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Common Cold Remedies - Herbs and Supplements that Work



Looking for natural common cold remedies that work?

The common cold is a viral infection involving the throat and nose. After catching the cold virus, it takes one to three days before the symptoms appear.

Symptoms of the cold include coughing, sore throat, a runny nose, a stuffy nose, sneezing and watery eyes.

Below is a list of natural remedies that have been traditionally used to treat the symptoms of the cold.

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Natural Common Cold Remedies

See Common Cold for just a quick list of the supplements discussed below.
Natural Remedy What experts say about these common cold remedies
Vitamin C
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal (What's this?)

There are controversies over the effectiveness of using vitamin C to prevent and cure the common cold. Studies show that taking vitamin C does shorten the duration of the cold by up to one and a half day. It also seems to lessen the severity of the symptoms.

Dose: Take 1,000 to 3,000 mg (1 to 3 grams) daily. Divide into two doses. Higher doses (megadoses) have been used.

Click here to jump to the full review on vitamin C and to get detailed information on megadose therapy.
 
Zinc
(Lozenges and
nasal sprays)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Zinc lozenges relieve the symptoms of sore throat and runny nose. It also seems to reduce the duration of the common cold. Studies in lab show that zinc interferes with viral replication.

Zinc nasal sprays seem to be even more effective than the lozenges. Clinical studies show that in the nasal spray group, 74% of the subjects experienced reduction in symptoms compared to only 53% for the lozenges group.

Dose: Use lozenges containing 13 to 25 mg of zinc gluconate or acetate. Allow one lozenge to slowly dissolve in the mouth every 2 hours while awake. Start taking the lozenges at the first sign of the cold.

Mild side effects from the lozenges include a bad taste in the mouth, nausea and vomiting.

Note: Studies using other forms of zinc didn't show any benefit. Stick with zinc gluconate or acetate lozenges.
 
Echinacea
(Echinacea purpurea)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Several clinical studies support the fact that echinacea reduces the severity and duration of the common cold symptoms. This is one of the most popular common cold remedies.

Dose: Take 500 mg four times daily of the raw herb on the first day, then use 250 mg four times daily for up to 10 days. Tincture - Use 2 to 4 mL four to six times daily.

Note: Studies don't seem to show that it can prevent the cold. Avoid using in children as there are reports of allergic reactions such as rash.
 
Ginseng leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Ginseng is shown to stimulate the immune system and can be helpful in preventing and treating the common cold.

Dose: Take 100 mg daily to prevent catching the cold. Higher dosages have been used. Click here to get the full review and other dosages for ginseng.
 
Garlic leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Some clinical studies show that taking garlic regularly seems to reduce the chance of catching the cold and the flu. This is one of the many popular common cold remedies.

Dose: Take 200 to 400 mg up to three times daily.
 
Andrographis
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Andrographis is shown in clinical studies to help reduce the symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold. There is some evidence that using andrographis can reduce the risk of catching the cold by up to 50%.

Andrographis stimulates the immune system and increases the activity of germ-fighting white blood cells. It also seems to have anti-allergic activities to help with symptoms such as running nose and watery eyes.

Dose: Take 400 mg three times daily to treat the cold. Start within 72 hours of the appearance of cold symptoms. Dosage of 200 mg once a day for five days per week is used to prevent the cold.
  
Propolis leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Extracts of propolis reduce the cold symptoms and duration in children. Studies done in adults also show that it helped shorten the duration of the cold faster than a placebo.

Dose: Take 500 mg one or two times daily.
  
Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

There is some evidence that taking astragalus may reduce the chances of catching the common cold. Studies show that it can boost the immune system and have a positive effect on the immune cells in our body.

Dose: Dosages used to prevent the cold is 4 to 7 grams daily. Higher doses should be used with caution.
 
Sage leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Sage shows antiviral activities in animal and lab studies. Mouthwash containing sage is shown to reduce the pain from sore throat. It is popular in Europe for treating mouth and throat inflammation. The German Commission E approves its use for sore throat.

Dose: Infusion - Use 3 grams of the herb in 150 mL of water or use 3 drops of the essential oil in 100 mL of warm water. Gargle up to three times daily or as often as needed to get relief from sore throat.
 
Slippery Elm
(Ulmus rubra)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Slippery elm lozenges seem to help treat the pain from a sore throat. It is a demulcent, soothing and protecting an irritated mucous membrane.

Dose: As a lozenge, follow manufacturer's direction. A typical lozenge contains about 150 mg of slippery elm.
  
Elderberry leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Elderberry is a rich source of anthocyanidins, tannins, flavonoids and rutin. These chemical substances are known to benefit and regulate the immune system in our body as well as acting as an antioxidant.

Elderberry juice seems to reduce the severity of the symptoms and shortens the duration of the flu by about 50%. Some experts believe that it can also help with cold symptoms.

Dose: Typical dose used is 15 mL (1 tablespoon) taken up to four times daily. Take within 2 days of the start of symptoms for maximum benefit.
   
Cordyceps leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Cordyceps is shown to regulate and boost the immune system. It may be helpful in treating viral infections.

Dose: Take 500 mg two or three times daily.
 
Goldenseal leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Goldenseal may provide relief from the pain of a sore throat. It possesses antiviral and immune boosting effects in laboratory studies.

Dose: Typical dosage is 4 to 6 grams of the root extract taken up to three times daily.
 
Oil of Oregano leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Oil of oregano shows potent activity against viruses and may be helpful in killing off the cold virus.

Dose: Herbalists suggest using 500 mg up to four times daily as per manufacturer directions.
 
Boneset
(Eupatorium perfoliatum)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

In lab studies on cells, boneset seems to boost immune cell functions. It is traditionally used to help cure viral infections.

Dose: Steep 1 to 2 grams of the herb in 150 mL of boiling water. Drink three times daily.
Extract (1:1) - Use 1 to 2 mL three times daily.
 
Peppermint Oil Helpful

Peppermint oil seems to help treat sinus and chest congestion.

Dose: Use 3 to 4 drops of peppermint oil in 150 mL of hot water and inhale up to three times daily to help with nasal congestion.

Humidifier - Peppermint oil along with eucalyptus oil may be added to humidifier.
 
Eucalyptus Oil Helpful

Similar to peppermint oil, eucalyptus may be helpful with sinus and chest congestion.

Dose: Use 3 to 4 drops of eucalyptus oil in 150 mL of hot water and inhale up to three times daily.

Humidifier - The essential oil may be added to a humidifier along with peppermint oil.
 
Ginger
(Zingiber officinale)
Helpful

Ginger is well known for helping with nausea and vomiting in motion sickness. Ginger will also help treat sore throat, fever and pain. It will settle the stomach and reduce coughing. As well, it has a sedative effect, helping you sleep better at night.

Dose: Take 500 mg or use the tea formulation. Use up to four times daily as needed for the duration of the cold.
 
Probiotics Helpful

Probiotics contain bacteria that are found naturally in the digestive system. It will help to restore balance and enhance the immune system. Some evidence suggests that it might help to prevent the common cold.

Dose: Take yogurt or lactobacillus capsules containing at least 1 billion live cells. Take one to three times daily with food for the duration of the cold symptoms.
 
Catnip Helpful

Catnip is classified as a diaphoretic (promotes sweating), thus it may be helpful in treating colds with a fever.

Dose: Use prepared tea bags or make a decoction by boiling 1 to 2 teaspoon in a cup of water (250 mL) for 10 minutes. Drink three times daily.
 
Aniseed
Blackberry
Blueberry
Borage seed oil
Forsythia
Honeysuckle
Stinging nettle
Yarrow
Helpful

These following common cold remedies have been traditionally used to treat all the symptoms.

Some of these herbs have been shown to have antiviral activities and immune boosting activity in lab studies. Others, such as blueberry and blackberry show anti-inflammatory benefits and is traditionally used to treat sore throat and other cold symptoms.
 
See Common Cold for just a quick list of the supplements discussed above.





Want Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about the Common Cold?

The article Common Cold gives you all the answers about the common cold. It answers questions about the difference between the cold and the flu, what you can do to prevent catching it and the diet you should be on.


leaf logo herbal plant natural remedies review

Related Articles and Resources for Common Cold Remedies


Review of Immune System Boosters - Remedies that Work

Vitamin C - What else does it work for other than the cold?



Jump to the Common Cold Home Page

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References for Common Cold Remedies
Created: November 21, 2010

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