Natural Cold and Flu Remedies
|By Carolyn Wick, Purchasing Team Lead on Wednesday, January 11, 2012|
During cold and flu season, many people turn to over the counter medications to relieve their symptoms. There's another way to combat seasonal illness that utilizes herbs and other natural remedies. While many people prefer the former, some choose the latter since natural remedies generally have fewer side effects and can be just as effective. Below, you’ll find a list of natural remedies that you can try if cold or flu symptoms are making you miserable.
American Indians have used the echinacea plant for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. It's a native plant from the North America Plains, but nowadays, you can find it almost anywhere. This herb stimulates the production of properdin. This is a chemical that activates the immune defense against viral and bacterial attacks. Not only that, it also has antibacterial quality that makes it an effective treatment for various types of viral and bacterial infections including colds and flu. Echinacea can also effectively cleanse the blood by sweeping away dead cells as well as release white blood cells to combat infection.
Scientifically known as Olea europaea, this herb originated in Ancient Egypt. It was used in the early 1800s to fight high fevers. Some decades later, it was used as treatment for malaria. Over the centuries, olive leaf has become popular as a potent herb to fight diseases and infections. Various studies have been done to probe the powers of the olive leaf. Findings tell us that this plant extract can regulate levels of blood pressure, increase energy, support cardiovascular system and enhance the defensive mechanism of the immune system. It also has excellent antiviral compounds that can block viruses as they try to invade the host. Moreover, it has the ability to penetrate into infected cells to put a stop to any viral replication process.
Hawthorn was primarily known as a heart ailment remedy back in the first century. During the early 1800s, American doctors used it to treat diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Irregular heartbeat, chest pain, heart failure, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries were some of the health issues that hawthorn was used for. Nowadays, the leaves and flowers are used less for heart ailments but still used in other medicinal treatments. Since this plant contains antioxidants like quercetin and oligomeric procyandins (OPCs), it can help in the destruction of free radicals that cause damage to the cell membranes. It also works to strengthen the immune system, so the body has a better chance of fighting off viral infections like cold and flu.
Garlic has long been considered an effective remedy for cold and flu symptoms. A pungent herb that was originally used in Ancient Egypt, it was given to the slaves that built the Great Pyramids when they fell ill. Garlic has can boost the immune system and help the body fight infections effectively. Garlic also has antibacterial properties and contains powerful compounds such as allicin, one of the most potent natural antibiotics that can be found in the plant kingdom.
A close relative of garlic, onion also has the same infection-fighting properties. It also contains similar antiviral powers. For this reason, many alternative medicine proponents recommend the use of onions and leeks in cooking especially for people who have colds and flu.
Ginger has antiseptic, antioxidant, antiviral and pain relieving properties that make it one of the most effective natural remedies for cold and flu. It can also be used for treating sore throats as well as inflammation of the mucous membranes. Ginger also gives off a mild sedative effect that can ease pain and fever symptoms and enable you to rest properly. Drink it in tea form or soak fresh ginger in hot water. You can also use ginger when cooking or as an ingredient in a refreshing smoothie.
Vitamin C is one of the most well known cold and flu fighters. It's a powerful antioxidant that's extremely effective in providing relief for cold and flu symptoms. You can get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables like oranges, pineapples, grapes, ginger, bananas and cantaloupe. Incorporate dark leafy veggies into your meal.
Cold and flu symptoms are irritating, but they don't have to interrupt your life for long if you consider any of these potent natural remedies.
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