Alternative Treatments for Colds

Cold season is upon us, and if you're looking for an alternative to over-the-counter cold medicines, then try these natural remedies. While not proven to prevent colds, these preparation can relieve some of the misery of cold and fever symptoms:
  • Hit the vitamin C hard – Taking 600 – 1000 mg at the onset of symptoms may curb your cold by several days. Throw in a beta carotene supplement, too. This precursor to vitamin A helps heal infected and inflamed mucus membranes. Take both with food to avoid stomach upset.
  • Load up on zinc – This infection-fighting mineral can cut a cold's duration by up to 4 days. Start by taking a zinc gluconate lozenge every 3-4 hours.
  • Nasal washing – Fill a neti pot with a saline solution, or use a prepared nasal rinse spray. Spray, or pour, the solution into each nostril and let it flow out of the other. This simple move helps clear nasal passages, and curtail the cold virus.
  • Hydrate – A nice warm (not hot) bath or shower will add much-needed moisture to the largest organ of your body – your skin. It will also stimulate your blood and lymph circulation, jump-starting the elimination of toxins. A humidifier is another smart move. Whether it uses cold or warm air, it makes sleeping easier. Change the water daily and clean it frequently.
  • Have some tea – Add echinacea, goldenseal, slippery elm, or black elder teas to your cold care arsenal. Echinacea has antiviral benefits and boosts immunity; goldenseal has antibacterial properties; slippery elm (licorice root and marshmallow root will also work) soothes and coats the throat, reducing inflammation (try Thayers Slippery Elm lozenges); and black elder tea, while primarily antiviral may have antibacterial properties, too. Not a fan of tea? Many of these herbs can be found at health food stores as tinctures which can be mixed with water or juice.