Herbal Supplements
Common Cold and Herbal Remedies


Common cold (or acute viral nasopharyngitis) is the most common human disease. It is a mild viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system. Common cold usually lasts not more than three or five days with residual coughing and catarrh lasting approximately for 3 weeks. Typically common cold is not life-threatening, while its complications (such as pneumonia) can lead to death, if not properly treated.


General symptoms are so familiar to everybody: sneezing, sore throat, cough, and headache, swelling of sinuses, fever, and difficulty in breathing through the nose and mucus buildup in the nose. These symptoms usually reveal into two or three days after infection. The symptoms may last up to fourteen days, but usually recovery comes in a week. Higher fever, swollen glands, severe sinus pain and cough with mucus may require may be the sign of complications and require medical attention.


The symptoms of common cold are caused by more than two hundred known viruses. Rhinoviruses rarely produce serious illnesses, while parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus produce mild infections in adults but in young children can cause severe lower respiratory infections. The symptoms of the cold are typical responses to the infection. Twenty-five percent of people who get cold virus infection do not develop any symptoms at all. Seasonal conditions and changes in the relevant humidity also play significant role in the spread of common cold. Viruses survive and spread better during the cold months, when the humidity is low and the inside lining of the nose becomes drier and more vulnerable to viral infections.

Medical Approaches

The treatment of the common cold is targeted on the relief of its symptoms. For a scratchy and sore throat gargling with warm salted water and using throat sprays is usually effective. Aspirin or acetaminophen helps for the headache or fever, antihistamines provide relief from runny nose and watery eyes. Inhaling steam may temporarily relieve symptoms of congestion. And, of course, large doses of Vitamin C reduce the effects of common cold. Doctors also advise resting in bed and drinking plenty of fluids to fasten the relief from the illness.

Alternative Approaches

For centuries traditional herbal medicine has been using herbal remedies to treat various symptoms of common cold.

Astragalus protects nasal passages from rhinoviruses and boosts immune system.

Echinacea is known to reduce susceptibility to colds by stimulating immune system and to speed recovery. It shows the best effect when taken at the outset of the cold.

Ginger possesses anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic properties. It can be taken in capsules, herbal tea, cooked into dishes or capsule-sized pieces.

Grapefruit seed extract is a wonderful anti-viral agent. It comes in syrup forms and ear dropper bottles. Grapefruit seed extract is the most effective when taken internally.

And finally, garlic and onion, the plants belonging to the same family, are highly appreciated for their anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Garlic, though, is stronger than onion in fighting microorganisms. Remember, that garlic is blood-thinning and should not be taken in big amounts while using drugs that have the same action.

2009-11-03 11:33:11
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