Snuffling and sneezing? Coughing and croaking? — me too.
My first line of defence is the traditional spoonful of honey. The natural anti-bacterial properties of unpasteurized honey do a fine job of beating back the cold germs, while soothing a scratchy sore throat. (You can even feel virtuous about it, because there’s increasing scientific evidence that honey may actually fight tooth decay!)
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, there are a host of other natural cold remedies of varying degrees of effectiveness. You might want to try one of these time-honoured treatments:
- Chicken Soup
- Onion juice
- Hot peppers
- Herbs such as sage, marjoram, and thyme
- Hot water
On the evening news recently, a report of a new medical study indicated good results from a product called Cold-FX, made in Canada — I believe they said it was based on North American ginseng root and has been tested on study groups ranging from professional hockey players to seniors.
According to Australian naturopath and homeopath Andrea Putting,
There are many products available in health food stores that can assist your recovery. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and A, along with Zinc, can help reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. These are also very useful as a preventive. Herbs such as Echnicaea, Cat’s claw, and Astralgulis can fight against colds and flu’s and strengthen the immune system.
She also advises that when you are recovering from illness is a good time to change your toothbrush. “Your toothbrush can harbour the germs you have just been fighting off; changing it now can prevent reinfection.”
The most important advice, all medical people seem to agree, is to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
“At the first sign of a cold, start treating it at once. Increase your vitamin and mineral intake, especially the antioxidants, “says Putting. “The sooner you start to treat a cold, the less severe it is likely to become.”
The common cold is a virus, so there’s no point in asking a doctor for a prescription for antibiotics — it won’t do a thing to cure the cold, and may contribute to building up a resistance to the very antibiotics you may need to save your life some day in the future. If a cold really doesn’t show any sign of improvement in a week, however, or if a cough moves down into your chest, do go and get a check-up.
The common cold can be miserable, but it’s not generally serious in an otherwise healthy adult. A nasty cold can, however, lower your body’s natural resistance to illness and turn into something more serious.
So I’m off to bed now with a nice hot toddy: a mug of hot water with a spoonful of natural honey and a good splash of brandy to open up the airways!