If your cold and flu symptoms have you running for the nearest over-the-counter medications, you may want to think again. Those medications can often leave you feeling groggy and like your head is in the clouds. In fact, they may not even be effective. CVS Health is pulling some cough-and-cold treatments that contain an ingredient deemed ineffective by doctors and researchers. The drug store chain said it will remove a small number of oral decongestants that contain phenylephrine as the only active ingredient. Try these natural solutions instead.
- Honey – Although honey won’t cure a cold, it does have benefits and may relieve certain common cold symptoms – and it’s a sweeter alternative to some of the others. Recent research has shown that honey can be used to relieve sore throats and coughs. When studying children with cold symptoms, researchers found that taking honey was more effective at relieving coughs in children and was rated more favorably among their parents than cough medication.
- Coconut Oil – Oil pulling is an ancient remedy that promises to “pull” harmful bacteria and organisms straight from your body. Oil pulling involves swishing oil in the mouth to detox the body, cleanse the sinuses, and improve overall oral health. Prior to brushing your teeth and on an empty stomach, take one tablespoon of organic coconut oil into your mouth. Swish the oil around for 15-20 minutes and spit it out (not down the drain!). The oil pulls out harmful bacteria like a magnet.
- Essential Oils – Eucalyptus oil can be used aromatically to open nasal passages and relieve respiratory problems and can also be applied topically to help with muscle aches and congestion. Fill the bathroom or kitchen sink with steaming water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Drape a towel over your head and lean over the steam to get the maximum benefit. The eucalyptus will open your bronchial tubes, ease congestion, and make breathing easier. Peppermint oil can soothe a tummy ache.
- Garlic — It may not be the most pleasant-smelling remedy, but garlic is a natural antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial ingredient you likely already have on-hand. Garlic appears to stimulate the immune system and may also help fight viruses. There is some preliminary evidence that garlic may lower the risk of catching a cold. Garlic works best when consumed raw; crushed, diced, or minced. Overcooking garlic may destroy important medicinal compounds and the enzymes necessary for it to be effective.
- Apple Cider Vinegar — Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, to a glass of water helps to alkalinize the body. Creating an alkaline environment helps kill bacteria and viruses. Start drinking it at the first sign of illness and repeat several times a day until the symptoms subside. If drinking it straight up is a bit much for you, try adding maple syrup or mixing it in some hot tea.