The common cold lasts up to two weeks, and may be caused by nearly 100 different viruses, according to MayoClinic.com. Two food items commonly used to treat cold symptoms include cayenne pepper and lemon. Used together or alone, these may decrease symptoms such as congestion, sore throat and fever. If your cold lasts more than two weeks, seek medical treatment by your physician.
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Cayenne Pepper Benefits
A common symptom of a cold is fever. Cayenne pepper may relieve fever and lower your body temperature by stimulating sweat glands. A key ingredient in the cayenne pepper is capsaicin. As the active component of cayenne pepper, capsaicin stimulates the cooling portion of the brain known as the hypothalamus, according to "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods," by Michael Murray, N.D. The spice also stimulates the mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses, states Murray. Congestion may decrease because mucous thins and liquefies when you consume cayenne pepper.
Lemon Cold Benefits
Lemons and limes are naturally high in vitamin C. There is some controversy about the effect of vitamin C and the immune system, but increasing your intake during a cold isn't harmful. MayoClinic.com reports that taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may reduce the duration of a cold. According to "The World's Healthiest Foods," by George Mateljan, 1/4 cup of lemon juice contains 46.8 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. Lemons may also be used to ease sore throat pain, a common cold symptom.
Uses and Recipes
Increase the use of cayenne pepper when cooking. Common foods to sprinkle dried powder on include soups, stews and dressings. Add a pinch of cayenne to chicken noodle soup. Chicken noodle soup has anti-inflammatory properties and also decreases mucous. A sprinkle of cayenne will simply add to the soup's health benefits. Warm water and a squeeze of fresh lemon, decrease congestion and hydrate your body, according to MayoClinic.com. Add a pinch of cayenne to the mix for additional relief.
Additional Cold Remedies
Besides cayenne pepper and lemon, other simple ingredients in your kitchen may relieve your cold symptoms. A spoonful of honey may decrease coughing and throat irritation. Never give honey to children under the age of one. MayoClinic.com advises that simply increasing fluids and resting will also aid you in recovering from illness.