One of the myths, however, of common cold is to allow it to run its course. This is based on the belief that by sneezing and blowing the nose, the virus is expelled from the body. In fact, the force of blowing the nose actually forces the mucus, virus, and bacteria into the sinuses, causing them to get infected. And when the watery mucus drains into the throat, it usually results in the throat, tonsils, or adenoids getting infected. Hence, letting a cold run its course by not using any remedy can actually exacerbate the symptoms, and can even lead to the condition worsening.
Zinc: According to studies, it has been found that zinc can help the body's immune system fight the cold virus and ease the symptoms. Zinc lozenges that are the most effective contain about 15 - 25 mg of zinc gluconate-glycine or zinc gluconate per lozenge. To be most effective, you need to begin using them as soon as you feel the cold coming on.
Vitamin C: Even though taking copious amounts of vitamin C has been popular since the book 'Vitamin C and the Common Cold', written by the Nobel-prize winning chemist, Linus Pauling, was published in 1970, later medical research has not substantiated its remedial effects.
Decongestions: Medications like nasal sprays and pseudophedrine can help reduce the symptoms. However, people who have high blood pressure, heart disease, or other ailments, need to consult their physician before using them.
Antihistamines: Medications like Benadryl can help alleviate nasal drainage; however, only those that cause drowsiness seem to be effective. Again, people who have other ailments like constipation or prostate problems, and the elderly, should take the advice of their health care providers prior to using them.
Echinacea: This is a herb that is a natural antibiotic. It boosts the immune system of the body, thereby helping fight off infection. It is recommended to be taken as soon as the onset of the cold is felt. Like any other medication, you need to check with your health care professional about its safety and the recommended dosage. The directions are also given on the bottle.
Ginger: Fresh ginger has been used for ages as an effective remedy for cold, especially during its early stages. Hot ginger tea with a teaspoon of honey is effective against congestion caused by the accumulation of mucus or phlegm.
Garlic: Garlic has both antiviral and antibiotic properties, and it also helps alleviate congestion by activating the immune system and stimulating circulation. Crush a couple of pods of garlic and let it steep in a cup of hot water. Then, add honey and fresh lemon, and sip this hot beverage.
Steam and Gargle: Inhaling the steam of hot water with a few drops of peppermint oil is very effective against cold, especially in the early stages. Likewise, gargle with a solution of warm water and table salt. Both these can be done several times a day.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken to relieve muscle aches, and cough syrups that contain dextromethorphan can be taken to control coughing.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.