Every time a season changes it brings with it a host of other changes, and of course, common cold. We all suffer from it several times in a year. Still we find it difficult to handle each time it happens. What exactly is this ‘common cold’? Medically known as acute coryza, it is an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, caused by infection with the common cold viruses. Generally, it lasts for 3-10 days and the intensity depends on our immunity and environmental factors.
Causes and symptoms
Some of the factors causing common cold include exposure to the virus; exposure to cold; low vitality; dust and other irritating inhalations; sudden changes in temperature; lack of sleep; depression and fatigue. Whatever the cause, common cold causes extreme discomfort, sometimes making it impossible to carry on the task at hand. It begins in the nose and throat and later affects all parts of the body.
The common signs are: soreness of throat; congestion of nasal passages; running nose; sneezing; headache; chill; fever; body ache; loss of appetite; and soreness of skin around the nostrils.
The good news is that there are several natural common cold remedies available right in our kitchens. Try some the next time you are down with cold.
Lemons effectively help reduce the severity of all types of cold and fever. They increase the body’s resistance and reduce the toxicity. The vitamin C-rich lemon juice aids speedy recovery.
Prescription: Dilute the juice of one lemon with a glass of warm water. Add a teaspoon of honey to it. Take it once or twice daily to soothe sore throat.
Garlic in any form—oil, soup or raw—is a good cure for common cold. Have garlic soup daily to reduce the severity of cold. The oil content of garlic helps open up the respiratory passage. Garlic soup flushes out the toxins from the system and helps bring down fever. Boil three or four cloves of chopped garlic in a cup of water to make the soup.
Prescription: Drink five drops of garlic oil with a teaspoon of onion juice and a cup of water, two to three times a day. Peel and chop five large garlic cloves and mix them with half a cup of honey. Allow to settle for half an hour and keep having a teaspoon of the syrup as required. You can also add freshly grated ginger, or a dash or two of cayenne pepper to it.
Adding Cayenne pepper to food helps relieve congestion. It generates heat from within, which helps in combating the chill.
Ginger is another good remedy for colds. Ginger tea, prepared by adding a few pieces of ginger into boiled water before adding tea leaves, is also an effective remedy for colds and for fevers resulting from cold. It can be taken twice daily.
Prescription: Boil about 10g of finely cut ginger in a cup of water. Strain and add half a teaspoon sugar to it. Drink hot.
Lady finger is rich in mucilage which relieves dry cough, irritation and pain—symptoms of common cold.
Prescription: Boil 100g chopped Lady finger in half litre water. Once or twice a day, you can also inhale the steam when the decoction is boiling to relieve throat irritation and dry cough.
Cinnamon helps strengthen the immune system. Add cinnamon powder to food or cinnamon stick to herbal tea for relief.
Tamarind and pepper rasam is also effective in treating common cold. It should be taken steaming hot thrice a day. As you consume it, you’ll feel your nose and eyes water and the nasal blockage clear.
Prescription: 50mg of tamarind is diluted in 250 ml of water and then boiled for a few minutes with a teaspoon of hot clarified butter and half a teaspoon of black pepper powder.
Turmeric cures cold and throat irritations. Try and inhale smoke from burning turmeric if you have a running nose. It helps provide quick relief.
Prescription: Add half a teaspoon fresh turmeric powder to 30ml warm milk. Have it once or twice daily.
Chicken soup lessens cold and flu symptoms. It contains a substance, which inhibits the movements of cells in the immune system. It can regulate the body’s inflammatory response. Chicken soup also helps clear the nasal passage.
Gargling with salt water can temporarily relieve an itchy throat.
Prescription: Take a glass of warm water and add half a teaspoon of salt to it.
They help soothe a sore and itchy throat, giving temporary relief.
There are several more natural cures for common cold, but these are some of the most effective ones. Apart from these remedies, take plenty of rest, increase your fluid and vitamin C intake, and abstain from cold beverages.
Common cold, uncommon facts
Common cold feels lousy and we don’t like to work. Even research proves that. The Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, UK, investigated  the effects of naturally occurring colds on mood and performance. The study showed that having a cold reduced alertness, adversely affected mood and slowed reaction times. Also, irrespective of age, lifestyle and health, individuals who are socially active have less probability of developing cold, according to a 2003 study by Carnegie Mellon University, USA. As many as 334 volunteers took part in the study. So if you want to increase your immunity to cold, make more friends.
— Team CW