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Natural remedies for a head cold?

By December 27, 2008 - 8:36am
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I tried this year, I really did. I amped up my Vitamin C intake through supplements, eating broccoli and strawberries, but still ended up with an annoying head cold. I also try very hard to take as little over-the-counter or prescription medicine as I possibly can. So my questions is ... does anyone out there know of a natural remedy for my congestion? I've read about the so-called 'pots' that help, but heard these are pretty messy. Any other options?

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EmpowHER Guest

We've used three remedies and a saline rinse to kick my husband's head cold.

Not for the faint of taste buds, but extremely effective, if you do it about 3 time a day, every day until you feel better.

If you're starting from scratch, count on a bill of about $15-$20 at the health food store, $30 if you pick up some elderberry syrup for immunity, too . Worth it.

1) Drink about 2Tbsp UNFILTERED apple cider vinegar in some water or green tea (sends a shiver up your spine!)
2) follow with a spoonful of RAW honey (palate cleanser?)
3) Sip on some hot tomato tea: heat tomato juice, lemon juice, garlic and cayenne (we ran out, so we used up the end of a jar of sambal olek, thai chili-garlic paste. yum.), pureed or chopped and mixed in a bit of H2O sprinkled with celery salt for flavor.

We don't have a neti pot - he just uses salt water and the baby's plastic bulb syringe in the shower


May 16, 2009 - 4:59pm

There are over two hundred viruses that potentially cause colds. Any of these viruses could infect the upper respiratory tract. In response to an invasion of any of these airborne viruses, the membranes that line the nose and the throat become swollen and start producing additional mucus. The result is congestion, sneezing, head colds, etc. The fact that you are taking Vitamin C and you continue to get “head colds” could be indicating that you need to reinforce your immune system by stimulating your body’s natural defenses. Have you noticed a pattern? Do you get your head colds during change of season, i.e. in the winter? Do they last a few days or more than ten days? Are there any other symptoms such as fever?

Some of the medical literature suggest that more than two colds per year in an adult be also be an indication of an underlying toxicity in the body. Some researchers suggest that the body uses the cold virus as a way of detoxifying itself through mucus elimination and reduced appetite. It is possible that in many cases this may be true. Not sure if you are among those people and maybe you can consult your doctor.

Here are a few things that weaken the immune system and if you answer YES to any of them, you may want to consider making some changes:

1. Poor lifestyle habits i.e. sleeping less than 6 hours per day, smoking, lack of exercise
2. Nutritional deficiencies, i.e. raw vegetable deficiencies, high consumption of alcohol, dehydration from lack of water drinking, food sensitivities.
3. Exposure to toxics, i.e. old buildings, mold, smoking, chemicals
4. High stress levels

Addressing those listed above may help your immune system utilize the Vitamin C you are taking. Avoid refined sugars in your diet because it depresses the immune system this include fruit juices that come in bottles or cans unless you dilute the sugar contained in them. Also avoid milk and other dairy products while you are sick as they encourage the production of mucus and make your symptoms worse. In addition to Vitamin C, you may want to consider:

1. Zinc lozenge form is the best, 15 -20 mg during the day at least every 2 hours the day on onset.
2. Zinc nasal sprays tend to be more effective.
3. Ginger tea several cups daily or capsules (500-1,000 mg) a couple of times a day.
4. Astragalus is also good for preventing common colds. Take 500-1,000mg or 3.0ml of a tincture two/three times daily. DO NOT take Astragalus if you are running a fever.
5. Garlic supports the immune system when used long term, capsules or the natural form.
6. Echinacea in combination with goldenseal are herbs known to enhance immune function

PLENTY OF WATER ALWAYS! Proper hydration helps eliminate toxins from the body via the digestive system and urinary track. Consider using electrolytes to prevent mineral loss.

December 29, 2008 - 8:59pm

Tina -- Are you talking about the Neti Pot? If so, I'd suggest trying it. It's not so bad, once you get over the fact that you are pouring water in your nose. It really does a good job.

December 28, 2008 - 9:32am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to joanna)

Indeed. I wouldn't have said it was messy either, so long as you stand over a sink when using your neti-pot!

July 9, 2009 - 8:35am

I agree with what miscortes mentioned about massage. I've been having fairly regular massages for a few months now and I've been surprisingly healthy, even when my three kids are passing colds around that they've picked up at school. I had a bad cold recently and made a point to get a massage, and afterwards felt that it really made a difference with the congestion. I believe there's really something about getting toxins out through massage.

December 27, 2008 - 10:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am a person that hates to take anything that is over the counter. The Farmers Almanac provides some information on natural remedies for head congestion and colds.

• Apply ice pack to neck and upper back for tension headaches caused by stress, worry, depression, anger or food allergies.

• Make a cold herbal compress by wetting a cloth in ice-cold water or placing a damp cloth in the freezer for ten minutes. Add two drops of peppermint oil to the cloth and apply it to the painful area for 15 minutes.

• Apply a hot water bottle, hot towel or heating pad to the neck and shoulders to relax tight muscles.

• To relieve headache pressure and pain caused by sinus congestion have someone gently massage your shoulders and the back of your neck. This treatment often unblocks congestion in the sinuses.

• Massage combined drops of peppermint oil and wintergreen oil into the temples and nape of the neck to relieve tension. Massage sinus region of the face to relieve sinus headaches. Keep salve away from the eyes.

• Consume fiber daily to remove toxins from your system.

• Soaking your feet in a footbath will divert the blood supply from your head to your feet. The water should be at a temperature of 95°F to begin with. Gradually add hot water to the foot basin until the temperature reaches 115°F. Soak feet for several minutes then pour in cold water until the water becomes lukewarm. Dry feet and put on wool or thick socks. Lie down for 15 to 20 minutes.

• Herbs such as lavender, gingko biloba and feverfew may relieve headache pain. Feverfew should not be taken when pregnant. Discuss appropriate herbal treatments with your naturopathy professional.

Other things like a humidifier and a dose of honey can be great for head congestion. There was a story that I read about a family in Pittsburgh. The FDA said that cold medicines should not be used by children under the age of 6 and that a family found alternative methods for curing the congestion. You can read the full story here http://www.wpxi.com/health/14823823/detail.html?rss=burg&psp=news.

I hope this helps.

December 27, 2008 - 11:07am
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