Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. The temperature is dropping, it’s getting darker outside, and your throat is starting to feel scratchy – it’s cold season! So by all means, go out and stock up on tissues, but while you’re at it, keep these five simple natural cold remedies in mind the next time you feel your nose start to run.
- Zinc gluconate lozenges
Zinc has been shown to reduce the length of a cold, if you take it within the first 24 hours of feeling sick. But make sure not to take it for longer than 5 days, at it can upset your stomach and cause a bad taste in your mouth if you take it for longer.
- Hot Tea and Soup
Hot liquids can help clear mucus and make it easier for you to breathe. According to research, chicken soup might do a better job of this than other hot liquids. Hot tea, particularly ginger and lemon tea, can soothe sore, scratchy throats.
- Vitamin C
Taking vitamin C may help reduce the severity or length of your cold, but it won’t prevent you from getting one, as is sometimes claimed. It is recommended that cold sufferers take 1 gram of vitamin C multiple times per day, as opposed to the typical daily recommended value of 75-90 milligrams per day.
This Asian herb is said to improve energy and stamina. A 2005 study showed that taking ginseng every day can reduce both the severity and length of a cold, and may even be able to prevent you from getting a cold as well.
- Nasal Rinsing
Some studies have shown that rinsing with a saline nasal wash 6 times a day can relieve cold symptoms. However, other studies indicate that nasal rinsing might eliminate the protective mucus from your nose, and could therefore increase your chances of getting sick. Either way, make sure that you don’t use tap water if you decide to pursue this natural remedy – the FDA warns that you should use distilled sterile water, or boil water or 3-5 minutes and then cool before using. This is to avoid the possibility of developing a brain infection (which is rare, but could happen).
Written by: Ciara McGillivray, Class of 2018
Image: Tim & Stacy Fisher 50/365 The Moment Before a Sneeze