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 Herbal Medicine: The Common Cold 

Each "cold-carrying" person has a different tolerance for Vitamin C. Some people will find that 250mg six times daily is perfect, while others will take as much as 1,000mg ten times daily. Perhaps the most important thing to know when using Vitamin C is that it is best taken in intervals.

  • Zinc, a vital trace mineral, is involved in more body functions than any other mineral and unfortunately is often lacking in the modern American diet due to soil losses and food processing. This deficiency will often produce a variety of symptoms, including the common cold. Zinc has been shown to improve white blood cell functions and increase T lymphocyte production. Zinc will aid in decreasing the duration of a cold as well as the symptoms.

  • Vitamin A, Retinol, and Beta-carotene are all useful in resolving infections and protecting mucus membranes. Any excess of Vitamin A in our bodies is stored in the liver. During a cold, your Vitamin A storage is drawn upon and must be replaced. Interestingly, the body must have Zinc in order to release and make thorough use of Vitamin A. Some individuals who are prone to repeated colds may be deficient in both Vitamin A and Zinc.


    • Echinacea: is considered one of the great American "wonder herbs." It has been used for at least 200 years to treat all sorts of infections including the common cold. It is most effective when taken in small, frequent doses.

    • Goldenseal: is one of our most powerful herbal antibacterials and is often used in combination with Echinacea. It will help dry stuffy and congested mucus membranes and ease inflammation.

    • Sage: like the elder flower, it is used most successfully during the first stages of a cold. It is also effective in lessening the head symptoms of a cold.

    • Peppermint: a cooling herb that helps to ease fever and relieve stomach symptoms associated with a cold.

    • Chamomile : a calming herb that helps to relax the nervous system as well as the stomach. It has been used for centuries by the Europeans for everything from teething in babies to indigestion in elderly people.

    • Ginger : resolves nausea. A couple of cups of ginger tea will increase sweating and help reduce fever.

    • Red Clover : aids the lymphatic system and helps clear accumulated toxins that can cause congestion and inflammation.

    How Do We Prevent Colds?

    Why is it that some of us may catch several colds a year and others never seem to be plagued by this common ailment? In Chinese medicine we say that your "wei qi" or "defensive energy" is not strong enough to protect you from the various viruses to which you are exposed daily. So, it stands to reason that one would be much better off strengthening the immune system and preventing a cold, rather than battling it once it arrives. What are some of the steps we can take to prevent colds?

    Get rid of those tissues! Used tissues harbor bacteria and viruses. Cluttering up your counters, bathrooms, etc., with used tissues increases the chances that you and your family will be re-infected.

    • Good Diet

      - Easy does it. Moderation.

    • Exercise

      - There are numerous studies demonstrating the benefit of aerobic exercise and its part in the treatment and prevention of obesity, depression, diabetes and coronary artery disease. One such study concluded that 15-60 minutes of running, jogging, walking, bicycling, swimming or other endurance sports for 3-5 days each week (at 60-90% maximum heart rate) will undoubtedly enhance health and natural resistance.
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     About The Author
    Janet Zand LAc, OMDJANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
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