Many people dread the start of cold and flu season, and for good reason. The flu or a severe cold can put you out of commission for days, not to mention suffering a multitude of symptoms.
Many people look towards natural remedies for cold and flu. Traditional over-the-counter medications only mask the symptoms such as headache, sore throat, cough and congestion. They also may cause unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness and dry mouth.
Fortunately, several all-natural remedies are effective and have little to no negative side effects. One of the best cold and flu formulas includes a combination of herbs, vitamins and minerals.
Echinacea, also known as purple coneflower, is a wild flower native to North America with well-documented healing properties. Studies have shown that the active ingredients in the herb help enhance the immune system. It has also been clinically proven to reduce the duration and severity of both the common cold and flu. It is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.
Today echinacea is used to treat all cold and flu symptoms, including sore throat, cough, congestion, headache, earache and fever. It has also been recommended for other types of infections, such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections and athlete’s foot. The recommended dose is three to four cups of herbal tea per day. It is also available in capsules and liquid extract.
Goldenseal is another wild flower that is used in Native American and herbal medicine. It was traditionally used topically to treat wounds and skin infections. However, today it is often combined with echinacea as a natural remedy for cold and flu. It is naturally antibacterial, and when combined with echinacea, it acts as a natural antibiotic.
Studies have determined that goldenseal contains a chemical called berberine that has shown to be effective against a number of bacteria. It also strengthens the immune system by activating white blood cells. It can be used to treat colds and the flu, urinary tract infections, yeast infections and E-coli. It is most commonly found in liquid extract or capsule form.
It should be noted, however, that goldenseal may interact with certain medications, including Digoxin, Tetracycline and prescription blood thinners. Talk to your doctor before taking goldenseal if you are on any of these medications.
Garlic is one of the most powerful and most versatile herbs known to man. It is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibiotic. In World Wars I and II it was used as an alternative to penicillin.
Today garlic is used to treat anything from the common cold to heart disease and cancer. Studies show that it helps dissolve cholesterol in the bloodstream and prevents plaque build-up in the arteries.
It also has been shown to prevent colds when taken on a regular basis during cold and flu season. Additionally, it helps treat symptoms faster once already infected. The recommended dose is 600 to 1,200 mg per day, divided into smaller doses. It can be found in tablet and capsule form.
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is one of the most important nutrients for boosting immune function. It is used in transporting oxygen in the blood and assists in cell metabolism. It is also a natural antioxidant, protecting the body from free radical damage.
Vitamin C is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, but most abundantly in citrus fruits. Adults require a minimum of 75 to 90 mg per day, but therapeutic doses may go as high as 500 to 2,000 mg. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who take vitamin C regularly may experience shorter colds and milder symptoms. Be careful not to take too much vitamin C, however. High doses can cause nausea and diarrhea.
Zinc is a trace mineral used by the body to make proteins. It also helps strengthen the immune system by fighting bacteria and viruses. When taken as part of a regular vitamin regimen, it can help prevent colds and flu. It also helps reduce the duration of illnesses and decrease symptoms such as diarrhea.
It is found naturally in red meat, poultry and seafood. Vegetarians are especially at risk for zinc deficiency. Adults require a minimum of 8 to 11 mg per day to stay healthy. Therapeutic doses are as high as 40 mg daily. Like vitamin C, taking too much zinc may cause nausea and diarrhea, so use with caution.
Colloidal silver is actually tiny silver particles suspended in liquid. To date, there has been little scientific evidence to support its therapeutic use, however, in natural health circles it is often promoted as a natural antibiotic. Prior to the advent of prescription antibiotics, colloidal silver was used to treat a variety of bacterial infections.
Some evidence suggests that it is beneficial not only for bacterial infections, but parasites, fungi and certain viruses. The amount taken depends on the individual’s body weight. Follow label instructions when taking this product.
1. University of Maryland Medical Center – http://www.umm.edu/altmed/
2. National Institutes of Health – http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/#t
3. Colloidal Silver Use – http://colloidalsilveruse.com/