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Natural Remedies for the Common Cold

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Today’s guest blogger, Boiron fan Lindsey W., offers these natural tips on treating the common cold.

As we head further into the winter months, it's becoming apparent that cold season is again upon us. You may want to try some natural remedies in addition to taking a homeopathic medicine. These remedies can be made in the convenience of your own home and will treat your cold and flu symptoms quickly, without unwanted side effects from medications. These tried and true remedies include simple and natural ingredients, such as honey and chicken broth.

Honey

Whether your throat is sore from postnasal drip or you have a dry, itchy or scratchy feeling in your throat or a dry cough that interrupts your sleep, honey can be your best friend. When I suffered from my most recent cold, I drank six to eight cups of hot decaffeinated tea with honey and lemon juice, and my sore throat felt better within two days.

To soothe your throat, swallow a teaspoon of honey (on its own) up to three times daily. Make sure not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after taking the honey so that it has time to work on the inflammation causing your symptoms. If the taste of honey does not suit you, use honey to sweeten decaffeinated hot tea. It is also best to use locally produced honey, as it contains pollens and proteins that may provide the best effects to treat your cold. However, as the Mayo Clinic points out, do not give honey to babies under one year of age, as it could cause infant botulism.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is the holy grail of cold and flu remedies. The broth reduces inflammation in your throat, helping reduce your sore throat and cough. According to the Mayo Clinic, the fluid also helps thin your mucus, reducing your congestion and sneezing. Likewise, the chicken, vegetables and grains in the soup provide much needed nutrients for your body's immune system to fight off the virus. I prepare a big kettle of soup each time someone in my house develops the first signs of a cold, since this home remedy makes our colds go away more quickly.

Zinc

Taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of a cold can decrease the severity and duration of sneezing and congestion. My husband swears by these lozenges, which he takes at the first sign of each cold so he can get through the workday ahead. However, be warned that the lozenges can leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Saltwater

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gargling with saltwater two to three times daily reduces inflammation and scratchiness in your throat from colds and the flu. To try it yourself, mix ½ teaspoon salt with eight ounces of warm water and gargle.

Just because you have a cold or the flu does not mean you have to be miserable. These remedies will help get you on the mend faster rather than just letting the virus take its course. The next time a cold strikes, try one or more of these remedies, and you may feel better in no time.

About Lindsey: Lindsey is fascinated with the potential of emerging educational technologies, particularly online classes, to transform the landscape of learning. She regularly writes about web-based learning, electronic and mobile learning, and the possible future of education.

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