Natural ways to beat a cold

Boost your immunity and beat the symptoms with these natural remedies.

Boost your immunity
Make sure to get plenty of rest and fluids. You can’t skimp on either if you want to get better, regardless of what remedies you use. Rest is essential for your body to fight infection and boost your immunity, while drinking extra fluids replaces what’s lost through sweating or a runny nose

Clear a blocked nose
To clear a blocked nose get steamy – literally. Experts and health bodies the world over agree on the power of steam to loosen mucus in the nasal passages and reduce inflammation associated with the common cold. So take a long, hot shower or inhale steam from a bowl of boiling water. Add a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil to the bowl for extra effect.

Tackle symptoms early
At the first signs of sickness begin a dose of one or more of the following herbs:echinacea andrographis or elderberry (or elderflower). Several studies have found the first two to be effective at reducing the duration and severity of symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), while smaller studies have show that elderberry helps treat flu. A naturopath or herbalist can advise on the best dose for you. Check with your health practitioner first if you’re on any other medications, particularly blood thinning medications.

Ease a sore throat
To ease a sore throat gargle with salt water. This folk remedy has been shown to be effective in several studies, including a randomised US case which found that subjects who gargled three times a day during the winter months had a 40 per cent decrease in URTIs than those who didn’t gargle at all. They also had less severe symptoms when they did get sick. Why? The salt helps to remove bacteria from the area and draws fluid away from inflamed tissue, which helps to reduce the pain.

Treat a cough
To treat a cough try making a syrup from honey and onions, b+s naturopath Mim Beim says. Both ingredients contain antibacterial properties, while onions also reduce bronchial constriction and the thickness of mucus, making it easier to expel. Place one chopped red or brown onion in a bowl and cover it with honey, leave it for six hours then strain to remove the onion. An adult dose is one tablespoon every two hours; children should have one teaspoon every two to four hours.