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General characteristics

General characteristics

A cold is classified as a viral infection of the upper respiratory passages, the nose, throat, Eustachian tubes, larynx and trachea. The mucous membranes lining these passages become inflamed causing the familiar blocked nose and congestion accompanied by a thin watery or thickened mucous discharge.
Herbs, foods and natural healing can prevent the onset or shorten the duration of the cold and alleviate the accompanying symptoms.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

At the first sign of a cold eat copious amounts of garlic, either raw or put into empty capsules. If you can eat a clove or two before bed then the cold symptoms will lessen or even disappear completely by the next day.

Avoid big heavy meals and go instead for warming spicy soups and vegetable bakes with lots of spices like ginger, chilli, garlic and the like.

Drink plenty of water and herb teas to keep hydrated and reduce mucous viscosity. Fruit juices made from fresh citrus fruits will provide plenty of vitamin C.

Add honey to your herb teas or juices for its anti-viral properties.

Avoid alcohol and smoking and get plenty of rest.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

There are great many herbs that can relieve symptoms of a cold so check other entries such as coughs, fever, earache.
A really useful tea mix could include equal parts of dried elderflower and elderberry, peppermint, yarrow, plantain leaf, sage and boneset. Use 2 teaspoons of the mixed herbs per cup and drink at least 3 cups daily to promote a decent sweat and relieve congestion, aches and pains and increase the bodies natural immune responses. You can add a little grated ginger or chilli powder to enhance the effect of the other herbs.


Ground ivy and violet leaf could be added to the above forumula for an additional decongestant effect.


Lemon balm tea is anti-viral and relaxing and mood lifting and can ease many symptoms.


Hot buchu leaf tea will also help to produce a cleansing sweat.

Chamomile tea can also be useful.
Angelica root is very warming and stimulating to the circulation, it also helps to clear mucous and congestion. You could add a half teaspoon to the above tea for its cold busting qualities.
Elecampagne root is warming, drying and helps to bring out excessive mucous.
Echinacea tincture can be taken throughout the day, a teaspoon in a little water up to 5 times daily to boost the immune response. You can use echinacea alone or in combination with tinctures of astragalus and siberian ginseng.
Burdock root as a tea or tincture can help to clear congestion from the body and improve the immune response to infection.
Grapeseed extract also provides anti-viral protection.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Stay warm and get plenty of rest.
Inhalations using essential oils like thyme, pine, eucalyptus, peppermint and olbas oil can relieve stuffy congestion in the nose and ears when inhaled from a bowl of hot water or put in an oil burner.
Make a herbal snuff using a pinch of mustard powder, chilli and ginger or horseradish powders. Put two pinhead sized portions aside and sniff a portion into each nostril, using a straw for example, then gently pinch the nose and sit back and let the powder do its work. It will make you sweat and is a powerful decongestant which can even unblock painfully congested sinuses.
Take a warm bath and add a few drops each of pine and eucalyptus essential oils to the bath water.
Dipping the toes in ice cold water for several minutes ( until thoroughly chilled) has a strange reflex action on the mucous membranes of the nose. It lowers the temperature within the nasal passages and results in a natural drying out of the nostrils equivalent to the action of antihistamines.

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