This year, people in the U.S. will come down with about 50 million cases of flu and about a billion colds. Although the misery of cold and flu season might be inevitable, one thing is changing: where we look for relief.
Research indicates that many of us are turning away from the over-the-counter medicines we grew up with and toward natural cold and flu remedies, like vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, and others.
Last year, we spent more than $1.5 billion on supplements to boost immunity and help ward off colds and the flu.
The market for these supplements appears to be growing more than twice as fast as the market for over-the-counter cold and flu drugs.
Even though there’s just not much you can do that is effective for cold and flu, people are trying to find something else that might work. They are turning to more natural remedies that really do work!
Here is a list of 10 cold and flu remedies from RealAge.com:
Hot Tea with Honey and Lemon
When you’re sick with a cold or the flu, drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated, and make sure they’re hot. Black tea helps soothe a sore throat and chase away the chills with a good dose of virus-fighting interferon. Add a dollop of antioxidant-rich honey and a squeeze of lemon for vitamin C.
Crave orange juice when you’re sick? It’s full of vitamin C, which may help shorten a cold’s duration of and work as a natural decongestant. Aim for 500 mg of vitamin C four times a day. A cup of OJ has 124 mg. Other good sources of vitamin C include strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli.
Hot chile peppers contain capsaicin, the compound that gives them their kick and acts as a decongestant to help relieve a stuffy nose. Can’t stand the heat? Mild bell peppers can help, too. They don’t have capsaicin, but they’re full of vitamin C.
Grandma was right — a bowl of chicken soup does make you feel better when you’re sick. This time-tested remedy contains cysteine, an amino acid that’s chemically similar to a bronchitis drug to help reduce inflammation. The salty broth also helps thin mucus, and the protein in the chicken helps you produce disease-fighting antibodies.
Garlic and Ginger
Both garlic and ginger can offer potent cold and flu relief. Garlic helps bolster your immune system to squelch an infection, while ginger helps tame nausea. Add a little ginger and garlic to your chicken soup to boost its cold- and flu-fighting power.
There’s a reason why you feel better after taking a hot shower — or sit over a bowl of steaming water with a towel draped over your head. The steam shrinks the mucus membranes in your nose and throat, and encourages mucus to drain, which helps ease a stuffy nose and congestion in your chest.
A neti pot looks like a genie’s lamp that can perform some sinus-clearing magic. Fill it with warm saltwater (use noniodized salt). Then stand over a sink, tilt your head to one side, and slowly pour the liquid through one nostril and allow it to stream out the other — along with a lot of gunk that’s causing congestion.
Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen
Fighting a fever with that flu? Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help bring it down safely. If your fever stays above 103 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours (especially in children), contact your doctor.
Whole grains, like oatmeal, contain selenium, zinc, and beta glucan to help support your immune system and fend off cold and flu infections. Add a generous dollop of yogurt — its probiotics may help keep a virus from settling into your respiratory system.
Nasal Decongestant Spray
A nasal spray can help ease congestion. But don’t overdo it. Using a nasal decongestant spray for more than three days can cause a rebound effect with even worse congestion.
Sources: RealAge.com – WebMD