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Common Cold: Do Natural Remedies Actually Work?

When it comes to the common cold, everyone has their own solution. Some say to hit the pharmacy and get a scientifically-proven medication to get over or to prevent the cold, while others claim that natural remedies, such as Echinacea, are a better solution. And yet others claim that you should just let your body do the work on its own; after all, we do have an immune system for this.

But those who claim natural remedies are the way to go, do they actually work? Indeed, there is very little scientific evidence to say that natural remedies are effective, yet those who swear by them will tell you the opposite. In fact, there are numerous cases of people reaching for Echinacea at the first sign of a cold, and as a result they claim to avoid all and any cold that comes their way.

Echinacea has been the subject of several studies, most of which based on the best way to take the herb. One in particular, conducted by the Natural Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, showed that in the form of a juice and in an unrefined root variant, Echinacea was an ineffective agent to prevent the common cold. However, according to Dr. Paul Leopold, the problem was in the form of use. He suggests mixing 20 drops of Echinacea tincture along with warm water, similar to a loose-leaf tea. He also recommends that you drink this tea at least five times a day. Dr. Leopold also pointed out that this concoction is much more effective than a pill.

Another favorite that pundits of natural remedies swear by is ginseng. Many are aware of the power of ginseng as a way to boost stamina and energy, but it is also an effective tool in the fight against the common cold. A 2005 Canadian study showed that ginseng was a rather successful tool in easing the severity of the common cold while you have it as well as successfully preventing the illness before you succumb to it.

But it is not simply herbs that satisfy the natural or alternative medicine fans. Vitamin C is commonly considered a reliable way to fight the common cold. Vitamin C has been the subject of the most studies regarding natural remedies, and most experts agree that it is a useful product to keep in your medicine cabinet. Although it is very successful in fighting the common cold, it is not, on the other hand, a reliable tool to prevent one.

Zinc is commonly recommended by traditional doctors. In a study conducted in 1996 showed that by taking zinc tablets while you are suffering from the common cold will reduce the duration of the sickness from 7.6 days to only 4.4 days on average.

Even if you are not a firm believer in natural or alternative remedies, rest assured that if they do not help you fight the common cold, there is nothing harmful within them. Sure, they may not make you well, but they also won’t collapse your kidneys or liver, a claim that some pharmaceutical companies cannot claim.