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Information on Common Cold


Notes, Nutrients, Herbs/Supplements, and Advice

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Common Cold


About

The common cold is a mild viral infectious disease of the nose and throat; the upper respiratory system. Its symptoms are sneezing, sniffing, running/blocked nose (often these occur simultaneously, or one in each nostril), scratchy, sore, or phlegm throat, coughing, headache, and a general feeling of unwellness; they last between 3 to 10 days, with residual coughing lasting up to 3 weeks.

Notes


  • Allergies and colds have many of the same symptoms, making it hard to determine weather you have a cold or are having an allergy attack. The only way to determine if it is an allergy is to be tested by your physician.
  • Antibiotics and penicillin are useful to take for bacterial infections, such as strep throat, not viral infections. These drugs are of no use against viral infections. People keep trying to get their physicians to write them a prescription for antibiotics when they have a cold or flu. Overuse of antibiotics can cause them to be ineffective when they are really needed. Antibiotics will actually stop the body's defenses against viral invasions.
  • Bovine colostrums boosts your immune system, and it is thought that even if you get the cold or flu you will just get a mild case and recover quickly.
  • Dartmouth College researchers gave zinc lozenges to a group of thirty-five individuals suffering from a cold, and told them to take a lozenge every two hours. They then gave placebos to another group of thirty-five individuals with a cold. Those individuals that were given the zinc lozenges improved in an average of four days, but the placebo group suffered with their colds for another nine days.
  • Factors such as stress, poor diet will weaken the immune system. When this happens individuals are more apt to catch colds or flu. Viruses are sleeping in the body and just waiting for the right opportunity to strike, such as when you are stressed or run down.
  • Individuals that get frequent colds or the flu are advised to have their thyroid checked.
  • Interferon's are proteins formed when cells are exposed to a virus. It is possible that cold relief will be found in this substance. Interferon's appear to boost the respiratory tract's ability to ward off viruses. Vitamin C boosts interferon production.
  • Seventy-nine young adults were infected with a cold virus in a five-week study. It was discovered that the ones that were given the drug naproxen (Naprosyn), had almost a third fewer cold symptoms than those given a placebo.
  • The herb Echinacea contains polysaccharides which seems to boost the immune systems responses.
  • It is well known that there still is not a cure for the common cold. Once the cold takes hold it seems to last forever, therefore the best advise is to take good care of your health, eat nutritious foods and get good nights sleep, etc. to prevent getting the cold in the first place. Over-the-counter medications cannot cure a cold or flu. In most cases they may alleviate the symptoms somewhat.
  • Researchers in Britain may be one step closer to finding a cure for the common cold. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine (JAMA) showed an experimental drug called Tremacamra, cutting cold symptoms in half. It works by blocking the rhinovirus, a common virus that causes some colds. Despite these encouraging findings of the study, it is clear that the cure for the common cold is still not available. It is believed that a vaccine will never be developed for the common cold due to the fact that the viruses responsible are constantly changing in size and shapes, having hundreds of forms.
  • Some individuals find it hard to determine if they have a cold or the flu. Usually with a cold you will have a sore throat and/or coughing, but if you also have a fever then it is more likely that you will have the flu. Congestion in the chest should be checked out by the physician as this could be a sign of lung infections. Fevers above 1020F that last for more than three days should be checked out by a physician. Also see your physician if yellow or white spots are visible in the back of the throat, if lymph nodes under the jaw and in the neck become enlarged or if chills and shortness of breath occur.
Helpful nutrients for this condition.


Echinacea and Goldenseal
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances immune system. Stops spread of the virus. Alcohol-free echinacea and goldenseal combination is recommended.

Vitamin A
Importance: Very High
Comments: Boosts immune system. Aids in healing inflamed mucous membranes.

Beta carotene
Importance: Very High
Comments: Antioxidant. Forerunner of vitamin A.

Carotenoid complex (Betatene)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Antioxidant. Forerunner of vitamin A.

Vitamin C
Importance: Very High
Comments: Combats cold viruses. Buffered vitamin C or calcium ascorbate is recommended for children.

Zinc
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances immune system. Take at first sign of a cold.

Free-form amino acid complex
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Provides necessary protein.

Garlic
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Antibiotic. Stimulates immune system.

L-lysine
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Kills viruses. Protects against cold sores in and around mouth. Caution: Lysine should be taken for a maximum of 6 months.


Helpful herbs and supplements for this condition.


Boneset
Type: Internal
Purposes: Boneset relieves the aches and pains, and helps the body to deal with fevers.

Catnip Tea and Lobelia Tincture
Type: Internal/External
Purposes: Catnip tea is useful for relieving fevers when used as an enema and given with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. of lobelia tincture every three to four hours until fever is gone. It can also be given in this way to children over two years of age to reduce fevers.
Cautions: Lobelia is not to be taken internally for extended periods.

Cats Claw
Type: Internal
Purposes: Cats Claw is believed to have antiviral and antibacterial properties and has the ability to fight against and rid the body of the cold viruses.

Chuan xin Lian
Type: Internal
Purposes: Chuan Xin Lian (Andrographis pills) recommended by Chinese herbalists for relieving inflammation from the body. A strong natural anti-microbial herb, it is useful in treating fever and expelling mucus from respiratory tract.

Astragalus
Type: Internal
Purposes: Astragalus is native to northern China and the elevated regions of the Chinese provinces. It is said that Astragalus Root strengthens and restores normal immune function. Researchers believe that Astragalus may increase the production of the body's T-cells (white blood cells), that are known to protect healthy cells while defending against unhealthy cells.

Ephedra (ma huang)
Type: Internal
Purposes: Ephedra has antiviral effects against influenza, severe colds, coughing, and congestion.
Cautions: This herb should not be used by people who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or suffering from high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, dehydration, anxiety, heart disease, or insomnia.

Echinacea and Goldenseal
Type: Internal
Purposes: Both these herbs are immune boosters and are natural antibiotics that if taken at the onset of a cold or flu will help to prevent further symptoms. Echinacea has also been found beneficial in the treatments of bronchitis, respiratory infections, cold, and flu.
Dosage: Adults: 1 drop in your mouth, hold for 5 minutes before swallowing. Repeat every 3 hours for 3 days. Children: 8-10 drops in their mouth, hold for a few minutes, or as long as possible before swallowing. Repeat every 2 hours for 3 days. After 3 days place 8 - 10 drops in liquid daily until symptoms are gone.
Cautions: Goldenseal is not to be used if you are pregnant. Goldenseal should not be taken for more than one week at a time. If you have the following conditions: history of heart disease, diabetes or glaucoma consult your physical before using the herb Goldenseal.

Elderberry
Type: Internal
Purposes: Elderberry is antiviral, antibiotic and antibacterial. This herb has been successfully used treat coughs, colds, fevers, upper respiratory infections for many years. Reduces excessive mucus, expels phlegm, and promote heavy perspiration and sweating lowering fevers.

Eucalyptus Oil, Rosemary Oil, Sage Oil
Type: Internal
Purposes: Eucalyptus Oil used as an inhalant works as an expectorant, loosening mucus thus making it easier to cough it up and out of the chest. Adding Rosemary and Sage Oil to a bath is also helpful breaking up congestion.
Dosage: Put 5 drops of Eucalyptus Oil in a hot bath. As an inhalant, place 6 drops in 2 cups boiling water, place a towel over your head and inhale deeply through your nose for 5 minutes.
Cautions: Do not get too close to the inhalant as it will be very hot and can cause burns.

Ginger, Pau d'arco, Slippery Elm, and Yarrow Tea
Type: Internal
Purposes: These four herbs are all useful in treating the common cold. Ginger has been used to rid the body of mucus buildup in the sinuses, throat and lungs. Slippery Elm soothes a sore throat. Yarrow Tea induces sweating which helps to lower fevers in colds, and flu. Pau d'Arco bark has been beneficial in treating colds.

Hyssop Tea  (an evergreen, bushy herb)
Type: Internal
Purposes: Has antispasmodic and expectorant properties and has proven effective in treating respiratory problems, relieving the heavy, congested feelings in the chest and head. Reduces phlegm and stuffy nose.

Mullein
Type: Internal
Purposes: Mullein is an excellent expectorant that stimulates the cough reflex, clearing out congestion, and expelling excess respiratory phlegm and mucus.

Red Clover
Type: Internal
Purposes: Red Clover has expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to expel phlegm from the lungs and chest and is effective in relieving colds, dry, unproductive coughs.

Tea Tree Oil and Goldenseal Extract
Type: Internal
Purposes: Clinical studies have proven it to be effective in treating sinusitis and sore throats. Can be used safely as a gargle, but very little is needed to achieve results, therefore use it sparingly. Add 3 to 6 drops of pure tea tree oil to warm water and use as a gargle. Gargle 3 times daily. Tea Tree lozenges should also be used, slowly dissolve a lozenge in your mouth slowly. Repeat as often as needed. Goldenseal extract can be used alternately.

Wild Cherry Bark
Type: Internal
Purposes: It has antitussive, cough controlling qualities and is very soothing to the throat.

Advice


  • Always flush tissues.
  • For cold symptoms take vitamin C and zinc lozenges every 3 hrs on the first day.
  • Hot broths help symptoms of colds. Try chicken or turkey broth and potato peeling broth 2 times a day.
  • Keep your hands to yourself; this is the fastest way to spread to other people.
  • Keep your hands washed to keep from spreading the virus.
  • Stay active lying in bed will only make you feel worse.