Natural Ways to Cure a Cold

It may not be a life threatening illness, but the common cold wreaks havoc in the lives of people the world over, particularly during the winter months. Who doesn’t dread those all-to-familiar first symptoms, the scratchy throat accompanied by aching muscles, sneezing, headache and congestion? Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or type of hypnotherapy you can take to cure a cold, but there are many natural remedies that can prevent the onset of a cold, reduce the severity of the symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.
The common cold is a viral infection of the upper-respiratory tract that can leave you vulnerable to other viral or bacterial infections such a bronchitis or ear and sinus infections. There are actually over two hundred viruses that cause colds and it usually takes between four to ten days for the symptoms to subside. Natural remedies are most effective when taken at the first signs of a cold and can often prevent further symptoms from developing.
A combination of the herbs Echinacea and Goldenseal probably come closest to being a cure for the common cold. Echinacea boosts the immune system, increasing the activity and number of virus attacking cells while Goldenseal has powerful anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. Taken together they have a synergistic effect enhancing their overall effectiveness. The combination can nip a cold in the bud or at the very least help you recover quickly.
Another powerful natural remedy is garlic. A British study in 2001 found that garlic supplements taken regularly reduced the incidence of colds by almost two thirds and the study participants who did develop a cold had a much speedier recovery. Other cold-fighting herbs are Umcka, Elderberry, Ginger, Ginseng, Licorice and Eucalyptus taken as a supplement, a tea, or in the case of Eucalyptus, inhaled. When it comes to minerals, Zinc can help you combat a cold. It helps regulate the immune system and in numerous clinical trials has been shown to be effective in preventing and treating the common cold.
Homemade chicken soup has long been one of the mainstays of folk medicine when it comes to treating the common cold. A 1993 study conducted by the University of Nebraska confirmed the efficacy of this age old remedy. However, the magic ingredient in the soup is not the chicken, as the researchers achieved the same results with a vegetable soup. The key ingredient is likely onion, which is high in antiviral sulphuric compounds and reduces inflammation. You can also achieve relief from cold symptoms by consuming one tablespoon of onion juice, mixed with a little honey, three times a day.
As with most illness, prevention is the best cure. Anything that weakens your immune system like stress, sleep deprivation or poor nutrition, makes you more susceptible to cold viruses. Learning to become stress resistant, getting all the sleep your body needs and eating a nutritious diet rich in immune boosting vitamins, minerals and herbs, can often help you avoid coming down with a cold, even when everyone else around you is ill.
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