Natural remedies to help fight off a cold

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When fighting a cold we don’t want to be a slave to the medicine cabinet. Try these alternative remedies to help you fight off the common cold – naturally.

Chicken soup
Alongside the fact that it’s so tasty, a hot chicken soup with a good mix of vegetables and chicken broth can soothe a sore throat, replenish lost fluids, and help to clear the congestion associated with a blocked nose.

Garlic is nutrient-packed, boosts the immune system, and one study suggests that daily supplements may lower your chance of catching a cold. It’s also low on calories and rich in vitamin C.

Salt water gargle
Salt is a natural disinfectant, acting to kill and flush out germs as well as ease swelling in the throat. Mix a teaspoon of table salt into a glass of warm water and gargle over a sink. It may not taste great but the results will be worth it.

Who else was told to have a hot shower to clear the chest and nose when they were growing up? Well, the science backs the method up as steam helps to clear congestion. However, if running up a water bill isn’t on the agenda for you, try filling a bowl with hot water and leaning over it to breath in the steam. Adding essential oils, such as peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary, can make the experience both soothing and beneficial.

Vitamin C
While the benefits of vitamin C may come as a surprise to no-one, its powers can’t be underestimated. Multiple studies have shown that vitamin C reduces your chance of getting a cold, shortens the duration of your illness and is particularly effective on people who suffer from stress.

A good way of avoiding the health hazards of cough syrup, honey has been proven to improve both day and night time cough symptoms in children.

Zinc lozenges
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and other studies have endorsed the use of zinc to help treat the symptoms of the common cold. A dosage of 30mg or as directed by the label is recommended as soon as cold symptoms are first experienced.

Free the fever
While we tend to try and cool ourselves down when we’re burning up with a fever, it might be best to rest and let it do its job. A fever is a sign that your body is trying to increase to kill off germs. But you should seek medical advice if your temperature exceeds 39°C.

Classic honey and lemon tea soothes a sore throat and offers a dose of vitamin C, while black and green tea contain a number of antioxidants that can similarly help to fight off a cold.

Proven to reduce the length and severity of colds and help defend the body against the flu virus, elderberry can be taken either in supplement form from a pharmacy or bought as a dried infusion from a health food store.

Read, relax and rest
Make sure your body has enough energy to focus on fighting off the cold. If you have an exercise routine or a particularly active lifestyle, consider cutting down on active time to allow yourself to rest. If there’s been a book or TV series you’ve been meaning to get into, this is the perfect opportunity.

Do you use any of these natural cold remedies? Which remedies did we miss?


Stave off colds and flu

A healthy immune system is key to staving off colds and flu.

Can you tell the difference between a cold and the flu?

If you have the dreaded flu lurgy, you could be out of action for at least a fortnight.

Can green tea prevent a cold?

If you are prone to winter coughs and colds, this will come as good news.

Written by Liv Gardiner


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