Best Herbs to Fight the Common Cold

The common cold is something that almost everyone will experience at least once in their lifetime. This common viral infection takes over your upper respiratory tract and can make you absolutely miserable. You have symptoms like a sore throat and cough, chest discomfort, stuffy and runny nose and congestion. All of these symptoms make it hard to get through your day.

Everyone is at risk for a cold, so it is important to do everything that you can to prevent it. However, if you do get sick, there are some herbs that can help you to strengthen your immune system so that it can effectively fight the infection. There are also some herbs that will help to alleviate your symptoms so that you can complete daily tasks with a clear head.

Top Herbs to Fight a Cold

If you have had a cold before, you know that many over-the-counter cold remedies either do not work well, the effects do not last or you experience side effects that make you feel even worse. Skip a trip to your pharmacy and look at the different herbs available that can help you to combat your cold naturally and effectively. There are many options and most of these can be taken as a tea, in capsule form or in other ways, making them very convenient and easy to incorporate into your day.

Astragalus

Effectively fighting a cold and preventing a recurrence in the future means that you need to strengthen your immune system. Astragalus is a very popular herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine and it is often taken to fight off minor illness and to make the immune system more resilient to illness. If you take this to recover from a cold, you can keep taking it after you recover to prevent future colds.

Ginger

Ginger is a common herb for digestive complaints, but it is also a first-line remedy for the common cold. It helps to promote sweating and it gently stimulates the body's vitality. Both of these are important in helping your body to fight off the virus that causes a cold. It also helps to reduce congestion by decreasing the buildup of mucus and phlegm.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm induces sweating so that your body sweats out toxins and rids itself of the virus that causes the common cold. It also has a very relaxing effect so that you are able to rest. Rest is important because you need to save your energy so that your body can effectively fight off the illness.

Thyme

Thyme helps you to cough up the congestion that occurs with a cold because it has an expectorant effect. This will help to alleviate issues like a stuffy and runny nose, and chest congestion. It also has a calming effect so that while helping to loosen up mucus, you are also able to rest.

Licorice Root

This herb contains glycyrrhizin, a compound with potent antiviral effects. Research backs up these claims and states that not only can licorice root fight the common cold, but it is also effective against the virus responsible for influenza. This herb also has an expectorant effect which helps to produce a cough that will clean out the chest congestion.

Garlic

Garlic is an herb with over a dozen beneficial health effects and fighting off the common cold is one of them. It has antiviral effects and has been shown to be effective against a wide array of rhinovirus strains, and strains of this virus are responsible for causing the common cold. It also works to boost the immune system so that you can prevent getting sick in the future.

Echinacea

Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs when it comes to herbs that are able to both fight off and prevent illnesses. When you take this herb during a cold, you may notice that you are sick for a shorter period of time and your symptoms are lessened. It is also beneficial in strengthening your immune system, especially when taken with garlic.

Elderberry Extract

In many cases, people combine elderberry extract and Echinacea to fight off and prevent the common cold. This herb works to reduce the severity of your symptoms and it can shorten your cold by as many as four days. Research shows that this herbal extract may also be effective in combating as many as 10 strains of influenza as well.

In addition to using herbs to combat the common cold and bolster your immune system, there are a few other quick things you should do throughout your illness. It is important to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated as you are recovering. Wash your hands frequently and always make sure to keep your sinuses clear by blowing your nose, using a Neti pot or using a humidifier.


References

http://www.healthline.com/natstandardcontent/alt-antiviral-herbs

http://www.academia.edu/4871902/REVIEW_Antiviral_Herbs_and_Herb-Drug_interaction

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12911688

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