Despite best efforts to duck, dodge, or just run away from a common cold, sometimes you still get bitten. At that point, all you want to do is just have it go away. Unfortunately, there’s no cure yet, so all we can do is to treat the symptoms as best we can.
Fortunately, there are some reliable natural remedies to cure a cold fast, that can work as well as medication, but there are some that have little or no medical effect beyond the placebo effect—if you believe it will, it might, but there’s no medical basis for the belief.
Common Cold – Myths and Folklore
First, let’s move the myths and folklore out of the way. Below are a few of the commonly held truisms that aren’t actually true about natural remedies for a common cold:
- Vitamin C: Unless this is taken on a regular, routine basis, vitamin C really has no discernible positive impact except for possibly shortening the duration of a cold by a day or so. Since symptoms don’t appear until approximately three days after being infected by the virus, it’s often too late in the illness cycle for vitamin C to help. The best bet is to ensure you get a full quota of the vitamin each day.
- Zinc: While the mineral zinc does block formation of the protein a cold virus needs to reproduce, the mineral might be only a preventative—not a treatment. Zinc lozenges, a common alleged natural remedy, has no actual effect. Zinc sprays should never be used due to side effects to the nasal passages and sinuses. Zinc gels may have minimal effect, but while several studies have been performed, results either vacillate or results of the late 1990s studies cannot be duplicated either way once a cold hits.
- Echinacea: Again, this herb has slight efficiency as a preventive measure, because it is an immunity booster; once the cold virus causes symptoms to appear, initiating or increasing dosage has no other cause than the placebo effect.
- Chicken Soup: Your taste buds and stomach may love chicken soup when you’re sick, but the only advantage it has medically is to help you stay hydrated, and the warmth may help reduce nasal and sinus inflammation. Beyond that, however, it has no value beyond being comfort food. You can keep that a secret, though.
Remedies to Cure a Cold Fast Naturally
Fortunately, there are some natural remedies and common sense steps you can take to minimize symptoms and shorten the duration of that pesky head cold.
- Gargle: Use a teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle four times daily. The salt helps kill germs. If salt water is unpalatable, use a thick, viscus gargle of honey but never use this for a child under a year old. If honey’s too sweet, gargle with a tea that has tannin which will tighten the membranes in the throat and can soothe soreness.
- Ginger Tea: Ginger tea is high in the tannins mentioned above. It also helps soothe sore throats and upset stomachs.
- Hot, Steamy Showers: The warm air breathed in through the nose helps hydrate the sinus passages, reduces inflammation and clears congestion. If a shower takes too much energy, wet a washcloth with as hot of water as you can handle and place the rag from below your nose to your forehead. Breathe through your nose to bring the warm, moist air into your nasal passages. You’ll soon find sinus headaches and congestion greatly reduced.
- Eucalyptus Oil or Mentholatum: Eucalyptus oil taken as a dietary supplement called cineole in 200mg per day dosages can help reduce inflammation, headaches and congestion. Using a mentholatum ointment under the nose and breathing in the vapor can help as well.
- Sanitation: Immediately throw away used tissues in a sealed container. Wash your hands and face after sneezing, blowing your nose or making contact with high-volume-contact areas such as counters and doorknobs. The cold virus has been found to survive on surfaces longer than previously thought.
The standard recommendations still stand: Get lots of rest and drink lots of fluids, but the above truths in natural remedies can go a long way in making a cold sufferer feel better faster. Get well soon!