Tried And True Remedies For Fast Relief
It doesn’t take much for an innocent sniffle to turn into 72 hours of bed-ridden misery. Instead of relying on pharmaceuticals to get you back on your feet, why not give natural remedies this year? This batch of tried-and-true cold and flu busters not only help relieve flu symptoms and shorten the life of your cold, but they can even help prevent you from getting sick in the first place. Keep reading for our favorite holistic therapies—we bet you have a few of these lying around already!
UP YOUR GARLIC INTAKE
It’s no secret this pungent flavor-booster is good for your health—especially thanks to its natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Garlic releases important antibacterial and antiviral compound allicin soon after being crushed, so add a freshly minced clove to salads and sides for a cold-busting boost.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
The secret behind apple cider vinegar’s health boost is a little dose of chemistry. Taking just a few tablespoons of the stuff in some warm water creates an alkaline environment, one in which colds and viruses find hard to thrive. We suggest adding a little honey or lemon to the mixture at the first sign of illness.
There’s nothing coconut oil can’t do; besides being an excellent cooking fat and a superb natural skin moisturizer, coconut oil is one of the most powerful, naturally occurring antivirals. You can thank the fatty acids that make up the majority of the oil, particularly the medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that disassemble and destroy viruses. (Check out more info on the antiviral power of coconut oil in this excellent NaturalNews.com article.)
This may be one of the most ancient remedies on this list, but it’s also one of the most potent. Elderberries are known to boast high levels of vitamin C and antioxidant flavonoids. You can take elderberries in the form of a syrup, lozenge, or elderberry tea, but Sambucol, one of the most widely studied uses of elderberries, uses the extract to fight the flu. One study found Sambucol to be effective in fighting 10 strains of influenza, as well as reduce your time with the flu down to just four days or less.
You’re smart to stay out of the sun for the sake of your skin. But when it comes to your immunity, vitamin D is a key component. In a Harvard study, participants with the lowest vitamin D levels were 36% more likely to suffer from an upper respiratory infection, as opposed to those with the highest levels. Your best nutritional sources are fish and dairy, but even pairing those with regular sun exposure isn’t enough to reach cold-fighting levels—you’ll need a supplement for that.
The cold-fighting power of zinc is a long debated topic in the medical community, mainly because the results have been inconsistent. But in a 2011 Cochrane Collaboration review that examined the results of 13 studies before determining taking zinc within 24 hours of first noticing the signs of a cold could shorten the cold by one whole day while making the whole thing less severe. We do need zinc—it exists as a trace mineral in the human body, but it’s still unclear as to how it helps fight the common cold. Either way, if you’re planning on popping the not-so-tasty zinc lozenges from the pharmacy, be sure to follow the dosage on the box. The study also confirmed side effects such as bad taste, nausea, and loss of smell (if taken as a nasal spray).