Posted on by Village Green Nutrition Team
When cold symptoms appear, you would like to get rid of them as soon as possible. It's difficult to concentrate on your favorite activities when you are experiencing a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and maybe a sore throat.
Perhaps your doctor, a relative or a friend has told you that there is no cure for a cold. Regrettably, they are correct.
More than 200 viruses can cause the common cold, but a group of viruses called rhinoviruses is responsible. There are currently no antiviral medications available that can combat the viruses that cause the common cold. Antibiotics cannot be used to treat a cold because they are only used to address bacterial infections.
The good news is that there are some natural cold remedies that can help with your uncomfortable cold symptoms. Continue reading to learn seven great natural remedies to help with common cold symptoms.
1. Eat Infection-Fighting Foods
There are certain foods you can eat to help reduce symptoms of the common cold. Homemade chicken soup combined with vegetables is a great choice. Research shows that it is effective in slowing down the movement of neutrophils in your body. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cells. They move slowly to stay concentrated in areas that need the most healing.
The study also shows that chicken soup (whole chicken and additional wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery and parsley) helps relieve symptoms of upper respiratory infections. Low-sodium soup is healthier.
Recent research has also shown that chicken soup increases mucus flow and helps the body rid itself of the cold virus. Chicken is rich in an amino acid called cysteine, which helps loosen secretions. This effect is increased by adding spices such as pepper and garlic. Garlic contains antimicrobial properties. Add it to your diet to fight cold symptoms.
2. Take Hot Liquids
Hot liquids can help prevent dehydration and relieve nasal congestion. They can also soothe inflamed membranes lining your throat and nose.
Warm lemon water with honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Research indicates that honey acts as a cough suppressant. In one of the studies, researchers found 10 grams of honey can reduce cough symptoms in children.
But remember, children under 1 year old should not take honey. It contains botulinum spores and kids' immune systems are not strong enough to fight them off, compared to older children and adults.
You can also add ginger in boiling water to help soothe a sore throat or a cough. Drinking herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, licorice or slippery elm can be helpful, too.
It’s best to avoid caffeinated sodas, coffee and alcohol.
3. Salt Water
Salt water can be beneficial for upper respiratory symptoms, including helping with nasal congestion and sore throats.
Flushing your nasal passages with salt water can help remove bacteria and virus particles from your nose. It also prevents upper respiratory infection by breaking up nasal congestion. It is an old home remedy that's easy and inexpensive.
Tonsils get inflamed when one has a cold due to viral and bacterial infection. Gargling salt water can provide relief for a sore throat and help ease pain when swallowing food. To try this remedy, mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in a glass of 8 oz of warm water. Gargle for about 30 seconds and then spit it out. Repeat 2-3 times daily.
4. Warm Baths
If congestion makes it hard for you to sleep, eat or breathe, take a warm bath. Heated steam enters your nose to help loosen congestion and shrink swollen membranes.
Soaking in a hot tub increases your body's temperature, which can help boost your immune system. Adding in Epsom salt and essential oils such as lavender, chamomile or eucalyptus can provide added benefit. Once you get out of a steamy shower or hot tub, your temperature will decrease, promoting better sleep.
Aches and pains are also symptoms of a common cold. Heated water can help relieve muscle tension and increase circulation to reduce feelings of muscle soreness.
A humidifier or cool mist vaporizer can add moisture to the air to loosen congestion. Moist air is beneficial, especially during winter, as dry indoor heat can worsen your symptoms. You can add drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil for extra support.
Change the water every day and clean the unit following the manufacturer's instructions. Comfortable humidity levels keep nasal passages hydrated and help you breathe better. Plus, keeping your throat moist can help reduce symptoms such as sneezing and coughing.
The longer you have a cold, the more inflamed your airways will become. Using a humidifier can help break this uncomfortable cycle.
6. Stay Warm and Rest
Resting, staying warm, and getting good sleep are so important when you have a cold. Rest helps to direct your body's energy toward your immune system so that you can best fight off infections.
Research shows that having a warmer body temperature is helpful in fighting off a cold. Airways cells produce interferon (immune system proteins) that respond to the cold virus. Warm temperatures help to boost the body’s antiviral response. Boost the heat, if necessary, in your living room and bedroom to stay warm at home.
When sleeping, elevate your head to relieve nasal passages. Use extra pillows to create a gradual slope.
7. Blow Your Nose Often
At the onset of colds, many people experience running mucus. Blow your nose regularly to prevent the buildup of mucus. As the cold progresses, the mucus may become sticky, thick, and harder to clear.
Sniffling mucus back into your nose may encourage it to persist for longer, so it's best to blow your nose, using a new tissue every time. Don't blow too hard as it could cause damage to sensitive nasal passages.
More Information on Cold Remedies
At Village Green Apothecary, we have a team of experts available to answer your questions and help you feel your best. We have a wide variety of high-quality supplements available for additional support for colds and immune system health. Check out our handout on Cold and Flu Season Support: 10 Top Healthy Habits to Best Support You During Cold and Flu Season. Also, feel free to contact us for more information about our products and services.
Some serious conditions have similar symptoms to the common cold. They include COVID-19, strep throat, asthma, meningitis and bronchitis. So, if you experience severe symptoms or seem not to get better, call your doctor.
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