12 Holistic Remedies for the Common Cold
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Treating the common cold holistically may expedite recovery.
The common cold is just that: common. It's often the body's way of getting one to slow down, take a break, and relax for a bit. While most of the time it will go away on its own, there are many all-natural remedies to ease symptoms so that it’s easier to breathe, coughs become lighter and less frequent, and overall, the sufferer feels less miserable. What's more is that natural or holistic remedies for the common cold are often less expensive than over-the-counter medicine. Many of the "side effects" from these holistic remedies are positive.
Rest is definitely on the list of remedies for those suffering from the common cold. This can entail taking the day off of work and getting a massage. Basically, having a common cold is the perfect excuse to do nothing without feeling guilty about it. Resting will allow the immune system to pool the body's energy for healing and strengthening. Also, those who get plenty of rest when suffering from the common cold usually recover more quickly.
Sipping or gargling apple cider vinegar tea three of four times a day will also help with quick recovery from a cold. The amount of water added to each cup can be modified based on the preferences of the individual.
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- Lemon juice according to preference
- Preferred amount of hot water
The ingredients are all mixed together in a cup, and then the drink is sipped or gargled.
Makes 1 serving
Drinking 2 or three cups of ginger tea a day will help strengthen the immune system, clear up congestion, soothe a sore throat, and reduce inflammation. Make your own ginger tea or you can purchase ginger tea in bags or as loose tea.
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 cup hot water
- honey if desired
The grated ginger is placed in a cup and the hot water is poured over it. If desired, honey can be added to taste. This tea can be sipped at leisure.
Makes 1 serving
For the brave of heart, there are ginger gulps. Taken right when it feels like a cold is coming, this will definitely nip it in the bud. Follow this recipe.
All of the ingredients should be put in a glass and gulped down. This mix can also be added to 1/4 cup of orange juice or another favorite juice to make it easier to drink.
A neti pot can be used to clear nasal passages and relieve sinus symptoms. A neti pot looks like a small peculiarly shaped teapot, and it's used to clear sinuses of mucus and congestion.
- Sterilized water brought to a boil and then allowed to reach a warm temperature
- Salt or saline solution
A teaspoon of salt or a packet of saline solution is placed in the neti pot, and sterile, not distilled, warm water is poured over it. Once the salt is dissolved, the lid is placed on the pot. The user then tilts his or her head to one side, and the spout is inserted into the top nostril while leaning over a sink. The salt water will flow into the nasal passages where it will kill bacteria, flush out the nasal passages, loosen and wash out mucus, and then flow out the other nostril ultimately relieving sinus symptoms. This is done every morning and night for as many days as required. The water can be tested on the inside of the arm before use to make sure it’s not too hot.
The neti pot, lid, and any other components should be cleaned after each use either in the top rack of a dishwasher or by hand with dish soap and a dishcloth. If cleaning by hand, then the final rinse should be done thoroughly with hot boiled water or distilled water.
Eucalyptus oil is used to clear a stuffy nose and make it easier to breathe when suffering from the common cold. A few drops of eucalyptus oil are put on opposite sides of the shower stall or into a bathtub of warm water before taking a hot shower or bath. Four to five drops of eucalyptus oil are placed in a large bowl and boiling water is poured into it. The bowl is then placed on a firm flat surface, and the patient leans over it with a towel or blanket draped over his or her head and the bowl for 5 to 10 minutes. These treatments can be done twice a day. Those with liver problems should avoid eucalyptus.
Locally sourced raw honey boosts the immune system, softens coughs, and soothes sore throats with its antioxidants and antibacterial and antiviral properties. Having 1 to 2 tablespoons in a cup of warm water, lemon water, or a favorite tea is all that's needed to feel the benefits. Please note that babies under the age of 1 shouldn't have honey.
It may seem comforting to have sweet things when sick, but the body requires a lot of energy to process sugar, thus weakening the immune system. Unless it's honey-sweetened or just a little bit, then it's recommended to forego the sweet stuff. Cough drops usually have a minimal amount of sugar, and other hard candies, ice cream, popsicles, jellies, and puddings can be soothing to those suffering from a sore throat, but it's best to keep in mind that too much sugar will do more harm than good.
It's beneficial to follow a healthy diet when suffering from the common cold. Eating light and avoiding gluten, sugar, and dairy will give the immune system the energy it needs to heal the body. The best foods for those with a cold are fresh fruits, vegetables, sugar-free juices, and chicken soup. This type of diet may also reduce inflammation in the lungs.
Vitamin C can help heal colds too. If taking it as a supplement, then the recommended daily amount is 500 to 1000 milligrams for kids and 2 to 4 grams for adults. These amounts should be broken up into a few doses and taken throughout the day. Other great sources of vitamin C are fruits that are locally sourced and in-season, such as oranges, and juices. A couple of vitamin C supplements to consider are pure elderberry syrup and acerola.
Some extracts can work wonders if taken right when it feels like one is coming down with a cold. Recommended extracts are Echinacea extract, goldenseal extract, and cayenne extract. A drop under the tongue a couple of times a day should give instant results and ward off a cold.
Vitamin D has been proven to seriously reduce symptoms of the common cold or stop it in its tracks completely. Natural vitamin D is obtainable by getting plenty of sunshine but may not be obtainable from milk if dairy is being avoided to minimize cold symptoms. A vitamin D3 supplement taken according to the suggested dosage has been proven to nip a flu in the bud or reduce its symptoms considerably. There are even Vegan Vitamin D supplements that are available.
Lemon oil can chase away a cold, too. This is the oil that is extracted from the rind of the fruit. Adding a drop to 2 liters of water and sipping it throughout the day makes drinking plain water much more fun and fights off a cold in the process by cleansing the body and remedying a sore throat. Two drops can also be added to a diffuser to assist with easy breathing.
It seems like no list of holistic remedies for colds would be complete without mentioning peppermint oil. A drop can be added to a little bit of coconut or almond oil in the palm of the hand and massaged into the chest and soles of the feet in the morning before getting dressed or before tucking in at night to enjoy easy breathing and an energized feeling.