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The Common Cold

Naturopathic medicine is a natural way to help your body’s own immune system get over a cold faster and safer than with over-the-counter medications, which can actually hinder your natural immune responses to a cold.

Rather than turning to expensive over-the-counter medications for the common cold, which make you feel drowsy, try several methods of naturopathic treatment to restore your body to a natural balance, give you more energy, and shorten the length of time you’ll suffer from cold symptoms.

How Can Naturopathic Medicine Help Relieve a Common Cold?
Colds are viruses that take hold in the body when the immune system is damaged or weak. We all know how painful a cold can be, with a congested nose and chest, ringing in the ears, fever and chills. Naturopathic medicine strives for balance and a natural way to approach disease.

Rather than mask your symptoms with chemicals and over-the-counter medications, naturopathic treatments aim to kick-start the body’s own defenses naturally and boost immunity using healthy food, water and juices, vitamins and herbs, and natural techniques to promote decongestion.

Hydrate
The body needs lots of water all the time, and especially when it has a cold. Purified or spring water helps flush your system of toxins, hydrates your body, gives you energy, and keeps your body supple. Drink lots of water, fresh vegetable juice, and herbal teas, and drink fruit juice in moderation. Drink hot liquids, such as chamomile tea, broth and soup, to relieve the throat and nasal congestion. Do not drink diuretics, such as caffeinated coffee and tea, alcohol, soft drinks, and sugary juice cocktails, which dehydrate the body.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the golden egg to treat a cold because it spurs the body’s own white blood cells in fighting off illness. At the first tingling signs of a cold, take a high dose of Vitamin C supplement with bioflavonoids, about 2,000 mg. Then taper off to about 500-1,000 mg every 2-3 hours. But be careful not to go overboard. Too much Vitamin C can cause stomach irritability and diarrhea, and can exacerbate kidney stones.

Zinc
Zinc is an important mineral to boost the immune system and may also inhibit cold viruses. Take zinc gluconate lozenges containing 23 mg of zinc every 3-4 hours during the onset of a cold to spur the immune system and shorten the length of a cold. But don’t take zinc for more than a week. To prevent a cold, you can start taking zinc a few days before you know you’ll be in conditions that put you at a risk to contract a cold.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another important vitamin to take during a cold as it helps the mucus membranes and improves the respiratory system. Take 25,000 IU three times a day. Avoid high doses of Vitamin A if you are pregnant.

Garlic
Garlic has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, boosts the immune system, and improves respiration. Raw garlic, eaten in salads or masked with other food, provides the most benefit. Or you can crush it and add it to warm water with some lemon, honey, thyme, and shaved raw ginger. Drink several cups a day, or take 2-3 garlic tablets three times a day.

Echinacea
At the first signs of a cold, take 10 g of Echinacea capsules or drops, then take 3 g of Echinacea three times per day during your cold. Echinacea, an antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulator, deactivates the devastating viral enzymes that let a cold take control of your body.

Decongestants
Hot steam is a natural way to relieve nasal congestion. Boil water to set up a steam inhalation, then add eucalyptus oil to the hot water and breathe in the vapors. Try eating spicy hot food, such as horseradish and raw ginger, to clear up nasal passages. Enjoying a good soup will help to get both steam and nutrition at the same time.

Nasal wash
A nasal wash may not sound appealing, but it clears the nasal passages gently and naturally using warm water. With a specially designed pitcher and a saline solution, wash the nasal passages by pouring water into one nostril and allowing it to release through the other. Ask a naturopathic doctor to help you perform a nasal wash correctly the first few times.

What not to eat:
Avoid consuming dairy products during a cold. Milk contains enzymes that release histamine that can exacerbate nasal and chest congestion. Avoid alcohol, which acts as a diuretic and leeches Vitamin C out of the body. Avoid starchy and sugary foods and food that contains high fructose corn syrup. Sugar inhibits neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that attacks cold viruses.

Acupuncture:
Needling specific points on the body to stimulate the body’s immune function and expel pathogenic factors. Homeopathy: A correctly prescribed remedy can be all you need to start feeling better.

Page Last Updated: October 25, 2009

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