People have used natural and home remedies for thousands of years to treat a head cold. Although natural remedies may not cure a cold, they may shorten its duration and make you feel better while you are waiting to get well. If decide to you use natural remedies to treat your cold, check with your doctor, especially if your symptoms persist.
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Ginger is a well-known herbal remedy useful for reducing inflammation and for treating stomach upsets and nausea. Ginger ale is one way to take ginger to settle your stomach or reduce stuffy sinuses or coughing where there is swelling due to inflamed tissues. To be sure your ginger ale provides you with the sought-after relief, make sure it is made with real ginger. Ginger flavoring will not help relieve your symptoms. Read the label to check the ingredients. If it is made from real ginger, open a bottle and allow it to go flat and warm to room temperature. Pour some into a glass and sip it as needed to relieve your symptoms. Use ginger ale sweetened with sugar; the sugar also may be helpful in settling the stomach and drying up sinuses.
Affectionately known as Jewish penicillin, chicken soup does reduce congestion, lessen body pain and relieve inflammation. Anecdotal evidence indicates that chicken soup may possess anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. The steam rising from the hot soup can clear stuffy sinuses and chest congestion. Certain vegetables such as carrots included in the soup may contain antioxidants and vitamin C that fight infection. Other ingredients such as onions and garlic supply a wealth of cold-fighting substances, according to “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook." That said, the chicken soup should be homemade or made with good ingredients. Canned, boxed and instant soups may not possess the properties helpful in curing a cold.
An old folk remedy worth trying when you have a cold is a saltwater gargle. Salt water soothes a painful, scratchy throat and helps inflamed tissues to dry up. A saltwater or saline nasal spray can also help lubricate dried-out nasal passages and clear the sinuses.
Zinc is an essential mineral for health. Among its properties are the abilities to boost immunity and strengthen the body's systems. If you have a sore throat, suck on a zinc lozenge to relieve the pain and slow down the progression of your illness. If you take a lozenge at the first onset of a sore throat, your immune system may be able to stop the cold from progressing completely. Zinc should only be used during an illness, immediately before full onset of a cold or for a week or so after recuperating. Too much zinc can weaken the immune system, interfering with the absorption of other necessary minerals and nutrients.
- “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing“; James Duke; 2002
- University of Maryland Medical Clinic: Colds and the Flu Treatment
- University of Minnesota Health Topics: Colds and Flu