No matter what season we are in, influenza and common colds will always be there, ready to pounce on us whenever we are not ready. As you can see, I have a flair for dramatics. Now, seriously, common colds must be the world’s most popular illness. It’s so popular that some people just ignore the symptoms of common colds such as coughing and sneezing. Sure, they go away most of the time but ignoring these symptoms may put your health at risk in the long run.
You don’t need to run to the nearest pharmacy or drug store every time you catch a cold. You can actually save money by opting to use herbal remedies that may be found in your own backyard. Not only are they significantly cheaper, most of them are also safe for us to use with no side effects.
Here are some of the best herbal remedies for influenza and common colds.
Garlic is one of the most common quick fix herbal treatments for colds. While it is not proven to cure the sick person completely, garlic appears to shorten the duration and even lessen the severity of the sickness. Studies also show that people who regularly eat garlic or take garlic supplements are less susceptible to catching colds in the future. This is because garlic contains allicin, which reduces the chances of your body to have flu by almost 50 percent.
There are several ways on how to use garlic to cure or prevent flu or common colds. You can consume fresh garlic, around one or two whole cloves per day. If you can’t imagine doing that, steep a clove of garlic in your tea. While fresh garlic works best, you can also try taking garlic oil, garlic tablets and garlic capsules. The tablets and the capsules are to be ingested (of course) while the oil, depending on the instructions, can be rubbed on the skin.
Of course, you can also make it a habit to include garlic in all the dishes you cook. That way, you are going to lessen your chances of being afflicted with flu and at the same time, add an extra kick and aroma to your food.
Ginger is almost, if not just as popular as garlic in being used as treatment for flu and common colds. Well documented to improve the body’s immune system, ginger contains almost a dozen antiviral compounds. Several chemicals in ginger have been studied by experts and their studies show that those chemicals are really effective in fighting against most cold viruses. Ginger also reduce pain and fever. It also helps suppress coughing and can even aid in the patient’s rest.
The most common and popular way of taking in ginger is to drink it in tea. Some people, especially in Asia, may prefer to eat ginger slices fresh. However, if you are not a fan of ginger’s taste, brewing ginger tea is also effective. You can boil fresh ginger slices in water and drink its tea but most people prefer powdered ginger (salabat) or ginger tea bags. You can also take ginger root capsules or tablets.
Finally, just the same as garlic, it will help if you incorporate ginger into your everyday dishes. Commonly used as a spice, ginger will not only improve the taste of your food, it will also help strengthen and improve your immune system against sickness.
Echinacea, also called purple cone flower, is also one of the most commonly used herbal remedy not only for cold and flu treatment but for improving the immune system as well. In fact, according to some researches, many doctors today trust echinacea in treating many infectious diseases.
Just like ginger, echinacea stimulates the immune system and activates the body’s capacity to fight against infections. It is recommended that from the moment you feel the onset of flu or common cold, you may take echinacea which reduces the sickness’ symptoms such as headache, aching limbs and coughing. Echinacea, aside from reducing the symptoms, is also proven to shorten the cold’s duration and speed up the patient’s recovery. The duration of the cold is shortened by about 30 percent. Taking echinacea also reduces the severity of the ailment.
You can take echinacea in several ways. You can buy powdered extract, alcohol tincture, echinacea juice or whole dried root. You can also buy tablets and capsules but some herbalists say the liquid forms are more effective. However, there is no study yet that proves that echinacea can help prevent colds from occurring. It is proven though that echinacea increases production of antibodies and raises the number of white blood cells.