Monday, February 21, 2011

Natural Remedies for the Cold and Flu

I'm so sorry I haven't been the best blogger lately. I've been out sick with..well, I don't know exactly what it was that I had, but it was bad.
I wanted to do a blog post on natural cures for the cold or flu because when you're sick, you're ready to try anything to feel better! Who on earth likes to be sick?!
I did some research on what's the best for your body and came across some fantastic information from WebMD. Thank goodness for good old WebMD. I took a lot of these things and I can honestly say they did help. I'm so grateful I came across this info, and wanted everyone in on the goodness to help with their sicknesses.

Echinacea is an herbal supplement that can boost immune system activity. But it’s unclear whether this boost helps fight off colds or flu. Some researchers have reported no benefits, but at least one recent study paints a more positive picture. Participants who took echinacea shortened their colds by an average of 1.4 days. Still, experts remain skeptical, and it’s best to check with a doctor before trying this or other herbal remedies.

Some studies show that Zinc appears to have antiviral properties. There is some evidence the mineral may prevent the formation of certain proteins that cold viruses use to reproduce themselves. While zinc does not appear to help prevent colds, some research suggests it may help shorten cold symptom duration. The FDA recommends against using zinc nasal products for colds because of reports of permanent loss of smell.

Vitamin C
The cold-fighting prowess of vitamin C remains uncertain. While vitamin C doesn't seem to prevent colds, some studies suggest it can help shorten the duration of the common cold slightly. In one large study, people recovered from colds more quickly after taking a megadose (8,000 milligrams) on the first day of the cold. But taking more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day may cause kidney stones and diarrhea.

Chicken Soup
Grandma was onto something. Chicken soup may help cold symptoms in more than one way. Inhaling the steam can ease nasal congestion. Sipping spoonfuls of fluid can help avoid dehydration. And some advocates say the soup may soothe inflammation. Researchers have found chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties in the lab, though it’s unclear whether this effect translates to real-world colds.

Hot Tea-for us Mormons, Herbal is a perfect substitute.
Drinking hot tea offers some of the same benefits as chicken soup. Inhaling the steam relieves congestion, while swallowing the fluid soothes the throat and keeps you hydrated. Black and green teas have the added bonus of being loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.

Garlic has long been touted for legendary germ-fighting abilities. While there is not enough research to recommend it as a cold remedy, garlic is very nutritious. In addition, it can help spice up your meals when a stuffy nose makes everything taste bland.

For a heavy dose of steam, use a room humidifier – or simply sit in the bathroom with the door shut and a hot shower running. Breathing in steam can break up congestion in the nasal passages, offering relief from a stuffy or runny nose.

Saline Drops
Dripping saltwater into the nose can remove virus and bacteria particles, while reducing congestion. Try over-the-counter saline drops, or make your own by mixing 8 ounces of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Use a bulb syringe to squirt the mixture into one nostril while holding the other one closed. Repeat 2-3 times and then do the other side.

Neti Pot
For a more systematic nasal rinse, the neti pot is an option. This small ceramic pot is used to flush out the nasal passages with a saltwater solution – a process known as nasal irrigation. The result is thinner mucus that drains more easily. Research suggests neti pots are useful in relieving sinus symptoms, such as congestion, pressure, and facial pain, particularly in patients with chronic sinus troubles.

Menthol Ointment
Days of wiping and blowing your nose can leave the skin around your nostrils sore and irritated. A simple remedy is to dab a menthol-infused ointment under, but not in, the nose. Menthol has mild numbing agents that can relieve the pain of raw skin. As an added benefit, breathing in the medicated vapors that contain menthol or camphor can help open clogged passages and relieve cough due to colds. Use only in children over 2 years of age.

Saltwater Gargle
For a sore throat, the traditional saltwater gargle has merit. Gargling warm water with a teaspoon of salt four times daily can help keep a scratchy throat moist.

Nasal Strips
Another strategy for relieving nighttime congestion is to try over-the-counter nasal strips. These are strips of tape worn on the bridge of the nose to open the nasal passages. While they can’t unclog the nose, they do create more space for airflow.

Let Your Fever Work
A fever is the original natural remedy. The rise in temperature actively fights colds and flu by making your body inhospitable for germs. Endure a moderate fever for a couple of days to get better faster. Just be sure to stay well hydrated. Call your doctor right away if the fever is over 105, unless it comes down quickly with treatment. In infants 3 months or younger call your doctor for any fever greater than 100.4. Children with a fever of less than 102 usually don’t require treatment unless they’re uncomfortable.

Bed Rest
With our busy lives, most of us loathe to spend a day or two under the covers. But getting plenty of rest lets your body direct more energy to fighting off germs. Staying warm is also important, so tuck yourself in and give your immune cells a leg up in their noble battle.

(Source: Webmd, Brunilda Nazario MD)


Lisa said...

I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.

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