(NaturalNews) Let's face it, some natural remedies just don't work. Unfortunately, still more can have serious side effects, and others haven't been studied enough for the scientific or medical community to embrace them as effective or safe.
If you favor a natural approach to treating (and preventing) seasonal colds, review the best natural cold remedies and decide which ones you want to try. Or just follow the research and stick with the best-known remedies and preventive strategies
Ginseng to prevent and treat colds
Ginseng is one of the most researched natural remedies for cold treatment and prevention. Before you head out to buy supplements, though, make sure you are buying the most appropriate ginseng variety for your needs. American ginseng can help prevent the common cold by bolstering your immune system, while Siberian ginseng may help relieve your cold symptoms.
If you take other supplements or prescription drugs, be sure to ask a healthcare provider about adding any variety of ginseng to the mix, as it can interact with many medications.
Echinacea to treat cold symptoms
Echinacea is probably not useful for prevention, but it may be useful when taken within the first 24 hours of the first cold symptoms. Scientists think Echinacea reduces inflammation to combat cold and flu symptoms, and it may also bolster the immune system if it works on humans as it does in animal models. If you use Echinacea for treatment, try to only use it for the short-term - it hasn't been well studied for long-term use, and can cause some uncomfortable side effects in some people.
Chicken soup for the cold soul
Most people love a big bowl of chicken soup when they have a cold and don't care whether it helps with symptoms. Good news is it actually may work. Chicken soup may speed healing by killing off some of the virus cells and soothing a sore throat or stuffy nose.
Zinc lozenges for cold treatment and prevention
Throat drops are an ever-popular remedy for cold symptoms, and zinc lozenges may just be the gold standard. In some studies, zinc throat drops actually seemed to prevent colds as well as relieve symptoms. Try one or two per day for prevention and about one lozenge every hour or two once a cold starts.
No matter which of the above prevention methods or remedies you choose, you can be sure that they have some pretty credible research behind them. Treat your colds with confidence this winter.
About the author: Katie BrindAmour is a Certified Health Education Specialist and passionate health and wellness freelance writer. She enjoys cooking, yoga, gardening, searching for the perfect wine and chocolate combination, and spending time with friends. She has a Masters in Biology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Services Management and Policy. She also enjoys blogging for Women's Healthcare Topics and Healthline Networks.