I seldom fall victim to the ‘cold season’ in the winter months, which I largely attribute to battling any budding colds with the natural power of zinc, echinacea & vitamin C. Here’s a great article I found from QuantumHealth.com about the powers of using these remedies to ward off, or atleast shorten the run of the seasonal cold.
Cure For the Common Cold?
from Health Store News
Is there a cure for the common cold? “Of course there is,” says herbalist Bob Bruscia. “It’s called the immune system. And when functioning properly, it zaps most colds quite quickly.”
Most natural approaches to cold relief rely on boosting immune response. “Zinc, Echinacea and Vitamin C are the leading non-drug remedies for colds, and provide significant relief for most people,” says natural products manufacturer Eve McClure of Quantum.
Do these natural remedies really work? According to more and more experts, the answer is, “Yes.”
ZINC: CAN IT CUT YOUR COLD TIME IN HALF?
One of the most exciting natural cold remedies, zinc lozenges, can reduce the average duration of cold symptoms in half, according to several important studies.
In one randomized, double-blind study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (7/00) and conducted at the Detroit Medical Center in Michigan, cold duration was effectively cut from 8.1 to 4.5 days. The duration of coughs was reduced from 6.3 days for the placebo group to 3.1 days for those using zinc lozenges.
In a 1996 study at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, zinc lozenges reduced the average duration of cold symptoms from 7 days to only 4. The study participants were employees of the Clinic. They started using zinc lozenges or dummy placebo lozenges within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms.
The results: the median time for all symptoms to disappear was 7.6 days for the placebo group; the zinc group recovered in 4.4 days.
This study confirms results of several prior tests. In a 1983 study at the University of Texas, zinc lozenges reduced the average duration of cold symptoms from nine days to only three. A 1992 study at Dartmouth College, supported the efficacy of 23 mg. Zinc lozenges.
How does zinc work? Zinc ions may interfere with the replication of cold viruses in the throat, according to George Eby, who conducted the initial study on zinc. But more recent research suggests that zinc may owe its cold-fighting properties to its effect on our immune system, rather than directly on the virus. In either case, many experts now recommend sucking on a 23 mg. zinc lozenge every two hours at the first sign of a cold.
ECHINACEA: HERBAL DEFENSE
The immune enhancing properties of this popular herb are now well documented in the medical literature. Over 300 journal articles confirming the effectiveness of echinacea have appeared in the past decade.
Herbalist Christopher Hobbs recommends taking a “protective dose” of 6-8 echinacea capsules or 2-3 droppers of extract a day when exposed to others with colds or during the early stages of a cold. These dosages should be doubled or tripled during a full-blown cold.
Some research suggests that large doses of echinacea work best in a ten-day course, but that smaller doses may be taken on a daily basis. “Echinacea is the #1 medicinal herb for one simple reason: it works,” says Eve McClure of Quantum. “Our most popular formula is ZincEchinacea, a lozenge which contains zinc, standardized echinacea, propolis, slippery elm, goldenseal and vitamins A and C. And Michael Castleman, who wrote a whole book on cold remedies, calls our lozenges one of his ‘favorite cold cures.’ “
Although scientists continue to disagree as to whether Vitamin C is a cold cure, it is generally accepted that ascorbic acid does boost the immune system. Vitamin C improves white blood cell count, increases the release of prostaglandins and spurs production of virus-destroying macrophages.
Doses between 4000 and 14000 mg. a day can help battle a cold, according to two time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling. Lower doses on a daily basis may help prevent infection. Doses should be spread out throughout the day for maximum absorption.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE MISERABLE WITH A COLD
Popular Over-the-Counter multi-symptom cold drugs are precisely the wrong way to treat a cold, according to the FDA’s Review council on OTC Cold Products. Why? Cold symptoms do not all appear at the same time. So multi-symptom drugs invariably lead to over-medication.
Many experts now recommend a natural approach to “curing” the common cold. “Colds are cured by our immune systems,” says herbalist Bob Bruscia, “By supplementing our diets to support immune response, we can avoid being miserable during the cold season.”
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