Cold and flu are common illness caused by a virus. It is not possible to cure them with antibiotics, which is why home and natural remedies play a good role in the treatment. Their symptoms are very discomforting and can be a hurdle in going ahead with the daily chores.
The symptoms of cold and flu are:
The natural remedies for cold and flu lessen the discomfort and also are able to reduce the duration of illness caused by it.
Fight Cold and Flu With These 11 Natural Remedies
Here is a list of some effective natural remedies to manage cold and flu:
Zinc helps shorten the length of the cold and also lessen the symptoms.(1) This is because zinc helps prevent rhinovirus, a virus which causes the common cold. Zinc supplements are available in the form of capsules, lozenges or syrups. It is advisable to check for the dosage with the healthcare physician as too much of zinc can lead to nausea and stomach aches.
The antimicrobial properties of honey allow it to fight bacteria and virus. A study found honey being effective in relieving coughing, a symptom of cold in children over one year of age.(2) Honey is not considered apt for children below one year of age. Adding honey in warm water soothe the sore throat. You can also add lemon to it for extra flavor and vitamin C.
Echinacea is an herb, the extract of which is used to prevent cold and relieve nasal symptoms. Components of Echinacea support the immune system and with their antimicrobial properties fight against flu virus.(3) Some studies also show Echinacea being effective in reducing the likelihood of getting cold by 10-20 percent.(4) Echinacea is available in the form of supplement or in herbal tea.
Garlic protects against the common cold with its antibacterial and antiviral properties. A study done on few people showed those who took garlic for 3 months had fewer cold than those taking a placebo.(5) Garlic can be eaten raw or can be mixed in the meals or taken as a supplement.
Menthol can help get relief from the congested and blocked airways because of cold and flu infection. It is present in many vapor rubs and has antibacterial and pain-relieving effects. A vapor rub containing menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor help in improving sleep in children and adult with the cold symptom.(6) Menthol is also known to sting and irritate the skin but its risk outweighs the benefits.
Sleeping Well and Reducing Stress
Poor sleep and stress increase the risk of many illnesses including cold and flu. A study shows practicing mindfulness meditation or exercises lower the stress levels and also reduce the risk of suffering from cold and flu.(7) People who followed mindfulness meditation lost fewer workdays due to illness than people in the control group. A study also showed that people who slept for fewer hours were more susceptible to cold.(8)
Probiotics contain healthy bacteria and may help prevent getting cold and flu naturally. They help to strengthen the immune system which protects against the virus which causes cold and flu.(9) Probiotic can be obtained from foods such as yogurt, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and tempeh.
The flu virus stays longer in the dry indoor air and can spread easily. Using humidifier can lower the dryness at home and work place and might reduce the flu virus. Also, dryness in the air dries up the nasal passages. Humidifiers give relief from the symptom of the dry stuffy nose naturally when suffering from cold.
Ginseng helps reduce the risk and duration of cold and flu symptoms naturally in older adults.(10) It can be consumed in the form of capsule or herbal tea.
Vitamin C is known for strengthening the immune system. Regular intake of vitamin C benefits people by reducing the symptoms of cold and flu. Citrus fruits and avocadoes contain a high level of vitamin C. Its supplements can be easily obtained from the pharmacies.
Cold and flu symptoms are at their worst for not more than 2- 3 days. The virus lasts for 2 weeks. If the symptoms last for more than 10 days with no improvement, it is recommended to consult a doctor.