A cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Exposure to viruses is unavoidable however whether you succumb to a virus or how severe your experience depends on the strength of your immune system at the time of the infection - see Immune Support for detailed information.
A healthy adult gets about two colds a year, but children can get between six and nine. The average cold tends to lasts from seven to ten days.
The symptoms of a cold, like any illness, are your body's way of dealing with the virus, and if you allow the body to heal itself with the support of supplements, remedies and suitable foods, then your body and your immune system may become much stronger for future attacks.
Much can be done to boost the immune system naturally during illness. Ideal recommendations would be:
Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea, Elderberry and Goldenseal. Everything you need can be found at the following links
If you suffer from frequent infections and illness it would be a good idea to take a probiotic supplement daily to help replenish levels of good bacteria in the gut which help to boost the immune system and the support the digestion - see Probiotics and Probiotics for Babies & Children
- Avoid all mucous-forming foods that may make the symptoms of a cold worse. These include all dairy products, eggs and excessive meat or soya, sugary and fatty foods (all acidic foods).
- Consume a diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables (alkaline foods), and their juices.
- Foods that help to reduce mucous are garlic and onion, celery, citrus fruit, parsley, organic chicken broth, watercress, horseradish, and green tea. Herbs such as thyme and sage also help to thin mucous.
- Adding raw garlic to your food is particularly beneficial.
- Drink lots of fluids - water, herb or fruit teas and fresh diluted juices.
Herbal Lozenges - there are a selection of herbal lozenges designed to ease coughs and sore throats available in the Family Pharmacy - see Coughs & Colds.
Herbal tea - try drinking super concentrated 'Cats Claw Tea' with orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger to boost the immune system (drink three times a day). Ginger tea warms the body and helps reduce the intensity of a heavy cold - try adding a slice of fresh lemon and some manuka honey. Sage tea can help to break down mucous and congestion (again drink three times a day for 3-5 days) - see Herbal Tea.
Nasal Spray - for a blocked, stuffy nose the 'Rhinodoron Nasal Spray' helps to break down and clear inside a congested nose and is suitable from birth - see Coughs & Colds
Essential Oils - the essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree and thyme can help to fight infection and reduce congestion and can be combined with a base oil and massaged over the chest. 'Po-Ho Oil' is a powerful combination of peppermint, eucalyptus, juniper, caraway and fennel essential oils to help ease nasal congestion and alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu. Add a few drops to a bowl of hot water to inhale the vapours. It is also available with an inhaler. For babies below the age of one add a few drops of 'Lavender oil' to a 'base oil' and massage over the chest area throughout the day, and at night - see Essential Oils.
Homeopathy - there are many remedies for the common cold but here are some basic guidelines.
Some remedies are often more useful at the beginning of a cold and can be taken every 15 minutes, half and hour or hour for a few doses. Take Aconite 30c for a sudden, intense cold, after exposure to dry, cold wind, if there is extreme restlessness, anxiety or fear. There may be a fever, congestion of the chest and a choking cough. Take Belladonna 30c for a sudden, intense cold, with a flushed, hot, red face, a high fever, if there is sensitivity to light and you have a hot head with cold feet and hands. The throat or glands may be affected.
However take Ferrum Phos 30c at the beginning if there is a fever with no other symptoms, other than cheeks may be flushed. If the onset of a cold is slow, with a low-grade fever, there is heaviness, weakness, tiredness, dizziness, drooping eyelids, aching limbs and no desire to move take Gelsemium 30c every three to four hours.
Once the symptoms of the cold become more apparent then choose from the following remedies, and take one dose every three hours. If discharge is thin, watery, and reddens the skin, and you feel chilly, restless and are better near heat use Arsenicum 30c; if discharge is thick, yellow-green and profuse, if you are better for fresh air, and if a child is clingy and weepy use Pulsatilla 30c; if you have flu-like aching take Gelsemium 30c; Kali bich 30c is useful for thick yellow, ropey discharge which is difficult to expel; Natrum mur 30c is good for constant sneezing with a dripping nose. Calc Carb 30c is very good for colds, sore throats or bronchitis - see Homeopathy for all these remedies. See the Homeopathic Kits for sets containing a range of different remedies.
Take one dose three to four times a day for up to three days and see if there has been any improvement. If there has continue with the remedy, if not change the remedy. For severe symptoms take every fifteen minutes, every half an hour or every one to two hours as required.
NB. It is important to touch the pills as little as possible, ideally tipping one into the lid and then directly into the mouth letting it dissolve under the tongue if possible and also to avoid eating and drinking at the same time as taking the remedy.
If you are unsure or if any of these remedies are not working, contact a professional homeopath.
Immune Support (information)
Please contact us if you require more specific advice
NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.