Many people seek out natural remedies for cold and flu recovery each winter season. The flu is caused by one influenza virus, while the common cold comes from several different viruses. Cold symptoms often develop slowly, usually including sneezing, a sore throat, and a stuffy nose. Conversely, flu symptoms usually hit abruptly and include fever, aches, weakness, and fatigue.
The following simple remedies offer soothing solutions to help you feel better fast:
1. Drink lots of fluids
Your mom has probably told you this many times. It’s excellent advice, since drinking lots of fluids decreases the amount of phlegm and mucus in your throat and helps it clear out faster. A well-hydrated body is also stronger, which helps your immune system defend you more effectively. Try a mug of hot herbal tea, which can provide soothing warmth and break up congestion. Drinks with electrolytes can help your body feel better, but stay away from sugary sodas and fruit drinks. When feeling sick, you might not have much of an appetite, but make sure you’re still getting in liquids in the form of soups, water, smoothies, or tea.
2. Take vitamin C
This remedy is another tip you might hear frequently, and for a good reason. Vitamin C can help decrease the severity of your cold, and it can also cut down the number of days you’re ill. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is between 75 to 90 milligrams for adults. One study found that a vitamin C dose of 1-2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 milligrams) shortened the duration of colds in children by 18% on average. Adults can see similar benefits by taking 6-8 grams per day if they feel a cold developing. Interestingly, people operating under intense physical stress, such as athletes or those with physical jobs, get even more benefits if they take Vitamin C for a cold. Studies have shown that larger doses can cut their illness duration in half. Illnesses such as colds and flu can cause your body to use up its stores of vitamin C quickly, so if you’re already deficient in this crucial vitamin, your immune system is significantly weaker and more susceptible to infections.
Certain plants have been used for many years as natural remedies for cold and flu recovery. A Georgia State University study found that this root, used often in Chinese and alternative medicine, can help to prevent and remedy the flu and certain respiratory viruses. The study showed that the herb helped improve the survival of infected lung cells and also reduced inflammation. The roots of plants in the genus Panax, usually taken in powdered form, provide adaptogenic properties when taken over time. This remedy helps improve your body’s stamina and response to stress. You’ll find this plant more effective against colds and flu if taken over time as a preventative, rather than only taken during an illness. Studies have shown that you can get the benefits after taking the root for two to four months. Note that ginseng can interfere with some medications such as Warfarin and other blood-thinning drugs, diabetes medications, MAOIs, and immunosuppressants. Speak with your physician before taking this natural supplement if you’re taking any of these other medications.