Home remedies to soothe a common cold
Whilst scientists continue to work on a cure for the common cold, which is expected in approximately 10 years apparently, it is time to do some self-help in the meantime.
There is no denying that colds make you feel grotty, but despite only wanting to crawl under the covers, you are expected to carry on regardless.
So, in order to help you cope through these hard times, we have put together some of the best home remedies, so you can start feeling human again.
Honey, Lemon and Cinnamon
This is quite a classic mixture and one that has long been used to help soothe the symptoms of a cold. This has many benefits. You can mix it into some hot water, which can help ease a sore throat, plus if you have a hot drink when you have a nasty cold can also be rather comforting.
The lemon will have antibacterial qualities, so it will help kill the nasty bacteria that manifests when you have a cold, and the honey will be really good at coating the throat, not only helping to ease a sore throat, but also help to soothe a cough.
Research has also shown that children who consumed half a tablespoon of honey before bed not only slept more soundly but coughed less than those who consumed a placebo medicine. It should be noted though that honey should not be given to children under one year of age.
To make a simple syrup, which can be taken by itself or mixed into some warm water, all you have to do is simply add half a spoonful of honey, and a few drops of lemon, along with a pinch of cinnamon. For full effect, this syrup should be taken twice a day in order to relieve the symptoms and help with a common cold.
Although it is such a cliché, there is a good reason that people offer chicken soup when you are unwell. Not only is it incredibly comforting to curl up in a blanket when you are feeling sorry for yourself and devour a huge bowl of soup, it can actually be beneficial as well.
Research has found that chicken soup with vegetables, whether it is homemade, or from the supermarket can actually slow the movement of neutrophils in your body, which are a very common type of white blood cell, that protect your body from infection. Although having them move slowly does not necessarily sound like a good thing, it allows them to actually stay more concentrated in the areas of your body that need healing.
It was discovered that chicken soup, in particular, was very effective at reducing the symptoms of upper respiratory infections.
As long as you are consuming soups with a low sodium level, they carry a lot of nutritional value which is fantastic when you have a cold, not to mention helping to keep you hydrated. To be honest, why wait until you have a cold to start on the soup; it’s a great option for anyone.
It is often easier said than done when you are full of a cold, but having a good sleep can really work wonders. Try not to stay laying on the sofa for too long, so that you actually have less sleep than normal, as this will only make your immune system weaker, making it harder to fight off nasty germs.
Listen to your body, and try and get early nights. Take the opportunity to have naps during the day as well. If you are struggling to sleep because of congestion, try using an extra pillow to help raise your head. This will put less pressure on your sinuses thus helping you to breathe more easily, and sleep better.
This one might leave you a little smelly, but it really will work in killing your cold before it feels like it takes over. Garlic has great natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that is perfect for helping to eliminate your cold symptoms. It really does work wonders; it boosts the immune system and helps to open up your respiratory passages, as well as flushing toxins out of your body.
Although many people take garlic capsules, which are great as they are odourless, one of the most effective ways to kill off a cold is by ingesting fresh garlic. This is because it contains a compound, Allicin, which actually becomes inactive once the garlic has been cooked.
A study showed that a high dose of allicin actually had the ability to prevent colds from coming out. The study looked at a group of subjects that were treated with a high dose of allicin extract for a total of twelve weeks, and it was found that these subjects reported fewer numbers of colds and when they did get them, they did not last as long, and did not have as severe symptoms as they did when they did not take this compound.
It is really easy to make a garlic remedy for you to take at home. Simply mix together one crushed garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of honey, along with ½ a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, or red chilli powder, and consume daily until your symptoms have gone.
Alternatively, you can boil up four or five chopped garlic cloves in 1 cup of water, before mixing in one teaspoon of raw honey, and drink this mixture two or three times a day. If you’re feeling brave, you can actually eat the raw garlic chopped in salads, or in a cup of warm milk.
Ginger has loads of medicinal properties, and is used as a natural remedy for many illnesses and ailments. It is no surprise then that it has the common cold covered too, and can even take away the chills that are associated with a cold, and helps to keep the body nice and warm.
It has antiviral, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory properties making it perfect for the treatment of a cold.
There are a number of different ways of consuming the ginger, whilst ensuring that you feel the benefits from this wonderful remedy. You can go straight in and eat raw ginger, or alternatively, make a batch of ginger tea, by boiling two cups of water, and one tablespoon of chopped ginger, cover ad let it simmer on a low heat for five minutes. Once you have done this, turn off the heat, before letting it sit for a further five minutes, before straining and enjoying.
Alternatively, you can make a ginger paste, using ginger, cloves and a pinch of salt, which you wold then eat half a teaspoon twice a day. This should be consumed in the morning on a completely empty stomach in order for you to get the full effects of this paste.
Black pepper is another great ingredient to have in the home when you have a nasty cold. What’s more is that you do not even have to eat or drink it if you do not want to; although it should be noted that it is more effective if you do.
Black pepper is fantastic, and has a lot of health promoting properties. It is so rich in compounds that give it antioxidant, antimicrobial and gastroprotective properties and effects.
It also contains piperine, which is known to cure colds, coughs and throat problems by improving your breathing, which will then reduce your cough. Even better, once it is in your body, it can also make the nutrients from the other food that you consume more available to the body.
So how can this be of help to you when you are suffering from a cold? If you are suffering from a runny nose, help to relieve this by adding pepper to your feed, or alternatively, you can gargle with 1 teaspoon of black pepper which has been mixed thoroughly into a glass of warm water. Finally, and this is what makes it stand out from other spices is that you do not even have to consume it if you cannot face it, and you can still actually benefit from it by smelling it throughout the day.
Whilst it is not always advisable to drink milk when you are congested, turmeric milk has become a popular, traditional remedy for a common cold. When you combine milk with turmeric and ginger powder, it can help to soothe a cough, as well as many other symptoms of a cold, like body aches and headaches.
This is because turmeric is incredibly high in antioxidants, is anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory. To make your own turmeric milk, simply boil your milk and add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and half a teaspoon of ginger powder, or a small amount of fresh ginger. Let the milk cool and return to room temperature before drinking, but you should aim to do this twice a day, particularly before you go to bed.
This seems like a very obvious one, but increasing your vitamin C intake really can work wonders on your cold. It is a water-soluble vitamin, and has been proven to prevent scurvy related deaths among ancient sailors.
The great thing is though that Vitamin C naturally occurs in a huge number of foods, so you can just increase the amount of these that you are consuming. It is particularly high in many fruits, particularly citrus fruits and vegetables.
There is a lot of debate about its effectiveness in curing the common cold; however, increasing your intake will do no harm. If it doesn’t help the symptoms of your cold, it can and will pay a huge role in wound healing, iron absorption and collagen formation.
It can also improve the glucose metabolism of your body, and help it to produce a chemical substance that is important for proper signalling of the nervous system, as well as strengthening your immune system.
A few years ago, research suggested that ingesting vitamin C daily in men who had low levels of this vitamin, showed an improvement of their physical activity and a shorter duration of the cold.
There are a huge number of fruits that are really high in vitamin C, so make sure that you are eating the best things to help you. Here are just a few of them; cantaloupe, orange, grapefruit, limes, lemons, kiwifruits, mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and cranberries.
One really fantastic way of helping to ease a stuffy and blocked nose is with steam. It is completely free to do, and really can work wonders. Whether you chose to breathe the steam from a hot mug of tea, take a hot shower, or doing it the more traditional way of filling a bowl of hot water, and adding essential oils. The best ones to include are tea tree, peppermint and or course, eucalyptus; however, tea tree, being antibacterial will also help to kill any bacteria.
To make an effective steam, all you have to do is put all of the essential oils of choice into the bottom of the bowl before pouring in boiling water. Bearing in mind that the steam can scald and cause damage, put your face over the bowl at a comfortable distance and drape the towel over your head. This will help to trap the steam, and then take deep breaths.
It is advisable to do this two or three times a day to feel the maximum benefits.