(NaturalNews) There are many supplements that boast cold fighting properties. The jury is still out on whether or not many of them offer any real benefits, but there are a few tried and true supplements that can help to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold.
Astragalus is one cold-fighting herb which contains polysaccharides (complex sugar modules). These modules stimulate virus-fighting cells in the human immune system. This herb comes in several cold formulations or in stand-alone capsules and should be taken according to package directions.
While Echinacea is a popular cold-fighting herb, a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that it may not be that helpful. The study shows that Echinacea might shorten the length of a cold by about ten percent. However, a study at the University of Indonesia showed that patients who received Echinacea along with vitamin C, selenium, and zinc experienced shorter and less severe colds than individuals who were treated with placebos.
Speaking of zinc, according to The Journal of Infectious Diseases, zinc acetate lozenges can reduce the duration and severity of a cold if they are taken within 24 hours of the first symptoms appearing. The lengths of colds in those study participants who took the zinc was just over half of that in a group that took a placebo. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities of zinc were reasoned to be the cause of its effectiveness.
Another study led by Peter Josling of the Garlic Centre in England`s East Sussex has shown that a daily garlic supplement can help people ward off the common cold. Many folks have used garlic for years to treat cold symptoms and there is now some evidence to suggest this folk method is a genuine remedy. The study showed that a daily garlic supplement that contains allicin could reduce by half the odds of a cold developing. Those who did fall ill with a cold virus recovered much faster than study participants in the placebo group.
Of course, supplements don`t negate the fact that when you`re sick, rest and fluids are two of the most important remedies you can implement. Before using supplements, it is always wise to consult your physician, especially if you`re on any prescription medications.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...