Usually the cure for the common cold is to let it run its course; about a week or so. But with more than 200 different viruses responsible for giving us the common cold each, year it makes sense to try an figure out ways to combat the virus and ease symptoms. If you are looking for relief and would like to venture outside of conventional medicine and typical over the counter medications, try herbal alternative remedies. While conventional medicine can offer pain relief, decongestants, expectorants, it really doesn’t attack the source or cause of colds in the first place. This is where herbal remedies can have great benefit. Herbs can be cornerstone to a natural approach to fighting a cold. Herbs can also help the body to heal itself.
One of the best herbal remedies to consider when treating a cold is echinacea. Throughout the country, echinacea has achieved almost superstar status when it comes to treating colds. It is one of the first choices people make along with vitamin C when attacking a cold virus. Echinacea is native to America and is sometimes called purple cornflower. It helps to rally the immune system when you have a cold. This herb increases production of the whitle blood cells in the body that go after and kill a cold virus. It is recommended to use echinacea at the first sign of a cold or infection. It will not work as well once you have a full blown cold. Echinacea is easy to find at most health food stores and comes in supplement form, teas and tincture. The highest concentrated dose is in the tincture. At the beginning of your cold, take 1 teaspoon of tincture five times a day. Echinacea is a safe herb, but it may lose some of its effectiveness if used for more than a few days.
Goldenseal is another powerful herb that rivals echinacea’s effectiveness when it comes to treating colds. It is a potent antibiotic herb. The alkaloids that are in goldenseal root, are believed to reduce inflammation, thereby restoring the ability of the mucous membranes to immobilize microbes that include those of the cold virus. Goldenseal and echinacea work well together as a team to beat cold viruses. Standardized capsules of goldenseal root powder are available at most health food stores along with goldenseal tincture. Take 2 teaspoon of the tincture or one 500 mg. capsule three times a day between meals.
One of the most pleasant and common remedies to treat a common cold is a bowl of chicken soup. An herbal variation on this is a ginger-garlic soup that helps to boost the immune system. Combine 4 cups of chicken broth with 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh garlic, 1/2 cup of finely sliced fresh ginger and 1/2 cup of mung bean sprouts. Saute the garlic in a little olive oil first. Then simmer all ingredients for a few minutes until heated through and drink throughout the day to treat your cold.
Common household sage has strong astringent properties that can help to dry up a runny nose. Drink 1/2 cup of sage tea twice a day between meals. The tea will make you feel better, but should not be used for more than a day or two.