Let’s admit…no one likes being sick. So, when it comes to treating a cold, there are way too many cold medicines at the drugstore that are filled with potentially harmful ingredients. Have no fear…enter natural cold remedies to get us feeling better again quickly—and no, I’m not talking about vitamin C!
While most people reach for vitamin C when the sniffles come on, extensive research shows us that it doesn’t actually shorten the length or decrease the severity of a cold. It’s certainly useful for supporting the immune system to prevent a cold, but once you have one, it won’t be much help.
Additionally, keep in mind that the common cold is a virus, not a bacterial infection, so it can’t be treated effectively with antibiotics. Instead, when you’re starting to feel under the weather, try one of these natural remedies to shorten your cold’s duration and severity:
1. Eat Zinc-Rich Foods
Zinc is presently believed to be the most effective remedy against the common cold. Studies show that adequate zinc consumption not only prevents the onset of colds and flu, but also decreases the duration of them by a day or more, if taken at the onset of symptoms.
While zinc is found in many foods, those who avoid meat, in particular, can be at risk for a zinc deficiency. The recommended daily intake (RDI) is 15 mg/day.
Foods with high zinc content are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, cashews, black beans, spinach, cocoa, and shiitake mushrooms, as well as oysters, crab, and other seafood.
2. Sprinkle on Turmeric
Turmeric is one of my absolute favorite spices. It is really the superhero in your spice cabinet, as more and more research shows us there is not much this baby can’t do.
Regardless of how you’re feeling, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting properties make it a spice to sprinkle on your food daily. When you’re under the weather, though, its healing powers shine even brighter, since the anti-viral properties of turmeric help your immune system fight colds off effectively.
Turmeric pairs well with black pepper and cumin, and can be used in a variety of dishes, from veggie stir-frys to grains to salads.
3. Add in Ginger
Studies have found that fresh ginger effectively fights respiratory viruses. The same results were not found in powdered form, so be sure to use ginger in fresh form, whether you’re cooking or making tea. You can prepare a simple tea by steeping a few slices of fresh ginger in hot water for about 10 minutes.
4. Try Elderberry Extract
Black elderberry juice has been shown to inhibit the growth of influenza viruses and shorten the duration of symptoms, while enhancing antibody levels against the virus. It also works to reduce congestion and swelling in the sinuses.
Elderberry is available as a liquid, syrup, or tincture, as well as in lozenge and capsule form.
A few other natural cold remedies, in my personal investigative research opinion, include oil of oregano and coconut oil, both of which contain anti-viral properties. So, while not widely studied, in theory, they should help your body fight the cold virus more effectively. Plus, they both boast loads of other health benefits, so it can’t hurt to try!
What are some of your favorite natural cold remedies? Share in the comments below.
Adapted from Maria Marlowe