Natural Herbal Remedies for Colds

| November/December 2002

Herbs & Natural Remedies:
Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), vitamin C, zinc and vegetable soup.

Echinacea: tincture. Vitamin C: tablets. Zinc: lozenges. Vegetable soup: by the bowl.

How it Works:
All of these treatments boost the immune system’s ability to fight cold viruses. University of Wisconsin researchers reviewed nine echinacea studies. Six showed significant benefit and two suggested benefit. A Finnish review of twenty-one vitamin C studies showed an average symptom-reduction score of 23 percent. Several studies show that zinc lozenges speed recovery from colds. Vegetable soup is soothing, and vegetables have phytochemicals with immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory actions.

Echinacea: 1 to 3 teaspoons of tincture in juice or tea three times daily. Vitamin C: 500 mg four times daily, total 2,000 mg. Zinc: 23 mg of zinc gluconate or zinc aspartate every 2 hours in lozenges. Vegetable soup: whenever you’re hungry.

Echinacea causes tongue tingling or numbing, but this is temporary and harmless. Large doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhea. Some people find the taste of zinc lozenges unpleasant.

Other Information:
Rest helps the body focus on self-healing. Hot fluids soothe the throat, provide some decongestion and impede viral replication—cold viruses don’t reproduce as well at temperatures above normal body temperature.

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