The number-one, all-time most effective medicine for colds and flus is an ounce of prevention:
- a nutritious diet
- plenty of clean water
- enough sleep, and
- relaxed time spent with loved ones.
However, since these simple guidelines are easier described than adhered to, here are some natural helpers for fending off and alleviating colds and flus.
One of the most important keys to warding off a cold or flu is to start treating it early, at the first signs. If you wait until you have full-blown symptoms and feel miserable, the medicines only alleviate the symptoms somewhat.
Once a flu is in progress, see it as an opportunity for the immune system to build resistance and create some immunity for the next time that strain of flu comes around. Rest, stay warm and drink plenty of fluids.
The Chinese have dozens of tried and true herbal remedies they have used for thousands of years. Two of the most popular Chinese cold prevention remedies are Yin Chiao and Zong Gan Ling. The Chinese use Yin Chiao for prevention, at the first sign of a cold or flu, and they use Zong Gan Ling to reduce the symptoms of colds and flus and shorten their duration.
Many people respond well to homeopathic medicines. The best known and most widely available is Oscillococcinum, which can often be found in your local pharmacy. Taken every 4 hours at the first signs of a flu, it can keep those germs at bay. It comes in small plastic vials which can easily be carried in a purse or briefcase.
Taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, echinacea can help boost the immune system. Many herbalists like to combine echinacea with goldenseal and astragalus. If you feel worse after taking these herbs or any others, stop taking them, as you may be allergic to them. Those with seasonal allergies are more likely to be allergic to echinacea.
Studies have shown that 100 mg a day of ginseng extract can significantly cut your chances of catching a cold or flu bug.
If you feel like you’re coming down with a cold, you can take 2,000 mg a day of vitamin C. The esterfied C type works best for a sensitive stomach. Along with its antioxidant activity, the vitamin C can lower your histamine level, giving you relief from sinus congestion, watery eyes, sniffling, and sneezing.
Alternative health professionals have been telling us for at least a decade to suck on zinc and vitamin C lozenges to shorten the duration of a cold, and finally a scientific study has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirming this. Of 100 cold sufferers, half were given lozenges with zinc and half without. The zinc group got better in an average of four days, while the non-zinc group got better in an average of seven days. If anyone tries to tell you that only one special type of zinc works, you can be assured that this is hogwash. Any type of zinc chelate will work just fine. Look for a zinc lozenge that contains at least 5 mg of zinc, and follow directions on the container.