Holistic Cold Remedies

Relieve the misery of a cold with natural holistic treatments.

Holistic medicine is a medical approach that looks at the whole person rather than just at a collection of symptoms when treating illnesses. Although a holistic approach doesn’t mean “no drugs” or “no surgery,” there is a preference for more natural treatments if a safe alternative exists. This philosophy can be a good option for treating illnesses such as the common cold, where there is no known cure.

Common Herbs

There are a number of herbs commonly used in holistic cold remedies. One that has received widespread publicity is echinacea, which appears to boost the immune system and shorten the duration of a cold. Test subjects that took dosage of 900mg daily of echinacea purpurea, one of the three varieties of echinacea, reported relief in the severity of cold symptoms within days. Andrographis, a shrub found in India and Asia, is sometimes called “Indian echinacea” because it provides similar benefits.

Ginseng, especially Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is believed to act as an immune booster, helping to prevent colds. Ginger has also been studied and found to contain several chemicals that may be beneficial against rhinoviruses, the most common cold virus. Garlic, onion and anise are all traditionally used, as is goldenseal and mallow.

Vitamins and Minerals

There are also minerals believed to help relieve the discomfort of the common cold. Zinc is said to increase white blood cells, boosting the immune system and shortening colds. There are also scientists who believe that large doses of vitamin C have the same effect, and recommend up to 2000mg a day for children, and 1000 to 3000mg an hour for adults. Be aware that extremely high doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea.

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Colloidal silver is sometimes recommended for treating sore throats. Silver was used for many years in medical treatments and was the main antibacterial substance used before antibiotics were discovered. Consult with a health care provider before using colloidal silver. It can have serious side effects, including a condition called argyria, which causes the body to turn bluish-silver, and the condition is not reversible.

Homemade Remedies

Ginger tea soothes a sore throat and helps relieve chest and nasal congestion. Combine a 1 in. section of grated or thinly sliced fresh ginger root, one half a thinly sliced fresh lemon and one mashed clove of garlic with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain into a mug and add 1 to 2 tbsp. of honey.

An herbal fever remedy can be made from 1 oz. of dried elder flowers, 1 oz. of dried peppermint leaves, and 2 cups of boiling distilled water. Place the herbs into a heat-safe saucepan and pour the boiling water over them. Cover and allow to steep in a hot place for about 15 minutes. Strain before using. The fever remedy may be sweetened with honey.

The Royal Herbal Tea mixture can be made ahead of time, and the tea steeped as needed to treat severe cold symptoms. Combine equal amounts of dried pennyroyal, dried catnip, dried horehound, dried spearmint, dried sage, dried verbena and dried white yarrow. When needed, pour 2 cups of boiling water over 2 to 3 tbsp. of the herbs, then cover and let stand 10 minutes. Strain, and sweeten with honey if desired. Drink one cup of tea every two to three hours, or more often if sweating is desired.

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