October usually marks the peak season for over-the-counter pharmaceuticals for common cold. Maybe you have experienced them several times this year – the headache, the fever, and the streaming nose. In times like this, you only probably want two things – some rest and medications. But before you pop that pill, take a look at the following natural remedies for common cold. They are not only effective, but also safe to use.
1. Rest, rest and rest. Many people still go to work despite having severe cold or flu because they feel guilty about lying on the couch and watching some movies whilst under a blanket. But really, that’s what you ought to do. Rest will help you heal.
2. Drink plenty of fluids. You might ask – how does it help you get rid of cold? Well, drinking plenty of fluids makes mucus thinner and less sticky, reducing the severity of symptoms. Another thing, you need water because every time you sneeze, you are losing in moisture. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages.
3. Breathe in some steam. Steam is a very effective natural decongestant. Take a hot shower or apply warm compress over your nose and bath – all these helps loosen up mucus and make breathing easier.
4. Gargle. Scratchy throat? Try gargling with salt water. It helps relieve the pain and speed up the healing of sore throat.
5. Sleep with an extra pillow under your head. Elevating your head whilst you lie down will help decongest your nasal passages.
6. Eat infection-fighting foods. Certain foods contain natural chemicals that help fight cold and flu. They include blueberries, carrots, onions, cranberries, chilli peppers, mustard, horseradish, and citrus fruits. You also want to eat dark green cruciferous vegetables to increase your immunity.
7. Use essential oils. You can dab a drop of eucalyptus oil in your clothes or pillow to help you decongest and sleep comfortably during the night. In her study, Dr Diane Horne of Weber State University found that some essential oils, such as oregano, thyme and rosewood oils may have protective benefits against cold and other diseases, particularly streptococcus pneumonia.
8. Make a saline solution. This is a great remedy for congested nose. Using a ‘neti pot’, simply pour warm saline (salt and water) solution in one nostril and let it come out from the other. You can buy saline solution from pharmaceutical stores.
9. Drink herbal tea. Mint, ginger and chamomile tea act as natural decongestants. They also contain antioxidants and other nutrients that speed up healing and fight infection.
10. Savour raw honey. Craving for something sweet? What about honey? Honey is a natural immunity booster and antiviral food that is especially effective in soothing sore throat. Use it as your tea sweetener or stir it in warm water and inhale the steam.
11. Eat some soup. One of the best comfort foods for common cold is warm soup. Chicken soup helps clear sinuses whilst giving you nourishment especially if you don’t have the appetite to eat heavy meals. Add carrots, cabbage and other vegetables to boost its healing effect.
12. Consider herbal medications. Some herbs, which you can easily find in health food stores, have been shown to help prevent common cold and flu. They include Echinacea, ginseng and elderberry tea. WebMD reports that Echinacea helps alleviate symptoms of respiratory infection, whilst ginseng soothes sore throat, and elderberry tea helps symptoms go away faster.
13. Get enough sleep. During sleep, your body undergoes healing and repair, which is needed to speed up your recovery from cold.
14. Eat garlic. Garlic is among the most popular natural remedies for cold. Allicin, the compound that gives garlic its distinct and hot flavour, is known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can eat crushed raw garlic or if you can’t, just add plenty of it in your chicken soup.
15. Take vitamin C. A study review by Cochrane Collaboration found that taking vitamin C may reduce the incidence, duration and severity of common cold. You can get this essential vitamin from food sources of supplements.