How to Naturally Cure and Prevent a Cold
When I was a child, I remembered I would occasionally catch a cold and spend about two weeks lying in bed, suffering. My joints and muscles would ache and, although I received better treatment, being served meals in bed and having a TV in my own room, it was still a very unpleasant period.
Eventually my mother blurted something about some Nobel prize winner (Linus Pauling) who wrote an article about eating lots of vitamin C to kill colds. So I tried that one time and found I managed to get the period of immense discomfort down to four days.
Then at one point garlic was mentioned and, after trying that as well, I seemed to get the period down to around one and a half days. In my earlier years, it seemed that whenever a "cold was going around", I would catch it at the beginning AND at the tail end of it, when it had mutated slightly so that I managed to catch the next strain. Now though I'd say I get sick on average about half a day a year.
Since this is potentially a costly sickness, I thought I would add this to my list of natural ways to battle various illnesses.
The common cold is "a contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract characterized by inflammation (swelling and irritation with presence of extra immune cells) of the mucous membranes, sneezing, and sore throat. It is our only effective weapon against the alien attack of War of the Worlds, where all our military strength and nuclear weapons proved useless.
The following explains how I manage to avoid or kill colds. Sometimes I could be in a pub and drink from a less than clean glass and soon feel a scratchy feeling in my throat, like the bacteria left on the glass from the previous sick person. Or I could generally be feeling weaker and susceptible to catching a cold. So I immediately bombard my system with at least a thousand milligrams of vitamin C and one pill of Echinacea (description later). Generally, I throw at least 5 cloves of garlic into everything I cook, so my body's general immunity should already be okay. I'll take this dose of vitamin C and Echinacea once or twice a day, for one or two days until I feel my body is resilient again. This usually manages to avoid me from getting sick. However, if the virus gets out of hand, such as if I was on a drinking binge for a few days and lacked sleep, I then roll up my sleeves and get prepared for the all-out ATTACK on that virus!!
How to Kill a Cold
Once a cold has succeeded in establishing a good foothold in my body, I have several approaches I use to "kill" it. However, as usual, I prefer to avoid all "western medicine" approaches requiring chemicals or drugs. In the Czech Republic, where I presently live, someone sniffles and is immediately handed a doctor's slip to lie in bed for four days and pound themselves with antibiotics. Although this practice is fading, it seems to come out of communist times, when everyone supported each other so as to work as little as possible. Of course, instead of staying at home most people would go out drinking and weaken their bodies further. I heard that these manmade antibiotics actually weaken your body, because your body does not produce the antibiotics itself and over time grows weaker and more susceptible to catching sicknesses.
Another natural herb which is supposed to be good for strengthening the body's immunity system is Lapacho, although I don't like its flavour very much and tend not to use it. You should be able to go to your local herbal drug store and ask what various natural ingredients are good at strengthening your body's immunity system. Ginger is also good. When sick, I tend to bombard my system with 3,000 mg of vitamin C daily, spread over the day, each time taking a dose (one pill) of Echinacea.
Also, fasting could help you to cure the cold. This is because the body needs to use the energy it has to fight the cold and not to process the food you are eating. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to not eat foods, such as meat, which require greater energy to break down and process. When I feel REALLY bad, I go all out and fast totally. Maybe one and a half days to two days, depending on how strong the virus is.
However, as I am sure your doctor will suggest to you, all the killed virus must get flushed out of your system, in which case I find it quite important to drink lots of water. When I feel real bad, I find I can still work, but I get tired frequently and resort to sleeping in intervals. Sleeping is a time when the body generally rehabilitates itself, and is very important while you are sick.
If you do not want to resort to all out fasting, you can try cooking natural rice with lots of diced garlic. Ginger is also very good at fighting or preventing colds.
Drink lots of water, take a lot of sleep naps, and I find I am virtually cured by the next morning. Try to avoid beer or wine - it seems to me that the yeast or something in these feeds viral growth in my throat, not to mention that it tends to neutralize or kill vitamin C and other nutrients in your body. If you really do need to drink booze or party, try to limit it to only hard or herbal alcohol.
This is how I generally manage to kill a cold - once I actually do catch one - by the next morning. Deep uninterrupted sleep helps a lot. But this is only once you do actually catch a cold. As usual though, why catch it at all when you can apply a bit of PREVENTIVE medicine?
How to Avoid Catching a Cold
Obviously, colds are transmitted by little virus bugs which land into your throat or nasal passages and start to eat away at your body. You can be on a metro or tram and inhale the bug from someone else's sneeze. To prevent this, I guess you'd have to wear a gas mask or some other mask; but for most of us, this is not a viable option. Or you can generally eat lots of garlic and ginger as I do, as such strengthening your body's immunity system (my girlfriend catches colds frequently and I certainly get closer to her than I do to people in elevators, although I still never catch colds from her).
But there are three main ways, at least here in the Czech Republic, how I found I tended to catch colds:
These are general preventive tactics. Of course, I guess you can include in that trying to avoid going on drinking binges for too many days in a row while depriving yourself of sleep, or other forms of stressful work which tend to weaken your body's immunity system. Or by trying to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, with lots of vegetables and vitamins, or by exercising and taking care of your body to make it stronger. In my internet research on this subject, I also learned that sugar is bad for the immunity system. White sugar is supposed to be bad for you generally.
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Published - July 2009