More Americans are questioning the effectiveness of alternative therapies to treat colds and flu which is reflected in a decline in their use from 9.5 percent in 2002 to 2 percent in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This drop in popularity has been attributed to individuals’ personal experience where alternative therapies didn’t seem to work and studies showing that supplements, such as Echinacea or high doses of Vitamin C, may not do much. Other factors include economics where people have less money to experiment with unproven treatments, and government agencies doing a better job of regulating claims from supplement manufacturers.
If you are among the cynical about these treatments, what can you do to fight off or treat the symptoms of the common cold or flu? Here are some cheap and easy-to-try remedies.
Hot teas, broths
Drink plenty of hot teas, vegetable broths and chicken soup when you are fighting a cold or flu. Hot liquids make good decongestants because they make your nose run and heat the throat which can slow the reproduction cycle of the virus. Try other hot stuff too, like Tabasco or hot Chinese mustard, to get your nose to run.
Help out your immune system
Help your immune system beat the bug by resting and eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and veggies.
Relieve congestion with essential oils
Try inhaling steam. Add some tea tree or eucalyptus oils to your vaporizer or pot of water. Tea tree is said to have antiviral and antibacterial properties while eucalyptus helps drain mucous congestion.
Relief from muscle aches and chills
Try soaking in a hot bath with Epsom salts and eucalyptus oil added to the water. Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant. Eucalyptus oil eases muscle aches and in steam will temporarily relieve sinus congestions.
Ginger relieves chills
Ginger tea loosens nasal congestion, eases a sore throat and relieves chills. Try this ginger tea recipe:
3 teaspoons fresh grated ginger root
2 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Simmer the ginger and water in a covered pot for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain, and add lemon juice and honey. Drink as desired.