Complementary Therapies for the Common Cold

images for herbs in beverages article When a cold strikes, many people think of antibiotics to treat it. However, antibiotics are not effective against colds because colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics are designed to fight bacteria, not viruses. Unfortunately, this means you have to ride it out, though you can relieve bothersome symptoms.What about natural therapies? The evidence may still be inconclusive, but some of these natural therapies may help minimize the misery of a cold. Consider these examples:

Pelargonium sidoides

How Does It Work?

Pelargonium sidoides (EPs) is a plant that grows in South Africa. It is traditionally used in southern Africa for treating respiratory problems. The root of the plant is what is used for treatment.

How Could It Help?

Liquid herbal solutions containing EPs may be effective in treating the common cold and improving symptoms. EPs may also reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the cold.

How Do I Use It?

A typical adult dose of EPs extract is 30 drops three times daily. However, follow the instructions on the label for proper dosage.

Zinc

How Does It Work?

Zinc, in the form of zinc gluconate or zinc acetate, can be used to treat a cold. These forms of zinc release ions that directly inhibit viruses in the nose and throat.

How Could It Help?

Zinc may be effective in shortening the duration and severity of a cold, especially when taken within 24 hours of the start of the cold.

How Do I Use It?

Cold remedies that contain zinc are generally in the form of nasal sprays or throat lozenges. Dosage varies depending on the form and how it is taken. Zinc in these forms is well tolerated and safe when taken as directed. However, excess intake of zinc can cause serious problems. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about dosing and drug interactions.

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