Natural cold cures

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 January, 2004, 12:00am

If you don't know someone who has been coughing and sniffling their way through the last week, then you must have been living under a rock. We are right in the middle of the cold and flu season - and with the threat of Sars everyone is super-sensitive about coughing and sneezing.

I was feeling pretty smug about having stayed healthy all through the winter until Monday, when I went down with the bug that has been working its way through our office.

I paid a visit to our local doctor and came back with not one, but three bags of pills, including antibiotics. It is standard procedure in Hong Kong to prescribe pills for everything, but it's not always the best advice, especially if you just have a common cold. Forget the antibiotics and fight a cold naturally.

The best time to treat a cold is when you don't have it. So if you want to stay cold-free, keep your immune system strong by eating well and getting enough exercise and sleep.

However, if you are unlucky enough to come down with one, here are some natural therapies that will see you through.

Vitamin C - This helps the body fight infection. The best sources of vitamins are always fresh fruit and vegetables. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, especially grapefruit which also helps to detoxify your liver and help boost your immune system. Stop at a roadside juice stall and for $10 you can get a combo of any or all of the following: grapefruit, orange, grapes and bananas.

Echinacea - some people rave about this herbal concoction as a way of further boosting the immune system and helping prevent colds. Whatever - it can't hurt.

Garlic - It won't do your breath any favours, but if you're sniffling at home you probably won't care about that. Garlic has been shown to kill several types of bacteria and viruses as well as boost the immune system. Try eating a clove raw between two pieces of bread - add honey if you can't stand the taste.

Ginger - A fantastic anti-viral herb. It is valuable for preventing and treating colds, sore throats and inflammation of mucus membranes. Ginger reduces pain and fever and has a mild sedative effect that will encourage rest. And what's more, it tastes good. Drink a ginger tea, or soak fresh ginger in hot water. You can also add it to smoothies and juices.

Lemon - Lemon juice is good for decongesting the respiratory system. Drink it with hot water, ginger and honey. It's very soothing.


Try to stay stress free - you are less likely to get ill if you have a relaxed lifestyle.

If you are sick, try to eat light, healthy meals, so that your body can spend less energy digesting and more on recovering

Hydrotherapy is a good option: if you have got a cold, have a hot bath and drink plenty of water