Summertime Cold? Natural Remedies that May Work for You
Living in Argentina puts me in the opposite seasons as those I write for. Even though many don’t think of Argentina as a "cold" place, it can actually get quite chilly. Here many are going through the common winter cold, myself included, which has inspired me to share a bit of information relating to natural remedies for this viral infection that can’t be treated with antibiotics. Even though it is less likely to come down with a cold in the summer, it can still happen, and it’s helpful to know how to pass through it as quickly as possible with solutions that are much more effective then over-the-counter cold medicines.
The common cold is an upper respiratory infection that usually attacks when the immune system is weakened due to any number of factors including diet, stress, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, etc. First and foremost, it’s important to keep the immune system in tip-top shape to help you avoid colds in the first place. Many of the suggestions below are just as good at preventing as they are at treating the virus itself.
A heavy dose of Vitamin C may be one of the best solutions out there in my experience. Possibly you have heard of a Vitamin C flush which involves taking a high dosage of Vitamin C (preferably in ascorbate or powder form) every hour until you reach a point of diarrhea, an indicator that you’ve reached the maximum amount of Vitamin C that your body can tolerate. The next step is to then take that amount (the total of what you consumed on day 1 until you reached your tolerance point), 3 times daily for the next 2 days. This could be as much as 12g of Vitamin C every 4 to 5 hours, depending on the individual. If at any point, you experience diarrhea, cut back by 1g at the next dosage. After 2 days of this, you should notice a remarkable difference in your symptoms at which point you can begin to wean yourself off of the high dosage slowly until you’ve healed completely. If the idea of a flush doesn’t feel right to you, instead just try taking a higher dosage then normal and see if your body responds (2-4g). Either way, a vitamin C supplement when you’re sick should be very helpful.
A healthy gut may be one of the most important aspects of good health. As mentioned in my previous posts, it’s extremely important for brain health and can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. However, it also appears to be equally valuable for combating viruses, by impacting the immune system. A new study published in Medical News Today, indicates that our SAD (Standard American Diet) consisting of highly processed food and the overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial cleansers has produced a gut lacking the right balance of good and bad bacteria for many of us. As the study in Genome Research reports, the human gut plays a key role in the body’s wellbeing and defense against disease. Even though there are a number of good probiotic supplements on the market containing billions of beneficial bacteria, and even better source (containing trillions) are food based. One can easily produce their own fermented or cultured foods at home, which consumed on a daily basis, will provide more health benefits then one can possibly imagine.
Natural News reports that coconut oil has anti-viral properties that can support an increased white blood cell count and heightened immune system, exactly what the body needs to fight off viruses. The key to these claims stems from the lauric acid found in coconut oil, which gets converted into a monoglyceride called Monolaurin, which can destroy some viruses. It is also said to support a healthy heart, good skin, proper thyroid function, diabetes and more.
Many studies have been done on the efficacy of Echinacea, so much so that it’s one of the most common known herbal remedies for boosting immune function and fighting off colds. You can now find Echinacea in just about any supermarket, pharmacy or store that sells supplements. A review of over 700 studies, as reported in the New York Times in 2007, concluded that Echinacea reduces the risk of catching a cold (by 58%) as well as the duration of a cold, although that conclusion remains controversial even amongst researchers. Even so, in my view, it’s an ideal alternative remedy to try when combating a cold virus.
The flowers and berries from this robust plant are said to have many medicinal benefits for the flu, colds and coughs. Like some of the others listed above, it has anti-viral and immune fighting properties that some say are more powerful then claims made about Echinacea. Elderberry can be taken as a tea, extract or supplement. One study tested the efficacy of an oral extract in the treatment of influenza A and B viruses and found that participants taking Elderberry were relieved from flu-like symptoms 4 days earlier then those taking the placebo which are very encouraging results.
There are many others not mentioned in this post, including those commonly talked about such as honey (kills bacteria), lemon (alkalizes the body lessoning the chance of disease survival), ginger (anti-inflammatory and immune system booster), garlic (kills bacteria, viruses and fungi) and zinc (preventing respiratory viruses from reproducing or latching onto cell membranes to cause infection). If you have any others that have worked for you, please feel free to share with the community. Enjoy a healthy summer
 Vitamin c is essential for fighting infections, wound healing and coping with stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.healthy.co.nz/ailment/2084-vitamin-c-antioxidant-connective-tissue-wound-healing.html
 Host-specific microbiota appears to be critical for a healthy immune system. (2012, July 25). Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/246932.php
 Viruses worldwide battled by gut microbes. (2012, July 25). Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247040.php
 Mercola, J. (2012, July 14). Viruses worldwide battled by gut microbes. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/07/14/gut-microbes-for-healthy-immune-system.aspx?e_cid=20120714_DNL_artNew_1
 Walling, E. (2011, February 19). Use coconut oil to fight colds this season. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/031403_coconut_oil_colds.html
 This cooking oil is a powerful virus-destroyer and antibiotic. (2010, October 22). Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx
 Bakalar, N. (2007, July 24). Echinacea helps colds, major review shows. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/health/24echi.html?ei=5088&en=a9c13e7e17a68392&ex=1342929600&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1185302208-ZTeDNGStfu4vAVqcpugLZg
 Pubmed.gov. "Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections," Z Zakay-Rones, et al. The Journal of International Medical Research, March-April 2004: 32(2):132-40.
 Goodman, B (2011, February 15). Zinc may prevent and shorten colds. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20110215/zinc-may-prevent-and-shorten-colds
Kara wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Food & Nutrition.