Beat the bugs

ColdTricia Wanjala offers hope for fighting the common cold with her five proven cold-busting home remedies

Drat! You recognise the familiar symptoms: a headache, red eyes, a scratchy throat, fever or a runny nose. You feel like your skull is stuffed with cotton wool, and you just want to lie down. You have caught one of the over 200 viruses that cause the common cold. Take heart – there are ways to drastically shorten the duration of your next cold. Here are five simple remedies to start you off.

1 Sleep
The number one remedy for a cold is to give your body what it is crying for – rest. Most of us try to power through it because we do not want to miss work. It is better to take one rest day and sleep off a bug at the onset of a cold, instead of being stuck in bed for four days the following week (after spreading it to the entire team at the office). Stop trying to be a hero – slow down immediately or face the consequences later.

2 Garlic
In the Merck medical manual, Ara Dermarderosian PhD spoke of the “general antimicrobial effects”of high-dose garlic. This means that no self-respecting pathogen or virus will go anywhere near garlic. When you crush a fresh garlic clove, it releases the active chemical compound allicin. Allicin promotes the activity of white blood cells, which destroy cold and flu viruses. A suggested dose is three crushed cloves of raw garlic daily to combat a cold.

3 Vitamin C
Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling concluded from controlled clinical trials that Vitamin C “decreases the incidence and ameliorates the severity of the common cold.” He revealed that Vitamin C produces therapeutic effects when used in high doses, ranging from one to 10 grams per day. In an interview with British nutrition guru Patrick Holford, Pauling recommended 1 to 2 grams per hour at the first sign of a cold until symptoms disappear. Over 38 of these trials demonstrated the effectiveness of vitamin C as an immune booster that helps combat stress and fight viruses.

4 Honey, Lemon, Ginger Tea
Fresh ginger root is soothing, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory. Ayurvedic medicine recommends slow-brewed Ginger tea as a tonic for ENT issues. Raw honey contains beneficial enzymes and is a sweet, soothing immune booster. Lemons are rich in vitamin C. The juice of a lemon helps balance your electrolytes or lost mineral salts during illness, vital for hydration.

5 Warm salt water
Dr Philip Hagen explains, in the Mayo Clinic book of home remedies, that gargling with warm salt water, “draws excess fluid from inflamed tissues.” This soothes the pain of a sore throat and loosens thick catarrh, making it easier to dislodge pathogens and cough them up. Warm salt water also works well to irrigate the sinuses and clear nasal congestion.

Go on, treat yourself!
Did you know that scientific research into chocolate is pointing to some interesting possibilities about its health benefits? Got a cough? One of the stimulants in cocoa, theobromine, has been shown to be more effective than the traditional suppressant codeine for soothing an irritating cough.