Cold Remedies; What Works and What Doesn't
Cold remedies are almost as common as the common cold, but are they effective? Nothing can cure a cold, but some remedies might help ease your symptoms and keep you from feeling so miserable. Here's a look at some common cold remedies and what's known about them. If you catch a cold, you can expect to be sick for one to two weeks. That doesn't mean you have to be miserable.
These Remedies Might Help You Feel Better:
Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated sodas, which can make dehydration worse.
Your body needs rest to heal. Taking frequent naps is highly encouraged by medical professionals. No doubt, you can feel your body's need for rest as one tends to be in a sluggish state during their sickness.
Soothe a Sore Throat
A saltwater gargle can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat. Salt has been proven to help draw water out of oral tissues, while creating a salt barrier that locks out water and harmful pathogens from getting back inside. There is scientific evidence to support saltwater’s purported medicinal benefits. “It won’t cure a sore throat—only time can do that—but its hypertonic properties (a biological term indicating the osmotic pressure is higher than that in the surrounding fluid) can help relieve pain and inflammation,” from a recent study done by The Scientific Reports.
Saline nasal drops and salt gargles can help relieve stuffiness and congestion. To prevent congestion from getting any worse, “Studies show that salt water may help reduce infection severity, whether it’s from a viral or bacterial infection,” from Healthline.
Sip Warm Liquids
A cold remedy used in many cultures, taking in warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea or warm apple juice, might be soothing and might ease congestion by increasing mucus flow.
Honey may help coughs in adults and children who are older than age 1. Try it in hot tea, or mixed with your throat soak!
Add Moisture To The Air
A cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier can add moisture to your home, which might help loosen congestion. Change the water daily, and clean the unit according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Cold remedies that don't work:
The list of ineffective cold remedies is long. Some of the more common ones that don't work include:
These attack bacteria, but they're no help against cold viruses. Avoid asking your doctor for antibiotics for a cold or using old antibiotics you have on hand. You won't get well any faster, and inappropriate use of antibiotics contributes to the serious and growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Avoid foods that are hard to swallow, as it may further irritate the throat. “If you have a sore throat, I recommend avoiding any foods that may be difficult to swallow. I suggest sticking to soups and soft foods until the sore throat pain has resolved,” says Dr. Smith from Penn Medicine.
In spite of ongoing studies, the scientific jury is still out on some popular cold remedies, such as vitamin C and echinacea.
Here are some common alternative remedies:
It appears that taking vitamin C won't usually help the average person prevent colds.
However, some studies have found that taking vitamin C before cold symptoms start may shorten the length of time you have symptoms. Vitamin C may benefit people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure to other people.
Several studies have suggested that zinc supplements may reduce the length of a cold. But research has turned up mixed results about zinc and colds.
“People believe licorice eases a sore throat, treats ulcers, and helps clear respiratory infections such as bronchitis. Licorice root may even treat viral infections,” from Healthline. Try this Licorice and orange throat soak by Laki Naturals, containing Hawaiian sea salt, licorice, orange peel, chamomile, and zinc!
Elderberries are thought to prevent or decrease pain and inflammation and reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections. Many people consider the elderberry plant one of the most powerful for preventing and treating colds and influenza and swear by its antiviral properties.
People often still use ginger today when they have a cough or cold. Scientific research shows that ginger has medicinal properties that could help ease the symptoms of a cold or sore throat.
Take care of yourself
Fall marks the beginning of cold and flu season in most states around the USA, and one of the first symptoms is often a sore throat. Your mother may have suggested a couple remedies that work, including our favorite at Laki Naturals, throat gargles! Although usually minor, colds can make you feel miserable. It's tempting to try the latest remedy, but the best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Rest, drink fluids and keep the air around you moist. Remember to wash your hands frequently.
At Laki Naturals we have a variety of throat soaks, bath salts, and bath essentials that could be beneficial to soothing a cold. Try one of our bath soaks to draw out toxins in the body. We also carry a variety pack of throat soaks, made with real Hawaiian sea salt, zinc, elderberry, orange peel, chamomile, ginger, and other natural ingredients made to soothe a sore throat as well as many other benefits.