The common cold is more of a nuisance than a serious condition. In most cases it will have disappeared in around a week or so, and will cause mild sneezing, a runny nose, coughing or tiredness. The symptoms are not as severe as with the flu, and while we can’t vaccinate against the flu (as the virus is constantly changing), there are lots of things to help get rid of the cold, reduce the severity of the symptoms, or make your body tackle the cold virus much more quickly.
If you’re sick of counting on over-the-counter medication and a bunch of man-made chemicals, why not try using natural supplements? There is a number of natural supplements that you can incorporate into your diet which will both boost your immune system to protect you against the cold, and which can also help reduce your cold symptoms and get rid of the virus more quickly.
1 – Echinacea
Echinacea is a light pink flower that is part of the daisy family. They’re found in Central and Eastern North America and like to grow in open wooded areas. They are now collected and bottled as supplement thanks to their medicinal properties, and if you’re looking to get over your cold faster, you can’t go wrong with this natural supplement.
Echinacea supplement has been used for decades for treating lung problems. It has healing properties that help the lungs continue functioning at a high capacity, and while science still doesn’t completely understand how it works, we do know that it can help reduce the symptoms that come with your cold, and even help you get better much more quickly.
If you decide to use Echinacea, it’s important that you avoid the formulas available in a lot of health shops that call themselves an Echinacea ‘blend’. These blend formulas tend not to tell you the type of Echinacea used, or even the amount that is found within it, meaning that you might not be getting much of the supplement at all. Instead choose a product that offers a pure Echinacea extract, so you know exactly what you’re using.
To benefit from Echinacea as a cold remedy, you should begin using it as soon as you start experiencing any symptoms. Around 900mg of the extract can be divided up into three doses to be consumed throughout the day. Do this for between a week and two weeks and you’ll notice the cold symptoms becoming less severe and far more manageable. In many cases you won’t even need to use it for as long as two weeks as the cold will have subsided by then.
2 – Vitamin E
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, helping boost your immune system and making it perfect for people struggling with a cold. Not only is vitamin E great for reducing your cold symptoms, but if you consume enough of it, or take the supplements regularly, it can help stop you from getting a cold in the first place.
A study that took place at Tufts University took 451 adults under the age of 65. Each participant was either given a placebo or 200 IU of vitamin E every day during the experiment, and the end results showed that 74% of people who had taken the placebo experienced at least one infection that affected their respiratory system.
In contrast, 65% of the people who were being given the vitamin E experienced a respiratory infection, meaning that vitamin E caused a substantial 10% drop in cases of infections over winter.
3 – Vitamin D
This one’s a little interesting. Technically, if you already have enough vitamin D in your diet, this supplement won’t really have an effect on you if you are trying to heal a cold. However, if you don’t get enough sunshine on your skin, or you don’t eat enough vitamin D in your diet, then using the supplement could actually help you speed up healing from a cold.
Around 40% of people in America don’t get enough vitamin D in their diet, and when those people start using their supplements, it vastly reduces the chances that these people will develop a respiratory infection or even the common cold. Not only that, but if a vitamin D-deficient person starts taking the supplement during a cold, they will find that they will be able to recover far more quickly. This occurs as a result of vitamin D’s ability to help boost the immune system and allow your body to protect itself from infections and viruses.
You should be aware that it is possible to take too much vitamin D, however, so be careful not to overdo it. Be sure to use supplements that list exactly how much vitamin D is used, as many products actually contain more than you really need.
4 – Zinc
Finally, there’s zinc. Zinc is one of those bizarre nutrients that doesn’t sound like something we’d need in our body, but we really do! Zinc is absolutely necessary for our immune system to function properly, so the first step in stopping yourself from suffering from a cold is to ensure that your immune system is able to tackle bacterial infections and viruses.
Zinc can be consumed as a supplement and even as a lozenge, helping soothe your throat and reducing a number of cold symptoms at the same time. These lozenges are effective because zinc needs to make direct contact with your throat in order to help soothe your cold or even kill viruses. For this reason, don’t swallow or chew a zinc supplement – suck it!
Zinc supplements can be eaten throughout the day, but don’t have more than one every two hours. The dose of zinc in these lozenges are high enough to be effective, but too high to eat too frequently.