Most of you will agree how frustrating getting a cold is. It disrupts your whole lifestyle. Personally when I suffer from common cold which is quite common in my case, I just can’t think straight or do any of my work. I just want to snuggle up in my warm bed and lie down all day. And of course the nasty headaches and stuffy noses it causes, makes you all the more under the weather. So most probably you are also suffering from cold or you would not have been looking for this article. I can understand how terrible you must be feeling with a blocked nose, aches making you too miserable to sleep and a sore throat. How healthy a person may be but sometime or the other he too succumbs to this annoying illness. Cold is caused by a virus called Rhino virus and occurs more frequently among children who don’t have a well developed immunity system.
The biggest downside of getting sick is that it not just makes you incapable of any work but also compels you to take medicines, if you want an instant gain of your good health, which have their own side-effects. All these cold relieving tablets like cetrizine, ricofast plus, etc. make you sleepy and thus make you less attentive and alert which you have to be irrespective of whether you are a kid attending school or a grown up working man/woman. There are lots of funny sayings about cold, one of them goes like this, if you ignore a cold it clears up in a week but if you seek medical attention, you can cure it in just seven days. So if you are too reluctant to rely on allopathic medicines and face their side-effects you can use these natural remedies to cure cold. Though these natural ways will not kill the rhino virus causing your cold but will boost your body’s immunity system to fight harder to get rid of the culprit. Though most of these come from the old wives’ tales but that doesn’t mean that they won’t work.
10. Take Rest
Who hasn’t heard that? As soon as you tell anybody you are not feeling well, they will say “oh! Take rest.” Well they are not wrong. I know it is annoying to think about taking rest when you have a pile of office work to complete or if you are home-maker, the whole house will go upside down if you are not present to preside over the chores. But if you want to give your 100% to the task, you must be first restored to your full health. Hence put yourself first and take a leave for a day or two, to muster the strength to get back to work with full force after you feel up to it. Working during cold will only reduce your already decreasing energy. Also while you are suffering from cold, stay away from caffeine and smoking which will only aggravate your cold.
9. Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup is effective in curing cold; it is not a mere myth but has been found in many cases to be absolutely true. Although having any kind of soup is good for health when suffering from cold but chicken soup have been proven most effective. Even doctors recommend it because it helps in clearing the nasal passages owing to the hot fumes of it. It is better to use home-made chicken broth rather than store-bought because even organic ones have MSGs in them, that are not good for health. Also chicken soup owing to the amino acids present in it has the same action on our body as the drug used in treating bronchitis and other lung ailments, called acetylcysteine which helps in thinning of the mucous and hence helps in unblocking the nasal passages and one can breathe freely. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help a lot in curing cold. So, when cold sneaks up on you ask your mom to make her delicious recipe of chicken soup and see the magic.
According to Ayurveda, the Indian traditional medical system, cold is caused by the imbalance of Kapha-Vata dosha. For those who don’t know, Kapha means the moist characteristics of our body while Vata is the gastric fire or agni and an imbalance, which is dosha, of them is the reason behind getting a cold. Ayurveda tells us that ginger root helps in reducing the excess Kapha and restores agni, thus is a great cure for cold. A home-made remedy using ginger is to cut small pieces of ginger and then boiling them with water. After it simmers, strain it and one can drink it hot after adding half a teaspoon of sugar to it. Drinking ginger tea is also a very good substitute for chicken soup as it does the same trick of relieving your nasal passages. Ginger is also used in the Chinese traditional medicines for the treatment of cough experienced during cold.
Honey has been proven by researches conducted on children that it is beneficial in curing coughs and helps in sleeping better which is usually quite difficult when suffering from cold. Honey contains polyphenols, amino acids, carbohydrates and anti-oxidants especially dark coloured honey like buckwheat honey which has large amounts of anti-oxidants and helps in boosting the immunity system. Honey is said to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and eliminates any further risk of infections that come along with cold and flu. Honey can be used in a number of ways:
- Drinking warm water or green tea mixed with honey
- Warm lime water with honey
- One can make cough syrup at home using honey; just mix ¼ cup of honey and same quantity of apple cider vinegar in a bottle and shake well before using
- Having pepper corns ground with honey followed by swallowing half a clove of garlic with warm water at the start of the day.
6. Have Vitamin-C in your diet
It was proposed by Linux Pauling in 1968 that daily consumption of vitamin C up to 1000mg reduces the occurrence of colds. Though it is still a debatable issue, primarily because too much consumption of Vitamin C leads to diarrhoea and gas and also because recent researches over this has led to the result that though it cannot prevent the occurrence of cold but it can to some extent reduce the severity of the symptoms. Researchers prefer natural foods containing Vitamin C rather than synthetic supplements and tablets. Broccoli, celery, lemons, strawberries, papaya, tomatoes, oranges, etc. are some natural sources of Vitamin C which should be included in one’s daily diet.
5. Eat spicy foods
You must have experienced in daily life that whenever you eating something really spicy like pepper, instantly you have runny nose and watery eyes. While having cold, eating spicy foods can be helpful as it releases an endogenous opioid thus reducing discomfort. Doctors also consider that pepper has a substance called capsaicin in it that has similar effects like guaifenesin present in cough syrups thus helping in clearing up mucus and easing stuffy noses.
Gargling with warm water mixed with salt is a trusted remedy all over the world for dealing with sore throat which is a characteristic symptom of a cold. Saline sprays can also be used to clear up nasal passages. Gargling with vinegar or lemon juice also helps in treating sore throats killing the germs in the throat region.
Garlic is one of the most popular ingredients used in home remedies for curing cold. Though it gives you a bad breath and body odour and large supplements can cause indigestion and other irritations in the body but it has been researched that people who had garlic during cold had taken less recovery time. Garlic is said to build your immune system owing to the anti-oxidant present in it known as allicin which gives garlic its distinct hot flavour. It has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and must be taken raw and preferably crushed to have proper effect.
2. Use Vaporizer and Steam
Taking in steam with the help of a vaporizer or by bending over a pot of boiled water with a towel draped over your head can help in loosening of the mucus. Steam helps in relieving from chest congestions. If you fell that your nasal passages have dried up then use a saline nasal spray or sesame oil to moisten the passages as they can be ideal breeding places for bacteria. Hot water baths are also very popular home-cures for cold. Use of a humidifier can be done to help you remain hydrated.
1. Drinking Fluids
Drinking fluids especially warm can be quite beneficial in curing cold. During a cold, one must drink lots of water to keep himself hydrated and as the body is not able to detoxify itself on its own, drinking ample amount of water helps in the process of detoxification. Fluids help in thinning of the mucus so that it can be expelled easily along with the viral particles trapped in them. Also hot fluids prevent drying up of throat. It always feels nice to drink something warm when suffering from cold which relieves some of the symptoms of the cold.
It is imperative to maintain proper hygiene when suffering from cold as it is highly contagious. If you develop a fever after cold then resist the urge to take a medicine to suppress the fever as it is your body’s fighting mechanism against the viruses and bacteria. It is not uncommon for a cold to last 1-2 weeks but if you still feel sick after many weeks you must consult your doctor instead of taking any medicine.