A cold is a viral illness that causes symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, sneeze, cough, nasal congestion and a mild fever. It usually occurs in colder seasons and more commonly affects children. The Cleveland Clinic notes that a cold can be caused by one of more than 200 different viruses. There is no cure for the common cold but natural herbal and home remedies can help relieve symptoms, shorten the duration and decrease the severity of a cold. Consult a doctor if treating symptoms of a cold or flu that are chronic or remain longer than 2 to 3 days. Herbal supplements can interact with other medications and should be also be taken with medical supervision.
As the weather gets colder, many of us will be fighting off a cold this winter. Here, I look for some cold cures.Traditional Spices
Hot, Pungent, Exotic
Asafoetida, also known as devil's dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, hing and ting.Fighting flu – Asafoetida was used in 1918 to fight the Spanish influenza pandemic. Scientists at the Medical University in Kaohsiung Taiwan report that the roots of Asafoetida produce natural antiviral drug compounds that kill the swine flu virus, H1N1. In an article published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Natural Products, the researchers said the compounds "may serve as promising lead components for new drug development" against this type of flu.
It is also said to be helpful in cases of asthma and bronchitis. A folk tradition remedy for children's colds: it is mixed into a pungent-smelling paste and hung in a bag around the afflicted child's neck.
Capsicum or Cayenne Pepper
Many herbalists today recommend capsicum for such ailments as cold hands and feet, sluggish metabolisms, obesity and respiratory tract infections.
Cayenne pepper has wonderful cardiovascular benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Famed herbalist Doctor John Christopher noted that a couple of teaspoons of cayenne pepper never failed to stop a heart attack in only minutes. When added to food, cayenne increases appetite, improves digestion and relieves gas, nausea and indigestion. It also thins phlegm and eases its passage from the lungs.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Cassia cinnamon is used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods. It's also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation and be particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet.
In Ayurveda, cinnamon is used as a remedy for diabetes, indigestion, and colds, and it is often recommended for people with the kapha Ayurvedic type.
Preliminary lab and animal studies have found that cinnamon may have antibacterial and antifungal properties. It's active against Candida albicans, the fungus that causes yeast infections and thrush, and Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.
Recent studies have found that cinnamon may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar.
One of the first human studies was published in 2003 in a medical journal called Diabetes Care. Sixty people with type 2 diabetes took 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon in pill form daily, an amount roughly equivalent to one quarter of a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
After 40 days, all 3 amounts of cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29%, triglycerides by 23 to 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 to 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%.
Cinnamon contains a compound that kills a variety of illness causing bacteria, including the E.coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureas. Research shows that cinnamon can also stop the growth of the Asian flu virus. Cinnamon helps lower blood pressure and helps regulate menstrual cycles. In addition, cinnamon has a tranquilizing effect that helps reduce anxiety and stress.
CorianderThroat pain - Chew five to ten coriander seeds twice or thrice daily to relieve throat pain.
Extracts of black cumin have also been shown to modulate production of interleukins, a quality it shares with some other highly revered herbs: ginseng, astragalus, mistletoe, garlic, and cat's claw. Protects Healthy Cells and Stimulates Production of Natural Interferon.
Black pepper helps improve absorption and utilization of curcumin, which the body normally does not absorb very well.
Professor Eccles agrees that eating a curry is a good way to fight off a common cold. 'The spices in a curry promote the production of mucus, our body's defence system,' he says.
A national survey commissioned by the Consumer Health Information Centre in November last year found that eating curries was seen as a common way to treat colds among Britons. The survey revealed that cold sufferers who opted for the curry cure said symptoms like a blocked nose cleared up and they felt much better after eating the spicy dish.
I am sure you known ginger, lemon and honey tea. I make the tea by putting a few slices of fresh ginger into a thermos and let it steep before taking the first cup. It works amazingly well as a remedy for a Sore Throat, Congestion and Cough.
NutmegCalm a chest cold. Prepare a nutmeg plaster by mixing equal parts of ground nutmeg and flour. Add an egg white and a small amount of water to form a paste. Cover a cotton cloth with the paste and apply to the chest.
It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients. Extracts from black pepper have been found to have antioxidant properties and anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili.
SaffronSandal wood and saffron paste mixture is applied on forehead it helps to reduce fever and headache.Saffron has many benefits and one of the ways to incorporate it into your diet is by taking Saffron Milk which can be made by dissolving one small pinch of Saffron dissolved in a glass of 200ml milk. You may add honey or sugar for taste if required. The regular intake of this drink is said to increase the body’s resistance against a lot of common diseases. However, make sure that the Saffron is only consumed in small quantities as it can cause nausea otherwise and that it is not adulterated. Because of its high price, adulteration is quite common from sellers of this spice.True saffron is expensive and has a deep orange to brownish red color. The redder the strand, the better is the quality. It is better to choose saffron threads over powder saffron for less adulteration, better flavor and better curative qualities. Folkloric uses of saffron have included its use as a sedative, expectorant, aphrodisiac and diaphoretic. It is said to be beneficial in curing conditions like Sore gums, Heart and Lungs diseases, Common colds, kidney stones, Alcoholism, cramps, Insomnia, Menstrual problems, Diabetes, Asthma, Depression etc. It also has compounds which increase anti-bacterial and anti-viral physiological activity in the body. The presence of crocetin makes it helpful in reducing the blood cholesterol levels and triglycerides and strengthening the heart and nervous system. Researches have demonstrated the memory-enhancing, anti-cancer and anti-oxidant activities of saffron extracts. However, it has to be used in moderation only and excessive use can cause problems and can results in risks like spontaneous abortion in case of pregnant women.
Turmeric also known as the Indian Saffron is a member of the ginger family and widely used in Ayurveda because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties. In India, you can’t think about a curry without turmeric in it. However, it’s only now that people are realizing that turmeric has some amazing powers and is more than a spice which can be relegated to a shelf on your kitchen. Turmeric has also been dubbed the wonder product because of its ability to fight free radicals. This excellent anti-oxidant is known to help prevent various diseases as well as cancer. But did you know that turmeric is a fantastic natural way to beat that cough that has been troubling you for so many days? Dump those expectorants and simply mix a spoonful of turmeric in hot milk and drink it down. The hot milk eases the throat and the turmeric fights infection in the throat.
Wasabi Cure for a Sinus Infection. A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, can be caused by bacterial, viral or fungal pathogens, according to MedlinePlus. Although such infections are generally self-limiting and not serious in nature, the symptoms that accompany them can make life miserable until the infection resolves on its own or is otherwise cured. A novel, but effective, approach to combating sinus infections involves wasabi, a potent horseradish-like condiment widely used in Japanese cuisine. You can develop sinusitis as a complication of the common cold or some other form of upper respiratory infection. Sinus infections develop when your sinuses become inflamed and swollen, trapping air and mucus in the narrow passageways of the sinuses, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This trapped mucus makes a prime target for various pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, which can take up residence and kick off a full-blown infection. Be aware that sinus infections can be either acute or chronic in nature. Although the symptoms are similar in both types of sinusitis, those you experience during chronic infections tend to be somewhat milder than those seen in acute attacks. According to MayoClinic.com, symptoms may include nasal obstruction or congestion; nasal discharge that is yellowish or greenish in color; impaired senses of taste and smell; pain or swelling in the area of the eyes, nose, cheeks or forehead; post-nasal drip; and a cough that generally gets worse at night. If you're a big fan of Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi, you're probably already well-acquainted with wasabi, the pungent, green condiment that's produced from the ground-up root of the Eutrema wasabi herb. What you may not know, however, is that a healthy dose of wasabi--in ground-up powder form or as a paste on a piece of bread--can quickly clear up the nasal congestion that's at the root of your sinus infection.
This wasabi cure for sinus infection is actually a form of aromatherapy, according to an article on BottomLineSecrets.com. The article, written by Murray Grossan, M.D., says the principle behind the use of wasabi is the same as that behind the use of the popular--and aromatic--Vicks VapoRub to clear your sinuses. If wasabi is a little strong for your tastes, the BottomLineSecrets article suggests that horseradish may also work. The article suggests that the wasabi or horseradish remedies be used at least twice a day during the winter months, when colds and flu are rampant.
Hot, Pungent, Non-Exotic
ChiveChives is a part of the same botanical family as onions, scallions and garlic. You may be surprised to find that chives ease stomach distress, protect against heart disease and stroke and may help the body fight bacteria that can cause disease. In addition, the herb may increase the body's ability to digest fat. The high vitamin C content in chives can help prevent colds. They also speed recovery if a cold develops by helping the body to expel mucus; the sulfurous compounds in chives are natural expectorants.
GarlicThe cold-fighting compound in garlic is thought to be allicin, which has demonstrated antibacterial and antifungal properties. Allicin is what gives garlic its distinctive hot flavor. To maximize the amount of allicin, fresh garlic should be chopped or crushed and it should be raw. It’s also available in pill form.
In one study involving 146 people, participants received either a garlic supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks between November and February. People who took garlic reduced the risk of catching a cold by more than half. The study also found that garlic reduced the recovery time in people who caught a cold. More research is needed to corroborate these results.
Garlic does have some possible side effects and safety concerns. Bad breath and body odor are perhaps the most common side effects, however, dizziness, sweating, headache, fever, chills and runny nose have also been reported. Large amounts may irritate the mouth or result in indigestion. Garlic supplements should avoided by people with bleeding disorders, two weeks before or after surgery, or by those taking "blood-thinning" medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) or supplements believed to affect blood clotting such as vitamin E, garlic or ginkgo.
Garlic may also lower blood glucose levels and increase the release of insulin, so it should be used with caution by people taking drugs that lower blood sugar. People with allergies to plants in the lily family (including onion, leeks and chives) should avoid garlic. Pregnant women should avoid garlic in supplement form because it may increase the risk of bleeding.
HorseradishHorseradish is a perennial plant that comes from the same family as mustard and cabbage. Raw leaves of horseradish pressed against the forehead can chase away almost instantly headache, the root cures tonsillitis, while the tea made from horseradish flowers can treat the most serious cold and flu.
The spicy root of horseradish can be used as a natural treatment against rheumatic disorders and respiratory disorders, especially the superior respiratory ways. It is so beneficial because it is laden with a high amount of vitamin C and B complex, nutritive minerals (potassium, calcium, iron), natural antibiotics, enzymes etc.
The glucosinolates in the root are thought to increase human resistance to cancer. Glucosinolates are plant compounds that occur only in the plants from the mustard family (horseradish, mustard, broccoli, cauliflower etc.) They have powerful antioxidant properties and can also be used to reduce thyroid function and to relieve aching joints. Glucosinolates also act as natural antibiotics against different types of infections because they increase blood flow in the infected area and remove the waste products from that region of the body.
Due to its antibiotic properties, horseradish can cure urinary tract infections and kill bacteria in the throat that cause bronchitis, coughs and related problems.
Juice or sauce extracted from horseradish root can release sinus infections by dissolving the mucus in the nose. Horseradish sauce works better when mixed with radish leaves and root juice and also carrot juice. Besides sinusitis, it is curative also for hay fever.
Nevertheless, people that suffer from peptic ulcer, hyper acid gastritis or hypothyroidism should avoid using horseradish as treatment or condiment for the food, as it is a very powerful remedy that can augment some conditions.
MustardsMustard Seed's topical use also extends to the relief of respiratory infections when used in baths, poultices, and plasters. Mustard Seed helps treat bronchitis, chest congestion, pneumonia, croup, and pleurisy.
Onion, ShallotIn 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu... Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died. The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy. Now, I heard this story from my friend Kathrine Cooper.It is said to cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night.. It said the onion wo uld be black in the morning from the germs. Onion and garlic have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties. Onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion. It is said it's not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator. It's already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit, that it can be a danger to you. Please remember it is dangerous to cut an onion and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria which may cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.
PaprikaPaprika is rich in antioxidant vitamin C. Helps to fight off colds, asthma, bronchitis, respiratory infections, cataracts, macular degeneration, angina, atherosclerosis and cancer.
Paprika As An Alternative Ingredient For Cayenne.
Cleansing our body from the toxins that we usually get from the foods that we eat or other substances that are present in our environment is very important. There are definitely hundreds of cleansing programs available wherein most of these are really effective. If you are looking for a cleansing program that is easy to do but very effective, you can try the master cleanse.
Master cleanse originated in 1940s wherein it was first used as a way of curing those with ulcer. Aside from curing ulcer, it became a popular way of losing weight especially nowadays that a lot of people want to have a fit and slim body. The four main ingredients that make master cleanse effective are lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and of course water.
Warm, Fragrant, Exotic
AniseedThe medicinal benefits of this herb are many. This include the treatment of gas in the stomach as well as in the bowels. Therefore, an individual who has a long history of suffering with gas would do well with this herb.
It is also an effective alternative medicine and expectorant for cough remedies, bronchitis and mucus obstructions. However, the seeds as well have been utilized for smoking in order to cough up and spit out mucus and phlegm and other matter brought up from the lungs, bronchi as well as trachea. The smoking of the seeds should only be for this purpose.
BergamotThe essential oil is used to treat acne, coughs, fevers, tension, stress, and depression.
CamphorCamphor is marketed in over-the-counter cold remedies for its mild local anesthetic and antimicrobial substance.
Do NOT apply products containing peppermint oil, camphor or menthol on the face (especially in the nose) or chest of a baby or young child. There have been cases where the direct application of menthol or camphor products to baby's skin resulted in severe breathing difficulties or liver problems Nurse in a steamy bathroom.
Although it is an unsafe practice, some people take camphor by mouth to help them cough up phlegm, for treating respiratory tract infections, and for intestinal gas (flatulance). Experts warn against doing this because, when ingested, camphor can cause serious side effects, even death.
CardamomCardamom is antispasmodic which makes it handy for any types of stomach cramps caused by indigestion or IBS. Cardamom is known to pregnant women the world over as the one thing that can relieve morning sickness. Cardamom strengthens digestion and kills the bacteria responsible for bad breath, making it an excellent after dinner tea. Cardamom also can help clear congestion from colds, flu and allergies. Second only to lemon, Cardamom is perhaps the best source of a phytochemical called cineole, which calms your nerves and clears your head.
If you are having nasal blocks, inhalation of the cardamom smoke, generated by putting it on live coal, acts excellently.
Sniffing fine powder of equal quantities of cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black pepper and cumin relieves nose blockage due to common cold.
Cilantro, sometimes called Chinese parsleyCilantro is what the plant is referred to in its earliest stages and when it is fully developed it then becomes Coriander.The ancient Romans used both the leaves and the seeds to preserve meats. And modern Russian researchers have discovered why: The herb is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are chemicals that, among other things, help prevent animal fats from turning rancid. Cilantro and coriander also contain substances that kill meat-spoiling bacteria, fungi and insect larvae. The same microorganisms can cause infections in wounds. Finally, some studies suggest that cilantro/coriander has anti-inflammatory action, suggesting it might help relieve arthritis.
If a handful or more of fresh leaves are consumed daily, they can remove mercury and other heavy toxic metals from the body. In particular, coriander seems to be the only chelating agent that can remove these metals from the central nervous system. This makes it useful for people who want to detoxify after the removal of mercury tooth fillings, or to those who have been exposed to high levels of lead in childhood, for example. Dried cilantro does not work.
Health Benefits of Cilantro:
- Protects against the Salmonella bacteria
- Reportedly works as a natural chelation treatment (removes heavy metals ie. mercury from amalgam dental fillings). Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, Ph.D suggests that cilantro is one of the best natural means to remove mercury from the brain. From his clinical research, he recommended that 5 grams (1 teaspoon) a day is the minimum dose.
- Aids in digestion and helps settle the stomach
- Is an anti-inflammatory that may alleviate symptoms of arthritis
- Prevents nausea
- Protects against urinary tract infections
- Relieves intestinal gas
- Lowers blood sugar
- A good source of dietary fiber
- Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesteraol (HDL)
- A good source of iron
- A good source of magnesium
- Rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids ( help prevent cancer and other diseases)
CubebCubeb berry has expectorant properties. In other words, it can thin mucus. It is used to treat the symptoms of bronchitis. Cubeb berry should not be used by those who suffer from inflammation of the digestive tract.
FennelAs an antispasmodic, fennel acts on the smooth muscle of the respiratory passages as well as the stomach and intestines; this is the reason that fennel preparations are used to relieve bronchial spasms. Since it relaxes bronchial passages, allowing them to open wider, it is sometimes included in asthma, bronchitis, and cough formulas.
Fenugreek acts in the stomach by reducing the amount of sugar that our bodies are able to absorb from food. This is extremely important for sufferers of Diabetes, who must regulate their blood sugar at all times. Of course, Fenugreek is not a substitute for a doctor-recommended treatment, but may sometimes be of assistance.
As you might expect, by reducing the sugar absorption in your stomach Fenugreek can also help dieters to lose weight. It effectively allows the carbs to wash straight through your system without entering the bloodstream. As such, dieters should not combine it with a very low carb diet.
The leaves can be made into an infusion, or roasted as a coffee substitute, then drunk. If drunk as a tea it can also aid with congestion by loosening phlegm.
Fenugreek is a relatively safe substance to take, but minor side effects like diarrhea, flatulence and mild weight loss have been reported. Due its role in promoting menstruation, pregnant women especially should avoid taking Fenugreek. Patients should, of course, always consult their doctor before beginning a herbal treatment course.
Lemon GrassLemongrass is used for the following: reducing fevers, stomach cramps, flatulence and colic, easing arthritic pain, general digestive aid .
LicoriceLicorice root can be used alone, or added to other herbs in tea blends, for it's antiviral, expectorant, and throat soothing properties. Good for colds, congestion, asthma, dry coughs. Use for 6 weeks, then take a 2 week break. Consume potassium rich foods, or take a potassium supplement when using this herb.
NigellaDioscoredes, Greece in the 19th century one, reported that Nigella Sativa used to treat headaches, nasal congestion, sore teeth, and internist diseases. It also used to help menstrual period and increase the production of breast milk.
Investigation on the material is found to have the activity of anti-bacteria. Nigella Sativa found attempting to control the bacteria such as e. coli, v. cholera and Shigella species. This means Nigella Sativa is good for those who some types of diseases such as stomach problems.
Sesame seedSesame seeds come from little seed pods of one of the oldest of cultivated plants and are highly regarded in the Middle East where they are revered as the seeds of immortality. The seeds are rich in oil-over 55 percent-and this oil is very useful since it contains 20 percent protein and important vitamins, A and E and most of the B vitamins except B12 and folic acid. It is abundant in mineral value too and contains a high Zinc content, as well as calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium value. Those persons that avoid cow's milk benefit from the intake of sesame as its seeds are an excellent source of calcium. The only downside being that since the phosphorus content is much higher; sesame is not so good for bone support. Herbalists claim that sesame seeds also have a mild antioxidant effect, possibly because of their vitamin E content or some other factors.Dysentery and diarrhea problems are also cured with sesame seeds as are respiratory and menstrual disorders.
Star aniseInternally – Star anise is used to relieve colic, gas, headache and to stimulate the appetite. Flatulence, nausea, vomiting and other gastric distress can also be treated with this herb. It has anti-spasmodic qualities that help relieve upset. It is used in flu medications commercially like Tamiflu, the only drug at this time known to be effective against the Bird Flu.
VanillaFor many people, vanilla may be the key for eliminating headaches. Vanilla extract contains eugenol, an essential oil that has antiseptic and analgesic properties and that helps unclog blood vessels.
The ancient Egyptians discovered that vanilla beans would cure a headache almost every time regardless of how serious the duration or intensity. Though they did not discover why vanilla worked, they found that it was three times more effective than their previous best treatment, turmeric.
One headache sufferer reported that nothing had worked for his constant headaches of 40 years until he turned to vanilla. He drank a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract in 8 ounces of water before going to bed, and the next morning the usual headache pain was only half its normal intensity. Two days later it was gone completely and hasn't returned in over a year.
Consult your health care provider before beginning use any Spices or herbs as a remedy.
Only use the herbal material if you are 100% sure that it really the herb in question.
Do not continuously drink the same tea. At maximum use for 10 days and then skip 5 days.
When you use herbal remedies, be aware that they can be extremely powerful, and should you have any side effects, immediately stop using the herb and consult your health practitioner right away.