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How to Naturally Cure and Prevent a Cold

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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.
Echinacea, on the other hand, is a natural antibiotic and actually STRENGTHENS your body against future sicknesses. I find Echinacea is most useful for killing viruses entrenched in my lungs, whereas vitamin C seems to work overall on the body.

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.
Therefore, you can try my favourite super duper cold killing soup, as an example:

  • in a small pot throw some cooking butter and sprinkle with certain spices, such as curry, pepper, thyme, bit of oregano, hot chilli/cayenne combination according to your tastes (I always put caraway seeds into everything I cook, but a lot of people do not like caraway seeds). In Indian cooking with curry, the trick apparently is to fry/cook the curry at the beginning into the butter (or Gi - very condensed butter), until a certain point (not very long) when the spices have merged into the butter and each other;
  • once the spices have melted into each other (be careful not to burn the butter or curry), throw in the diced ginger. Perhaps add a little oil to prevent burning or if you don't like too much butter flavour in your soup;
  • shortly after that (depending on how much you want to soften the texture or weaken the flavour of the ginger) you can add onions and garlic. Stir fry until your desired level and throw in water;
  • you can add soya now or during the frying process at the beginning;
  • as the water heats up, you can add essential ingredients, such as natural rice, precooked lentils, maybe Chinese noodles, to give yourself your carbohydrate blast and fuel. Or nothing at all - depending on how much of a fast you think you can handle or are willing to take. (If you reaaally want to avoid fasting, you can make a similar meal by cooking only rice and then flavour it with the same ginger/garlic and or onion combination, with some vegetables);
  • add spices to your liking, tobasco spice and all the hotness you think you can handle. Hot spices are good for getting the nasal juices pouring.
You can also suck all day on raw lemon. I heard once that the difference between the molecules in store-bought vitamin C and the vitamin C in for example in a lemon is that the natural, living vitamin C molecules are spinning, where the store-bought ones are stagnant. This tells me that they are essentially dead and I assume that the natural ones should be a lot more powerful. You cannot overdose on vitamin C and you apparently just urinate out the excess, so feel free to have as much "live" vitamin C as you can handle. (However, I find my body starts to feel a bit overdosed if I have more than 3,000 mg of store bought-vitamin C pills a day.

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:

  • the hygienic standards here in Czech were not as strict as back home in Canada, I ordered myself a beer and caught a cold. So I try to always drink from just above the handle - a weird place from where most people do not drink - increasing my chances of not putting to my lips the juicy chunk of virus left by the last user. Or if not a glass with a handle, I pick a point on the glass, such as above the label, and drink only from that location, hence lowering my chances. If possible, I ask the bartender to pour my next beer into the same glass, since I have already "broken it in", so to speak;

  • if travelling by public transportation or while in any other location where my hands come into contact with frequently touched objects (handle rails etc.), I try to always hold only with two fingers and at a "strange" location (joint between handle rails etc.) where most other people will not grab hold of (wearing gloves is certainly also good). And above all, try not to absent-mindedly wipe my nose with my fingers after holding onto something which the last hundred people held onto after wiping their nose with their fingers. This is a perfect way to transmit a virus;
  • one last thing you can try and which, as part of my internet research on this subject, I learned may help is to put a jar of water on your heater in the winter. When it is cold outside, we heat up our homes, and heaters tend to dry out the air. When the air is dry, my lips start to chap and I often wake up in the morning with a dry and sore throat. This seems to make it more susceptible to catching colds. You can be fancy and spend all sorts of money on a humidifier, or just put a jar of water on your heaters, which slowly evaporates and helps keep the air in your home more moist. Aquariums also help.

  • and lastly, perhaps contrary to the above few points, is not to be so obsessive about sterilisation. The new generation is said to be catching colds quickly and constantly because everything is so sterile, and many people take prescription antibiotics at the first sneeze. Synthetic antibiotics weaken your body. It is like a crutch, or a wheelchair, and if you sit in a wheelchair too long and don't exercise your muscles, your body gets weak. It develops a dependence on your crutch. But natural antibiotics, such as garlic, ginger, vitamin C and Echinacea instead strengthen your body. And the introduction of foreign bacteria will also strengthen your immune system, because your body is forced to develop antibodies against it. It is like taking a vaccine. A small dose and weakened version of a disease which your body can react to and develop against it an immune system. So hey, don't be so obsessively clean. But avoid strong doses as mentioned above.

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.

Common Cold Remedy
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See Karel Kosman's Articles at
Fasting: Not Just Good for Your Soul - Your Body will Benefit Too
How to Perform a Healthy Fast
How to Be Healthy
How to Naturally Cure and Prevent a Cold
What Christians can learn from Muslims

Published - July 2009

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