There are no known cures for the common cold, but many plants and healing herbs can be used to soothe symptoms of the cold or flu. Science has now shown that remedies known from folk medicine can calm cold symptoms and even speed healing.
Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is used in Ayurvedic medicine, part of the Hindu folk medicine from India. Traditionally used to treat upper respiratory infections and sinusitis, Andrographis, based on a recent study, showed a reduction in symptoms of coughs, sore throats, headache and fever. If taken during the winter months on a daily basis, Andrographis may prevent upper respiratory tract infections, according to clinical evidence.
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) was used by Native Americans to treat fevers. It can also be used homeopathically. In a recent study, homeopathic doses of boneset effectively decreased cold symptoms.
The herb, Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has been used in medicine for thousands of years. For a cold with congestion, inhale the steam of a chamomile extract or cup of tea. Drowsiness can be a side effect of taking Chamomile. It`s also used for calming the stomach and aiding insomnia.
To treat a sore throat, use a mouthwash of Sage tea or extract in water. Gargling with Sage mouthwash is an approved use for treating sore throat, according to a German Health Commission.
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea puruprea, Echinacea pallida) is widely used around the world to improve the body`s natural immune system and prevent colds and flu. Studies have not borne out Echinacea`s utility in preventing colds but it may help reduce the length and severity of a cold when taken after symptoms begin. Side effects of Echinacea include rashes, and some drug interactions.
Elder (Sambucus nigra) has been shown to have antiviral and antibacterial activity, according to recent laboratory studies. Mixed in equal parts with peppermint, Elder flowers help reduce the fevers and aches caused by colds and the flu.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) is a remedy from folk medicine that has long been used to treat sore throats. It is available as a tea or lozenge. It has a pleasant taste, making it easy to give to children, and has no known side effects.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has a long history in treating cold and upper respiratory tract infections. It contains berberine, which acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. A very cleaning herb, it can be used externally, internally, in tincture or as a tea, and also as a homeopathic remedy.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a fragrant herb long used in herbal medicine. Tea or extract can be inhaled to clear sinusitis and nasal congestion. Rubbed on the skin, it reduces the joint pain and inflammation caused by infections. As a tea, it can help reduce fevers.
Many plants from nature provide healing of symptoms of the cold and flu.
Note: Seek medical help if symptoms persist or worsen. At signs of sudden weakness, or high fever, seek emergency care.