Natural Remedies For Cold And Flu

January 18, 2021

Natural Cures. What works and what doesn’t.
Virtually everyone struggles with colds and flu at some point in time. The average adult gets the common cold (symptoms such as a sore throat, cough and mild fever) two to four times a year. Another 15 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. Because these illnesses are caused by viruses, they can’t be stopped completely. But you can relieve your symptoms. Since these are common illnesses, there is no shortage of remedies designed to alleviate them.

The big question is – which natural remedies work and which are a waste of time? Our medical experts review many popular home remedies, from zinc and garlic to echinacea and salt water, and they provide useful, factual information you can use to keep yourself and your family healthy.

Does Echinacea work?
In the United States, the herbal supplement Echinacea has been surging in popularity. In 2009 alone, American consumers purchased $132 million worth of the stuff. It’s often touted as a natural health supplement that is thought to reduce the duration of respiratory infections and ease their symptoms. But does it really work?

Echinacea is a traditional medicine used by some Native American tribes to treat a variety of ailments, including scarlet fever and syphilis. According to archaeological evidence, the herb has been used in this way for over 400 years. In the 19th century, a dubious salesman named H.C.F. Meyer began claiming that the herb could cure any ailment, including cancer.In the early 20th century, its popularity declined in the U.S., but rose sharply in Germany, where most clinical trials are still being conducted today.

Overall, the results of echinacea trials that attempted to validate it as a cold remedy were dismal. These trials suffered from weak analysis, with many of the best controlled and strongest studies showing negative results. In addition, this supplement may interact with ongoing medication, which means its use should be discussed with your doctor. The National Institutes of Health warns that echinacea appears to increase the risk of allergic rashes in children in a large trial.

Does zinc work?
Zinc is another popular, natural remedy for colds and flu.In 2014, U.S. consumers spent about $108 million on zinc supplements. But there’s real reason to be cautious when it comes to zinc.

A British study found that high doses of zinc supplements may shorten a cold by nearly three days. While other studies haven’t been able to produce the same results, this does sound impressive. Furthermore, at least under laboratory conditions, zinc appears to have an antiviral effect.

But before you rush out to buy zinc at the start of your next cold, consider some of the potential drawbacks of consuming high doses of zinc. Zinc comes in two basic forms. It can either be taken orally in a form such as a lozenge, syrup, or tablet, or it can be taken in a nasal swab (intranasal zinc). The intranasal form is usually discouraged because of a terrible side effect – it can cause you to lose your sense of smell, possibly permanently. The Food and Drug Administration outlawed several zinc nasal products after 130 consumers reported losing their sense of smell after use.

There are other potential drawbacks to zinc when taken orally. Too much zinc can lead to copper deficiency, reduce HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood, increase the risk of prostate cancer, and interact with other drugs in potentially dangerous ways. Perhaps most dangerously, some oral zinc products contain cadmium, which can cause kidney failure in high doses.

Can vitamins prevent colds?
When it comes to upper respiratory tract infections, can vitamins do the trick? It may depend on what you are taking.

Two vitamins have been at the forefront of possible cold and flu blockers. Vitamin C and Vitamin D have been studied as potential preventative treatments for these diseases. Both seem to be effective in some ways. Whether they improve the immune system’s ability to fight disease is still being studied, but here’s what we know so far.

Vitamin C.
On the surface, vitamin C has many advantages. It is an essential nutrient that can be found in many of the foods we eat on a regular basis. These foods include oranges, red bell peppers, kale and broccoli. It is found in orange juice, which is also a milder form of food that can treat digestive distress.

Research on this nutrient as a treatment for respiratory infections has split along two lines. One line of research attempts to understand whether taking high doses on a regular basis can prevent colds. The second line of research sought to answer whether taking high doses during respiratory infections could reduce the duration of illness.

On the first question – whether high daily doses can prevent colds – the conclusion reached was no. There seems to be no conclusive, scientific evidence that this nutrient can prevent colds. One possible exception is in those who experience brief periods of strenuous exercise or cold environments – they may benefit from regular, high doses.

On the second question – whether high doses shorten the duration of the illness – the jury is still out, but the available evidence suggests it may have some benefit.

Different people seem to respond differently. For some people, 1000 mg seems to help. For others, 2000 mg is needed. Be aware: at these high doses, some people experience diarrhea and nausea.

Vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplements have been tested to find out if they can prevent colds and flu. Three large trials have come to conflicting conclusions.

In the first trial, scientists at the University of Otago in New Zealand followed 322 otherwise healthy adults for a year and a half. The study found that people who took the supplements got sick about as often as those who didn’t. A second trial of more than 2,000 adults aged 45-75 also found no significant effect of taking the supplements.

However, a third trial conducted by scientists at McMaster University found more promising results for people who took supplements. In this study, 600 students were tested. Some were given vitamin D, while others were not. Students who were given the extra nutrient were significantly less likely to develop upper respiratory tract infections.

You need to work a little harder to find natural food sources for your “daily D,” although some foods are fortified with this nutrient, making it easier to get it into your diet. Fortified foods include milk and some orange juice. Natural sources include fatty fish like mackerel and tuna, with particularly high levels of swordfish and salmon. Unfortunately, these fish can also contain high levels of mercury.

Does chicken soup work?
For many people, chicken soup is a comforting way to wait out illness. But research shows that chicken soup has some potential health benefits beyond mere comfort. When chicken broth is hot, the steam can help open the nasal passages and relieve nasal congestion. Sipping the nutrient-rich broth can keep you energized and avoid dehydration. In addition, lab results have shown that chicken broth can reduce inflammation. However, its anti-inflammatory properties have yet to be proven in human trials.

Does hot tea work?
Have you ever tried putting a pot of tea on when you’re feeling uncomfortable? The benefits of tea are quite similar to those of chicken soup, and in both cases, the steam from the tea can unclog clogged nasal passages. Swallowing the hot liquid can soothe a sore throat, as well as an annoying cough and hydrate. The antioxidants in black and green teas may also assist in fighting disease.

Does Hot Toddy work?
This classic cocktail has been used for generations to get to sleep quickly when you’re sick. It may work – drink it in moderation. The Hot Toddy is usually made with hot tea, lemon, a teaspoon of honey and a shot of whiskey or bourbon. In addition to chicken broth and hot tea, hot toddy can reduce congestion and soothe sore throats and coughs. It can also make you sleepy, but be careful here – too much alcohol can actually impair your quality of sleep.

Does garlic work?
Although many people think garlic is delicious, more research is needed on its effectiveness as a cold treatment. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is not enough evidence to determine if garlic can help prevent these viral illnesses or relieve their symptoms. Some people may find garlic supplements unpleasant because of their tendency to cause bad breath, body odor and other side effects. However, anyone who takes blood thinners should be especially careful. Garlic can interact with anticoagulant medications, which means that anyone taking these medications should discuss garlic use with their doctor first.

Do humidifiers and steam work?
This one is a win for your health. The steam can get into blocked nasal passages, relieving congestion and dry, irritated sinuses. For a room-wide solution, try using a humidifier. Older humidifiers can cause dangerous burns to those who get too close, but more modern models have cool steam to relieve sinuses and are safer.

Do saline drops work?
Saline drops and sprays are an effective way to relieve potentially painful sinus congestion. You can purchase them at the drugstore or make them at home. To make your own saline drops, mix eight ounces of warm water with ? teaspoon of salt and ? teaspoon of baking soda. Squirt the mixture into your nostrils, using a bulb syringe, while closing the other nostril. To get the most out of this treatment, repeat two to three times before moving to the other nostril.

Does the neti pot work?
A nasal purge is a form of nasal irrigation that uses a small ceramic jar to rinse the sinuses with water and salt. To get the best health results from one, try the same salt solution as described in the previous section on salt drops. You will notice that your mucus thins out and drains faster. This is also beneficial for facial pain, pressure and congestion caused by chronic sinus problems. Read the instructions; do not use tap water, which is contaminated with the amoeba (Naegleria fowleri) that causes death.

Does the peppermint cream work?
Menthol is an extract of peppermint. It is responsible for the cool feeling found in peppermint, and when it is used as an ointment, it can help relieve the symptoms that often accompany the flu and common cold. First of all, menthol is a good decongestant. It dilutes congested mucus and also makes coughs more productive by helping to break down phlegm. Menthol is also useful for relieving sore throats and dry coughs. Infants should not be exposed to menthol or peppermint, and peppermint oil should not be taken orally.

Does it work to rinse your mouth?
Gargling not only relieves the symptoms of a cold, but it also prevents these illnesses in the first place.

One of the most unpleasant cold symptoms is a sore throat. Fortunately, you don’t need anything but salt and water to treat a sore throat. Just mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Rinse your mouth with the mixture and then spit it out. This combination works simply and quickly and is recommended for people over the age of 8.

According to a study, preventing colds and flu viruses may be even simpler. Researchers followed up with 387 healthy Japanese adults. Some test subjects rinsed their mouths with plain water, others used water and disinfectant, and a third group did not rinse their mouths at all.After 60 days, those who used water alone were significantly less likely to contract upper respiratory infections. Why using water alone was more effective is unclear, but the study authors note that water in Japan is commonly chlorinated, which may help explain this.

Do nose patches work?
Sometimes, when your immune system is battling a virus, a stuffy nose can prevent you from getting the sleep you need. If this is the case, you may want to consider using a nasal strip. A nasal strip is basically a piece of tape placed on the bridge of your nose. The idea is to open up the nasal cavity and make breathing through a nasal congestion somewhat easier. They may not be able to unclog the nasal passages on their own, but nasal strips do make it easier to breathe.

Does the fever help?
It seems like an odd question that you might ask yourself: “How can the symptoms of a viral infection also be a treatment?” But the truth is that a fever is the body’s natural treatment for colds and flu.

When your body temperature rises, it’s a less comfortable environment for bacteria to live in. A fever makes it harder for germs to proliferate, which can make it easier for your body to fight off illness sooner.

On the other hand, when it gets too high, it makes sense to lower your fever. Also, if you’re not careful, a fever can make you dehydrated. If your fever spikes past 104 degrees, be sure to contact your doctor right away – unless treatment brings it down soon after. Children should be taken to the doctor if their temperature climbs above 102. infants under 3 months of age should be taken to the doctor if their temperature rises above 100.4; for infants under 2 months of age, such a fever can be considered an emergency, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Does bed rest work?
We often hear that bed rest is best when you’re sick. But there’s no evidence that it makes you recover faster from a cold or flu. While rest is sometimes needed to control the symptoms of a viral illness, such as fatigue, bed rest may not do much to actually stop the illness.

On the other hand, regular exercise has been shown to reduce the frequency of colds. This is especially true for women who have gone through menopause. Those who exercise regularly also have less severe colds, and their blood tests show less inflammation and lower levels of viruses.