3 Natural Cold Remedies That Work
Posted byAimee McNew, MNT
Cold and flu season can be a real downer, but with these proven cold remedies, you can be prepared for the worst. Herbal and natural remedies may still be a gray area for many, but scientists have found that these three cold-fighting supplements have some promise.
1. Andrographis. Andrographis is an herb that, when taken orally, can help to prevent or treat the common cold. In traditional Chinese medicine, andrographis is believed to release toxins from the body and banish heat and fevers, according to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease.1
Andrographis is most effective when taken at the first sign of a cold, and continued for three to five days or until symptoms disappear. The Alternative Medicine Review reports that a Thai study revealed andrographis “significantly decreased the intensity of the symptoms of tiredness, sleeplessness, sore throat, and nasal secretion, starting from the second day of treatment.”2 While andrographis is safe for adults and children alike, it is not safe in pregnancy and should be avoided by women who are or suspect they could be pregnant.
Andrographis is often combined with Siberian ginseng in supplements, because the two together seem to pack an even more potent cold-fighting punch, says the National Institutes of Health.3
2. Echinacea. A well-known cold remedy, echinacea is an herb that has, in the past, had mixed reviews from experts as to whether it definitively prevents or decreases the duration of the common cold. A study published by Holistic Nursing Practice shows that the herb may decrease the number and duration of colds over an extended period. Echinacea may also reduce the severity of cold symptoms.4
Echinacea can be used in children ages 2 and older, but should be avoided by pregnant women since there is insufficient information about how echinacea may interact with the fetus.
3. Probiotics. Gut health has been the subject of much research and discussion in recent years. Probiotics, or the “good” bacteria that inhabit the small intestine, have numerous positive health benefits for overall health and immunity, including preventing pesky colds, according to Mayo Clinic.5 Dozens of strains of probiotics exist, but the best supplement will contain a variety of strains, also known as broad spectrum. Probiotics are safe for infants and pregnant women and come in formulations that are age-appropriate. Look for probiotics that are refrigerated, because they generally have the best potency.
In addition to proven cold remedies, keep in mind that it’s always important to stay hydrated, eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. No amount of herbal remedies will work if your body isn’t supported in all areas.
Final thought: Always consult with your doctor before you begin any natural supplement regimen. If you’re given the all-clear, these supplemental cold remedies may help keep you in tip-top shape and get you back on your feet when you’re feeling under the weather.
1Okhuarobo, Agbonlahor, Joyce E. Falodun, Osayemwenre Erharuyi, Vincent Imieje, Abiodun Falodun, and Peter Langer. “Harnessing the Medicinal Properties of Andrographis Paniculata for Diseases and Beyond: A Review of Its Phytochemistry and Pharmacology.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease 4, no. 3 (June 2014): 213-22. Accessed December 8, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032030/.
2Akbar, Shahid, MD, PhD. “Andrographis Paniculata: A Review of Pharmacological Activities and Clinical E!ects.” Alternative Medicine Review 16, no. 1 (2011). Accessed December 8, 2016. http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/32141367/Andrographis_paniculata.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1481147422&Signature=BlJRNkkAlWKYODKtO9/W7a9ZCFQ=&response-content-disposition=inline; filename=Andrographis_paniculata.pdf.
3“Ginseng, Siberian.” National Institutes of Health. February 14, 2015. Accessed December 08, 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/985.html.
4Ross, S. M. “Echinacea Purpurea: A Proprietary Extract of Echinacea Purpurea Is Shown to Be Safe and Effective in the Prevention of the Common Cold.” Holistic Nursing Practice 30, no. 1 (January/February 2016). Accessed December 8, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26633727.
5Zeratsky, Katherine, R.D., L.D. “Do I Need to Include Probiotics and Prebiotics in My Diet?” Mayo Clinic. October 15, 2014. Accessed December 08, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065.
- Posted by Aimee McNew, MNT
- On January 9, 2017