Cold symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and a stuffed-up nose can be bothersome, but they are part of the natural healing process to help us get well.
Our immune system is constantly defending our body from unwanted bacteria and viruses, but when we catch a cold, other defence mechanisms take effect. You may notice, for example, you produce more mucus and it becomes thicker and may change colour when you catch a cold. Our mucus helps trap and expel foreign substances, and keeps our nasal passages moist.
There are many natural remedies available that support the body’s immune defenses. Not only may they help shorten the duration of a cold, but also decrease the intensity of those nagging cold symptoms.
Below are 6 natural remedies that can help strengthen the body’s resistance to a cold virus by boosting the immune system.
Astragalus is a powerful immune booster that helps increase the body’s ability to fight off viruses. The part of the plant that’s used therapeutically is the root. Astragalus helps strengthen the immune system to prevent getting a cold in the first place.
Echinacea can shorten the duration and severity of colds and other upper respiratory infections when taken as soon as symptoms are evident.1 There are some mixed indications that echinacea loses its effectiveness when taken over a period of time, so start taking it at the first signs of a cold.
Elderbery has a preventative effect against catching a cold by protecting the cell walls from foreign substances. Elderberry is a great option for kids because it’s available as a syrup or crystals that are mixed with water and tastes good.
4. Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano contains antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal properties making it very versatile in treating various infections. Take oil of oregano at the very first signs of a cold to reduce the longevity and severity of a cold. If taken early enough at the first cold symptom, it may even prevent the cold from developing.
Probiotics support the body’s immune response and therefore play a protective role in fending off infections, including a cold. 2
There was an interesting study done on a group of individuals, all over the age of 65, who were randomly selected to receive a probiotic 2 weeks prior to receiving the influenza vaccination. The group that received the probiotic showed an increased immune response to the vaccine and decreased symptoms associated with respiratory infections.3
6. Vitamin C
Research has shown that taking vitamin C after you get sick won’t necessarily reduce the longevity or severity of a cold. However, taking a vitamin C supplement on a regular bases prior to becoming sick has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of a cold.4