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Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

December 6th, 2011 Healthy Living

Even with all of the marvels of modern medicine, you may find yourself succumbing to a cold or the flu this season despite your best efforts. Instead of resigning yourself to your bed and feeling miserable, try out one of these natural remedies at home, suggested by WebMD and Health magazine.

Echinacea This herbal supplement is one of the best known natural cold remedies. While not all studies have found conclusive evidence that the herb can help fight off the flu or a cold, a few have suggested that taking the supplement may decrease the duration of the illness.

Zinc Some studies suggest this mineral has antiviral properties because it prevents the formation of proteins that cold and flu viruses use to reproduce. It's not meant to protect against getting sick, but if you take it within the first 24 hours of symptoms, it could help relieve those and reduce the length of your sick time.

Ginseng Researchers have begun studying this herb in relation to colds. Ginseng has been used in the past to give boosts in energy, stamina and overall health, but scientists are finding evidence that taking the herb every day can prevent colds and reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

Hot toddy This age-old remedy continues to be used because it can ease congestion, soothe a sore throat and help people with a cold or the flu sleep. Before bed, drink herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey, a small shot of whiskey or bourbon and some lemon.

Nasal rinsing Saline washes can help thin nasal secretions, helping to prevent cold symptoms from occurring. You can use over-the-counter saline drops or (as recommended by WebMD) make your own with 8 ounces of warm water, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.