Many families exchange germs along with gifts at celebrations, making the winter holiday season a prime time for catching a cold.1
There are two main ways to deal with a cold: surpress the symptoms, so that you can function during the 7-10 days an average cold lasts, or deal with the cause of it, so that it’s over as soon as possible.2 Conquer and cure.
Why Suppressing Your Body’s Natural Defenses is a Bad Idea
While you may feel well enough to almost function normally if you suppress the symptoms, you may prolong the length of your cold.3 Many cold symptoms, like the fever and sneezing, are your body’s way of getting rid of the virus.4 They’re part of your immune system response. No one has yet been silly enough to suggest that because swollen glands are uncomfortable, medicine needs to be developed to stop them from producing white blood cells! Because white blood cells and other blood factors produced in the glands are a big part of what the body uses to kill viruses and other infections, trying to stop that process would result in becoming even sicker.5
Fevers are one of your body’s defense mechanisms.6 Many viruses and bacteria can’t survive in higher temperatures, so the fever at the very least reduces the rate at which they reproduce, slowing the illness down and making it milder. At best, a fever will kill the germs on its own, but it is quite an uncomfortable way to go.
The violent sneezing that is often your first symptom is also one of your body’s defenses.7 Your body is attempting to expel the virus far, far away from you! Many people will take something to stop it at this point, with the result that the virus is trapped inside the warm, moist environment of your airways, the perfect setting in which to multiply.
Supporting Your Immune System
One of the best things you can do is to support your immune system.8 This may even prevent your cold in the first place, and it makes short work of conquering your cold if you start doing these things as soon as you experience your first typical set of symptoms, such as rapid sneezing.
Up Your Vitamin D Intake
Several recent studies have shown that most Americans are deficient in vitamin D.9 Because vitamin D is either a catalyst for or catalyzed by some of the most crucial major minerals and vitamins in the body, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and vitamin C. When your body can’t use the levels you may be eating of these nutrients due to low levels of vitamin D, all of your systems can be affected, including your immune system.10
Vitamin D levels tend to be lowest in the winter, it only makes sense that people tend to get sick more in the winter. Yet most of North America and Europe are too far north for people to be able to get enough vitamin D via the sun.11
You can get too much vitamin D if it’s artificial, although even then it’s difficult. Cod liver oil has the highest natural content.12
Take Vitamin B-Complex and Vitamin C Hourly
B-complex helps your system have more energy to deal with the invaders. It’s water soluble, so if you have more in your system than you need, you’ll quickly get rid of it. But as you’re fighting an infection, your body’s needs will greatly increase.13
Vitamin C has been shown to make it more difficult for viruses to live. Intravenous vitamin C has been used in severe situations with success. Some pharmacists and doctors recommend taking 1 gram of vitamin C (1000 mg) each hour until you have diarrhea, a sign that your system is saturated.14
These two strategies alone can make it impossible for the virus to get a foothold in your system. The author’s extended family, which includes doctors, pharmacists and nurses, has been using the vitamin C suggestion for over 20 years with success.
If You Can’t Fight It Off
If your symptoms don’t abate and you do end up getting sick, there are still things you can do. The first is to take things which kill the germs. The second is to do things that continue to support your body’s efforts. The last is to do things that help your symptoms feel better without thwarting your immune system.
Kill The Wabbit
Or the “Bugs”. Many people report that drinking a mug of hot water that contains a tablespoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar, both raw if possible, can quickly knock back a cold or flu before it can get a good hold. Vinegar is proven to kill many germs.15 Honey was one of the main components of mummification in Egypt because of its antimicrobial properties.16
Another proven remedy, although slower, is coconut oil. As odd as that may sound, several peer-reviewed studies show that the medium-chain fatty acid that is on average 57% of the weight of coconut oil kills 29 classes of viruses; most bacteria and many fungi.17 Because of this several drug companies are attempting to come up with a drug composed of this fatty acid. It’s also the reason coconut oil is a major component of the feeds given to transplant patients.
Used in tandem with the lauric acid from coconut oil is thymol. Thymol is derived from oregano, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Studies have found the combination of lauric acid and thymol to be more effective against MRSA than the most cutting-edge antibiotics.18 They both affect viruses, bacteria and fungi, while antibiotics only affect bacteria.
While you’re waiting for the bug killers to work, you may still feel miserable. There are several things that can help.
Soup Like Your Grandma Used to Make
Or maybe it was your grandma’s grandma who used to make broth by boiling bones and even inedible things like feet, along with some vinegar. This is called “bone broth”, and is much higher in a variety of nutrients than modern broth. The vinegar helps draw various minerals, including the often-overlooked magnesium, from the bones. It also aids in drawing out the protein, which results in a high gelatin content. Gelatin is also a know anti-viral food.19
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup is excellent when you have a cold. It’s got the antioxidants and heat from the hot peppers that can help clear out your head and gives you nutrients you need. The combination of garlic, onion, and woodear mushrooms is known to be helpful for hearth health.20 It has protein from the pork and eggs. And if you get it from a place you know makes it from scratch, it may very well be made using bone broth.
Indian medicine is known for being observation-based, yet ancient. Yogi Teas makes a series of excellent, effective teas that are useful when you’re suffering cold symptoms, yet support rather than surpress the immune system:
- Cold Season Tea helps with sinus congestion, sneezing and overall aches, and contains herbs with a naturally high thymol content.
- Breathe Deep Tea relaxes airways and acts as an expectorant. It can also help asthma symptoms.
- Throat Comfort eases sore throats and has an effect on sinus drainage.
- Echinachea Immune Support helps build the immune system and acts as a mild expectorant.
It’s a good idea to pick the ones that match your symptoms and rotate them.
If you’re successful with the advice in the first section, you may never progress to this last section.
Getting the yuck out of your sinuses can also be done manually can also be done using a Neti Pot. The salt water, besides sweeping away blockages, also can help dry out your sinuses, making them a less-hospitable host.
18Preuss HG, Echard B, Dadgar A, Talpur N, Manohar V, Enig M, Bagchi D, Ingram C. Effects of Essential Oils and Monolaurin on Staphylococcus aureus: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods 2005;15:279-285.
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