By Kelly Kirles, L.Ac.
The common cold is caused by a virus, not a bacteria, therefore antibiotics are not an effective form of treatment. However, herbs have been shown to effectively and safely treat viruses by helping ease major symptoms, enhance the immune system, and encourage the body to recover more quickly.
Listed below are a few natural remedies to help you beat the virus before it takes hold.
- Garlic possesses several antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties so it can be a very useful in the first stage of any cold. It is stronger when taken raw so it is recommended that you chop up a clove and swallow it whole or you can steep two crushed cloves in a cup of hot water and drink it twice a day.
- Apple Cider Vinegar has an alkalizing effect on your body when taken orally. Because colds throw the body into an acidic state, taking a capful of apple cider vinegar 2-3 times a day can be an effective cold remedy. Just make sure to get find the apple cider vinegar that still contains “the mother” in it. Braggs or Eden are two brands that are not pasteurized, filtered, or distilled and contain the mother of vinegar. ACV can also help with sore throats and coughs and can soothe a nauseous stomach (a capful is all you need).
- Honey is a powerful healing agent and it can be very effective in boosting immunity and treating cold symptoms. It can be mixed with equal parts apple cider vinegar, and lemon to use as a cough syrup and to soothe the throat.
- Eucalyptus Oil contains potent bactericides and inhaling the fumes can help knock out infections in the nasal passages, sinuses, bronchial tubes, and lungs. To use, put a few drops of the essential oil into a humidifier or into a pot of boiling water. You could also put 3-4 drops onto a handkerchief and place near your nostrils a few times a day, spray on your pillow at night or mix with some olive oil to rub on the chest or back to break up congestion.
There are other common natural remedies that can help fight a cold including but not limited to: zinc, L-lysine, vitamins C, D & A. . Ask your East Wind acupuncturist for the supplemental dosage sheets for colds and viruses at your next visit.
East Wind also carries a large range of herbal remedies that treat the common cold including swollen glands, fevers, sinus infections, coughs & mild to severe flus. Herbal formulas are more complicated than nutritional supplements in the treatment of colds, and it is imperative to know more specific information (like color of phlegm, fever or chills, sweat or no sweat etc) to ensure the best treatment strategy and quickest outcome. East Wind offers herbal consultations and has classes on treating colds and flus with herbs. Sign up for our newsletter or watch the events page for upcoming classes and workshops.