translates to real-world colds.
The cold-fighting prowess of vitamin C remains uncertain. Some studies suggest it can help shorten the duration of the common cold very slightly. Other studies show that it may help prevent colds. In one large study, people recovered from colds more quickly after taking a megadose (8,000 milligrams) on the first day of the cold. But taking more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day may cause kidney stones and diarrhea.
Some studies show that Zinc appears to have antiviral properties. There is some evidence the mineral may prevent the formation of certain proteins that cold viruses use to reproduce themselves. Whether this translates to an effective treatment may depend on how the zinc is taken. A review of published studies suggests zinc lozenges have no effect on the length of a cold. Zinc nasal gel appears promising, but more research is needed.
Echinacea is an herbal supplement that can boost immune system activity. But it’s unclear whether this boost helps fight off colds or flu. Some researchers have reported no benefits, but at least one recent study paints a more positive picture. Participants who took echinacea shortened their colds by an average of 1.4 days. Still, experts remain skeptical, and it’s best to check with a doctor before trying this or other herbal remedies.
Zinc: While early studies showed that zinc could help fight off a cold more quickly, the latest consensus seems to be that zinc has a minimal benefit at best.
Echinacea: While echinacea was once a very popular cold remedy, the latest science indicates that it does not appear to prevent colds and is not an effective treatment. Researchers are continuing to study echinacea’s effects on respiratory infections to determine if there is some benefit.
Vitamin C: What about vitamin C? A recent survey of 65 years' worth of studies found limited benefit. The researchers found no evidence that vitamin C prevents colds. However, they did find evidence that vitamin C may shorten how long you suffer from a cold. One large study found that people who took a vitamin C megadose -- 8 grams on the first day of a cold -- shortened the duration of their colds.
Natural Cold & Flu Remedies
Natural Cold & Flu Remedies
It’s no wonder natural cold and flu remedies are popular – modern medicine has yet to offer a cure for these age-old ailments. While some antiviral drugs can prevent and shorten the flu’s duration, most medications only offer temporary relief of symptoms. Many natural remedies provide temporary relief as well, and a few may actually help you get better. See which cold and flu remedies show the most promise.
Are cold symptoms making you feel miserable? Here are 12 cold remedies you can use right now — at home — to feel better.
Cold Remedy #1: Drink plenty of fluids to help break up your congestion. Drinking water or juice will prevent dehydration and keep your throat moist. You should drink at least 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of water daily. Include fluids such as water, sports drinks, herbal teas, fruit drinks, or ginger ale. Your mother's chicken soup might help too! (Avoid cola, coffee, and other drinks with caffeine because it acts like a diuretic and may dehydrate you.)
Cold Remedy #2: Inhale steam to ease your congestion and drippy nose. Hold your head over a pot of boiling water and breathe through your nose. Be careful. If the steam burns your nose, breathe in more slowly. You can buy a humidifier, but the steam will be the same as the water on the stove. Moisture from a hot shower with the door closed, saline nasal spray, or a room humidifier is just as helpful to ease congestion.
Cold Remedy #3: Blow your nose often, but do it the proper way. It's important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can carry germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earache. The best way to blow your nose is to press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.
Cold Remedy #4: Use saline nasal sprays or make your own salt water rinse to irrigate your nose. Salt-water rinsing helps break nasal congestion while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose. Here's a popular recipe:
Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Fill a bulb syringe with this mixture (or use a Neti pot, available at most health foods stores). Lean your head over a basin, and using the bulb syringe, gently squirt the salt water into your nose. Hold one nostril closed by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let it drain. Repeat 2-3 times, and then treat the other nostril.
Cold Remedy #5: Stay warm and rested. Staying warm and resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle. This battle taxes the body. So give it a little help by lying down under a blanket to stay warm if necessary.
Cold Remedy #6: Gargle with warm salt water. Gargling can moisten a sore or scratchy throat and bring temporary relief. Try a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water four times daily. To reduce the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle — such as tea that contains tannin — to tighten the membranes. Or use a thick, viscous gargle made with honey, popular in folk medicine. Steep one tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature befoCold Remedies
Cold Remedy #7: Drink hot liquids. Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat. If you're so congested you can't sleep at night, try a hot toddy, an age-old remedy. Make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add one teaspoon of honey and 1 small shot (about 1 ounce) of whiskey or bourbon if you wish. Limit yourself to one. Too much alcohol inflames those membranes and is counterproductive.
Cold Remedy #8: Take a steamy shower. Steamy showers moisturize your nasal passages and relax you. If you're dizzy from the flu, run a steamy shower while you sit on a chair nearby and take a sponge bath.
Cold Remedy #9: Try a small dab of mentholated salve under your nose to help open breathing passages and help restore the irritated skin at the base of the nose. Menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor all have mild numbing ingredients that may help relieve the pain of a nose rubbed raw.
Cold Remedy #10: Apply hot packs around your congested sinuses. You can buy reusable hot packs at a drugstore. Or make your own. Take a damp washcloth and heat it for 30 seconds in a microwave. (Test the temperature first to make sure it's right for you.)
Cold Remedy #11: Sleep with an extra pillow under your head. This will help relieve congested nasal passages. If the angle is too awkward, try placing the pillows between the mattress and the box springs to create a more gradual slope.
Cold Remedy #12: Learn about natural remedies like zinc, echinacea, and vitamin C. People looking for natural cold remedies often turn to supplements.