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Green Tips: Fight the Common Cold Naturally and Win

Exposure to cold germs is inevitable and most people get at least one or two colds per year. Besides following a healthy diet to maintain a strong immune system, the key is to attack it with natural remedies the minute you feel those initial symptoms.

Exposure to cold germs is inevitable and most people get at least one or two colds per year. 

My husband and I recently felt the symptoms of the common cold coming on--scratchy throat, sneezing, slight headache, runny nose--and we stopped it dead in its tracks.

Besides following a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to maintain a strong immune system, the key is to attack it with natural remedies the minute you feel those initial symptoms. The first thing I do is take Coldcalm, a homeopathic medicine you can buy at CVS. Follow the directions exactly. 

I also take extra Vitamin C (from supplements and Vitamin C rich foods) and Echinacea to boost my immune system. 

American Indians chewed Echinacea root for centuries to treat colds and flu. 

I drink several cups of hot water with a couple of tablespoons of fresh ginger (or powdered), cinnamon, lemon, and honey, which helps wash the virus right out.  Ginger contains nearly a dozen anti-viral compounds and has several chemicals that are particularly effective against common cold viruses. The lemon is rich in Vitamin C and the cinnamon and honey add healthy flavor. Rest is important too. 

Sometimes, however, your body just succumbs to a cold and the symptoms worsen.  

To the above remedies, add the tried and true cure of chicken soup with lots of garlic and onion, which contain several helpful anti-viral compounds including allicin, a potent, broad-spectrum natural antibiotic. If you don’t mind the taste and smell of garlic, a soup made only with garlic, broth and parsley is especially effective in lessening the duration of a cold. 

Elderberry contains compounds that are active against flu viruses and offers relief from fever and muscle aches. You can find elderberry syrup in the wellness section at Whole Foods and natural food stores. Slippery elm is a safe and effective throat soother and cough suppressant. It has actually been used for over 150 years and the FDA has now declared it to be effective in fighting throat and respiratory symptoms related to colds. 

I also take Coldeze, a zinc product sold at , which seems to shorten the length of a cold.

The above remedies are only suggestions that have worked for my family and me. If you take medications and/or have severe or persistent symptoms, always consult a doctor.  

Some information compiled from The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D.

For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

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