It’s safe to say that no one wants to be sick, even with a “just a cold.” Whether it’s staying up all night with a coughing youngster (no fun for the poor child OR for Mommy!), coming down with the flu for Thanksgiving, or sitting on a plane next to someone who is spewing germs and knowing you’re next… we all hate it and dread it!
Wouldn’t it be great to shorten the number of days you’re stuck sneezing, snotting, coughing, nose blowing, etc… or, better yet, just completely dodge the cold virus altogether? Well, Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve to help you either avoid, or lessen the severity of, the common cold this winter.
Echinacea. Echinacea is a great little herb that helps strengthen your immunity and fight off disease. When used correctly, it stimulates white blood cell activity by 20-40%, as well as prevents bacteria from invading healthy cells by inhibiting activity of a specific bacterial enzyme.
Echinacea also stimulates the body’s natural fight against cancer. It is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal as well as anti-inflammatory.
Echinacea promotes the growth of new, healthy tissue. It is used medicinally for a variety of ailments, including yeast infection, herpes, skin infections, boils, acne, sore throat, mouth sores, and chronic fatigue as related to poor immune function.
Echinacea should not be taken every day. It is best to begin a “course” of echinacea, along with Vitamin C and zinc, after being exposed to someone with a cold, or after starting to notice the first signs of a cold coming on. If you are allergic to flowers in the daisy family, then you should not take echinacea.
Cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper has amazing healing benefits to the body. It is high in vitamin C, and the overall effect of its key ingredient, capsaicin, is stimulating and healing – increasing activity to the lymphatic, digestive and metabolic systems. It is known, when taken regularly, to help normalize blood pressure and balance cholesterol levels.
Cayenne can help cure a variety of ailments such as upset stomach, diarrhea and constipation, ulcers, flatulence, nausea, and tonsillitis. You can ingest it in capsule form to help ease flu symptoms – it works just as well as aspirin or acetominophin to reduce fever.
Cayenne is frequently taken along with honey and lemon juice, to heal sore throats and promote mucus production to as to speed the body’s recovery from the cold and flu viruses.
People who are on blood thinning medications such as Coumadin should be cautioned against taking cayenne pepper; as it, too, functions as a blood thinner which prevents clotting.
Vitamin C. This is a vitamin, contained in many fruits and vegetables, that offers myriad healing and disease-preventive effects on the body. A recent study indicated that in order to fully experience the benefits of Vitamin C, daily intake should be much higher than the RDA – in fact, for adults, 500 milligrams may be the key to better health overall.
Vitamin C protects and fortifies the immune system, prevents cardiovascular disease, improves eye health and prevents degeneration of the eyes, and can prevent stroke.
If you feel a cold coming on, it is a great preventive measure to begin taking a minimum of 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily, if you are not already doing so.
The below link is the source for the above information, as well as contains a helpful list of vitamin-C rich foods to consume regularly.
Zinc. The benefits of zinc on the human body are vast. It is critically involved in cell division, as well as a powerful antioxidant and endocrine regulator. Without enough zinc in the body, hormone dysfuction occurs, energy levels plummet and the body begins to age prematurely.
According to the below linked article, “Low zinc will produce an altered sense of taste leading to cravings of saltier, sweeter food. Deficiency can also be indicated by diarrhea, low energy, chronic fatigue, infertility, poor immunity, bad memory, inability to focus, ADD symptoms, slow wound healing, nerve dysfunction, and ringing in the ears.”
Should you take zinc lozenges such as Zicam, to lessen the severity of your cold symptoms and possibly shorten the duration of a cold?
The theory on zinc is that it prevents rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold) from multiplying as well as lodging in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. While zinc as a cold remedy has come under recent scrutiny for people who used it in nasal spray form and claim to have lost their sense of smell, it should be known that zinc lozenges have been on health food store shelves for decades, causing virtually no controversy whatsoever.
If you do try zinc as a cold preventer, know that it’s best to stick to the lozenge form and avoid nasal sprays that contain zinc. Zinc lozenges do leave a lingering, metallic aftertaste in the mouth which competes with the taste of your food. You might try them between meals, also to ensure that the mouth and throat remain coated for enough time to stop the cold germs from multiplying.
Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is by no means intended as medical advice. If you are experiencing health problems or physical discomfort of any kind, please consult with your physician.