A new season is almost upon us, and as summer shifts into fall, more and more people will wake up with a runny nose, sore muscles, chills, and a persistent cough. For most of us, the common cold is a regular occurrence when the seasons change; the cooler temperatures of fall and winter allow cold viruses to linger, and allergens can irritate the throat and lungs, leaving you even more susceptible to illness.
All of these factors combine to make you feel pretty miserable for a few days or even weeks. While there are plenty of over-the-counter and prescription medications to help alleviate the symptoms of a cold, there are also entirely natural remedies for the common cold that are just as effective, and better for your body.
Some of these all-natural herbs can help prevent the onset of a cold, while others help hasten your recovery. So, in order to help keep you feeling good this season,
If you’re familiar with eastern medicinal practices, then you’ve probably heard of astragalus. This flowering plant has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and is revered for its natural strengthening properties. Astragalus is primarily used to prevent the common cold or flu, as it helps build the immune system and has antiviral properties.
However, astragalus is beneficial as more than just a preventative measure. This herb is also an antioxidant and is thought to be beneficial for overall physical health and longevity. For cold prevention, astragalus can be consumed in a capsule or brewed in a tea. Generally, tea is the preferred option, as it can also help soothe the throat and reduce mucus. That said, astragalus is not as helpful once you already have a cold, as it may counteract certain antiviral medications.
While garlic is an excellent addition to food, it is even better for your body. It can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and also promote weight loss. However, garlic has traditionally been used as remedies for common cold, and for a good reason; freshly cut garlic contains a compound called allicin, which can reduce the chances of getting sick, while also reducing the recovery time if you’ve already caught a cold.
Garlic is undoubtedly a great way to promote a healthy body naturally, but it is not without its drawbacks. The primary concern with garlic is the odor. When you eat garlic, it tends to leave a very pungent smell on your breath, and this odor can even make it into your sweat. This means that garlic can make your entire body smell for a day or longer. If you chop or crush garlic yourself, be prepared to have the smell on your fingers for a while. In any case, whether you want to add garlic to a hot bowl of soup or simply crush up a few cloves and eat them raw, it is an excellent way to either prevent the common cold or ensure that you recover much faster.
Ginseng is a root plant that can be found in parts of North America and Asia. Historically, ginseng played an essential role in ancient Chinese medicine. Today, it is often consumed in tea or even liquor, though the former is much better for treating colds.
While ginseng can help reduce cold symptoms like sore throat, headache, and excessive phlegm, it is not recommended in higher doses. Ginseng can have adverse side effects if taken too often and may interact with certain medications. In any case, a cup of ginseng tea (especially tea made with fresh ginseng that has been procured from a reliable source) can help fight the common cold and get you back on your feet.
Much like ginseng, ginger is a root plant that has a long list of medicinal benefits and is used to fight maladies in many parts of the world. Ginger is especially useful to reduce coughing and runny nose, both primary symptoms of the common cold. Additionally, ginger is a healthy additive to most diets and goes great with many dishes and hot drinks.
If you want to reduce your cold-related symptoms with ginger, it is best to consume a gingerbased tea. The warm liquid helps break up mucus, while the natural compounds in ginger help your body fight off the cold. When you’re suffering from a cold, it is also common to feel stomach pain or nausea. Thankfully, ginger is an excellent remedy for stomach related issues due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
You may think that honey is just a delicious snack. But it is also packed with a wide array of health benefits, as it is a great source of antioxidants. While honey is very sweet and contains a lot of sugar, it contains natural sugar that is not as bad for you as processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup. That said, some honey that you buy at the store may be very processed and contain unnatural ingredients, so you will want to find an all-natural brand.
Like many other remedies on this list, honey is great when added to tea. The warm liquid helps break up mucus while the honey soothes a sore throat. In addition to these symptoms, it can often be tough to get a good night’s rest with a cold. Adequate sleep is especially crucial for recovery, and honey is proven to promote better sleep.
Preventing and Recovering from the Common Cold Naturally
While the remedies for common cold listed above are great ways to prevent or fight the common cold without unnatural chemicals or medications, they may not be enough by themselves. The common cold is generally not very serious and usually goes away on its own after a few days. That said, it can be serious for young children, the elderly, or those with weak immune systems. With that in mind, you should always consult a trained physician first to ensure that you recover from your cold without any unnecessary complications.