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5 Natural Cold & Flu Remedies Worth Taking

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5 Natural Cold & Flu Remedies Worth Taking

Photo credit: Flickr/mcfarlandmo

When those aches, sniffles and runny nose strike, many of us want to turn to natural cures. But I know from writing about holistic health for many years that not all natural remedies work. So I called several top doctors, then looked at the research (which, as with many natural products, isn’t as extensive as scientists would like), and found 5 remedies that seem worth taking. Of course, we all know that prevention is best–not touching your face, washing hands a lot and the like. But as the rest of cold and flu season blows through, consider keeping some of these remedies on hand. (With any medical treatment, you should talk to your doctor to see what’s right for you.)

Probiotics. The idea that good bacteria could crowd out bad ones makes sense, which is why scientists weren’t surprised when a review last fall of 10 studies on probiotics found people taking supplements or yogurt with these cultures had 12 percent fewer upper respiratory tract infections. Another study confirmed that children, too, develop fewer bouts of coughs and runny noses. To be most effective, probiotics should be taken daily.

Zinc. Taken at the first hint of a cold (rather than continuously), zinc seems to make your bout shorter and less severe, according to a review of 15 studies. The best way to take is in lozenges, since coating your throat stops the virus from proliferating, says Neal Schachter, MD, author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds & Flu. (Remember, though, that zinc make some people nauseous–and it tastes gross.) Just keep it out of your nose: nasal sprays have been linked with permanent loss of smell.

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Read more: Cold and Flu, Conditions, Health, Natural Remedies

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Meryl Davids Landau

Meryl Davids Landau is the author of the new spiritual women's novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog, which ForeWord Reviews calls "an inspirational gem that will appeal to introspective, evolving women." The novel was recently recommended by Yoga Journal's Blog and Spirituality & Health. Read excerpts at Meryl also writes for O: the Oprah Magazine, Whole Living, Reader's Digest and other national magazines.


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10:26PM PST on Feb 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

12:00PM PST on Nov 5, 2012

TY. I've found that zinc is the little miracle that stops colds from getting worse and helps them end sooner.

11:41AM PST on Nov 5, 2012

Thanks for the precious info.
Almighty bless you wisdom and happiness with health & wealth.

7:34AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Thanks for reminding me and also giving me more info.

2:05PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

I take Echinacea.and Vitamin C every day. I forgot to take them for about a week and the next thing I knew, I had a sinus infection. So, I am back on them again. I just can't seem to shake it. Of course, my husband came down with it first and I think he shared with me - he's a brat!!

7:54PM PST on Feb 23, 2012


1:25PM PST on Feb 20, 2012

Sound good!

7:31AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Thanks for info.,

8:54AM PST on Feb 12, 2012


8:17PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

noted and use most already. Homemade chicken soup with my home stewed tomatoes are a must--granddaughter loves it, have to make it every time she visits. lol. Blessings to all.

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