Everyone has at one time suffered with the common cold. However, do you really know what the common cold is? If no, I am going to tell you what it is, and show you ways to battle it naturally. The common cold is an acute viral infection that affects the mucosal membranes lining the nose, throat, and larynx, and often those of the trachea and bronchi, producing generalized inflammation. More than one-hundred viruses have been implicated as causes of colds. The common cold can also be complicated by a secondary bacterial infection affecting the ears and sinuses.
What are the symptoms of the common cold?
Symptoms include a scratchy sore throat, followed by sneezing, nasal discharge, and melancholy one or two days after coming in contact with the virus. In adults, there is usually no fever, whereas infants and small children often have a fever over 100 degrees to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Various combinations of laryngitis, hacking cough, tracheal inflammation, headache, chills, watery eyes, muscular aches, and temporary loss of smell and taste may be present to some degree. Normally the mucus discharge thickens throughout the course of a cold, but if the ears or sinuses begin to hurt and the mucus discharge is very thick, a secondary bacterial infection may be involved. The common cold usually ends in four to ten days.
What causes the common cold?
The viruses that are responsible for the common cold are all over the environment. Whether or not you catch the cold depends on vulnerability. The main causes of increased vulnerability are a weakening immune system due to poor dietary and living habits, and the buildup of toxins. vulnerability increases in the winter months when people eat heavier foods, exercise less, and spend more time indoors in poorly ventilated spaces with insufficient humidity and oxygen. In addition, the body’s natural defenses can be weakened by fatigue, stress, inhalation of noxious substances in the air, nasal allergies, and menstruation.
Homemade Cold Remedies
Echinacea – Helping the body fight colds and flu is this herb’s specialty. It stimulates white blood cell activity, increases the body’s production of antiviral substances such as interferon, and enhances the ability of immune cells to engulf and destroy invading microbes. When taken at the first sign of a cold, Echinacea lessens the duration and severity according to research. Although this herb is highly effective against the common cold, you should not use it for more than four weeks straight. The longer you use it, the more your body becomes accustomed, and it lessens the effectiveness against the cold virus.
Astragalus – the Chinese have used this herb for centuries to boost the immune system. During cold and flu season, astragalus can be used long-term unlike Echinacea. According to many Chinese studies, this herb is very effective against the common cold. People who are highly vulnerable to colds and flu can greatly benefit from taking this herb.
Asian ginseng and Siberian ginseng – These two herbs have a strong reputation as overall health enhancer’s and immune-system rebuilders. This herb is also suited for long-term use.
Licorice root – This root stimulates the production of several types of immune cells and increases the body’s interferon production. It is also widely known to reduce inflammation.
Elderberry – Unlike many of the other remedies above, elderberry is probably the tastiest of them all. They contain compounds that inhibit the enzymes that flu viruses use to penetrate our cell membranes. There were many studies done on people who took elderberry extract at the onset of a cold, and the cold only lasted for two-three days.
Garlic – This herb is an immune booster and a microbe killer. Microbes that garlic kills include bacteria, yeast, parasites, and fungi. Some of garlic’s active ingredients are eliminated through our lungs, which puts garlic’s healing compounds where we need them most. During the cold and flu season, eat plenty of garlic, or its cousin the onion.
Lemon balm – This herb is used to fight a variety of bacteria and some viruses, including the parainfluenza virus.
Peppermint – Peppermint’s essential oil is one of the main ingredients in many major commercial products including nasal decongestants, throat lozenges, cough drops, chest rubs, and inhalants.
Ginger – Ginger is anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Ginger also helps you cough up mucus, while helping you stay warm.
Many people cannot tell the difference between the common cold and the flu. When someone has the cold, it mainly restricts itself to upper respiratory passages. However, the flu is a very different monster. The flu comes on quickly and produces an all-over sick feeling.
Here is tea you can make for the common cold and the flu:
This blend of herbs soothes the symptoms of the usual cold and flu symptoms. In addition, this blend also contains herbs that fight viruses and bacteria.
This makes 1 cup of tea blend:
¼ cup dried peppermint leaves
¼ cup dried lemon balm leaves
¼ cup dried elder flowers
¼ cup dried yarrow flowers
Store in an airtight jar away from light for up to a year.
To make one cup of tea:
1-2 teaspoons tea blend
½-one teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional)
Lemon juice (optional)
Boil water, and then remove from heat — steep for five to ten minutes. Strain; add honey and/or lemon, if desired.
Here is another effective remedy for the cold and flu.
This blend has been used traditionally to boost immunity and lessen the discomfort of a cold or flu:
Two ¼ teaspoons Echinacea leaf
Two ¼ teaspoons elder flowers
Two ¼ teaspoons yarrow leaves and flowers
One ¼ teaspoons peppermint
3 cups water
Place all but the peppermint leaves in the water and simmer, covered, for ten to fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and add the peppermint. Steep, covered, for ten more minutes. Strain herbs and discard. Drink up to three cups of tea per day as needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.