Natural remedies for colds this winter

We all know what that itchy scratch in the throat, that feeling of a blocked nose presages as winter is upon us. Then the nose runs, the sneezes begin, the itchy scratch gets sore and you develop a nasty cough.

You may not get a cold every year, but the chances are you will – especially if your work and social life involves being with lots of other people. It’s unfortunate that colds are spread for the most part by human contact, but dealing with it doesn’t mean you have to go to the drugstore and take an over-the-counter medication.

Remember, a cold is a viral infection so there’s no point in asking your doctor for a prescription unless you develop a bacterial or other infection on top of the cold. Colds are extremely annoying, especially when it’s chilly outside. It can seem harder to get over one during winter, but using natural remedies can give you a real boost and get you back on your feet and feeling better more quickly than you might have imagined.

Keep your options open

Herbal remedies have a long and noble history of use for colds and other health problems, so try considering a few of these remedies before you reach for your usual source of relief:

Vitamin C

By increasing white blood cell production, Vitamin C is a very effective natural remedy for colds. It can help prevent viruses multiplying as well as reduce inflammation and mucus in the nostrils. You can take it in pill form, but why not go for the tastier option and eat plenty of foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. Remember to steam vegetables when cooking them – they lose a lot of their vitamins if boiled.

Essential oils

Your body’s immunities are often lowered by cold weather, so colds and other infections can take hold more easily. Inhaling essential oils (either by adding a few drops to a warm bowl of water or breathing in the vapors directly from the bottle) can make a real difference to a cold. Eucalyptus oil is particularly effective in clearing blocked noses and can help relieve pain. If you use it in the bath it can make a real difference to how you feel.

Chicken soup

Yes, it really can help! Apart from the delicious smell and the anticipation of eating something that will help soothe your throat (don’t eat it too hot!) this soup is packed with vitamins and nutrients that your body needs when fighting a cold. It’ll give you carbs as well and if you have some delicious bread dipped in to soften it; you’ve got a simple to prepare, cold-fighting meal.

Be positive

Being ill is not fun but if you can take a positive approach to dealing with your cold by using natural remedies you’ll be way ahead of the game. If you take control, you’ll be able to deal with your symptoms quickly and effectively.