This week I’m talking about natural remedies for the common cold. Colds are mostly mild and resolve without a lot of assistance, however, there are some things you can do to support your child’s immune system without the use of medications. If you missed my previous natural remedy posts, check out my suggested natural remedies for:
What is the common cold?
The common cold is a virus that usually affects and upper respiratory tract. The virus causes symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, congestion, sore throat and cough.
What causes the common cold?
The common cold is caused by a highly contagious virus. It is spread through hand to hand contact, or through the air via sneezes and coughs. The virus may also live on door handles, towels and objects such as toys and phones.
What’s wrong with over-the-counter medications for cold and congestion?
Visiting a doctor is usually not necessary during the common cold. If symptoms are severe a doctor may suggest over the counter medications such as analgesics, NSAIDS, decongestants and cough suppressants. These medications do address symptoms but they also turn off the body’s natural immune response and when the medications wear off symptoms will return because healing has not occurred. Because a cold is caused by a virus (not a bacteria) antibiotics will not help. Check out these remedies for stuffy noses if your child has congestion.
Natural remedies for the common cold.
During a cold virus it is important to eat nutrient-dense, easy to digest foods like mineral broth soups (vegetable soup is great), green smoothies with a small amount of coconut oil (coconut oil is anti-viral), or steamed vegetables.
Allow your child to rest as much as possible while sick. Rest and sleep allow the body to repair and heal. Avoid stress and over stimulation to keep the body out of a stress response. When a child is under stress (whether due to a stressful environment or a stressed mind), the body automatically turns on the sympathetic nervous system and kicks into “survival mode” by increasing heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. This sympathetic response will decrease immune function and make it harder for a child to heal. For faster healing, try to keep your child in a relaxation response by resting or sleeping as much as possible.
Herbs and supplements to consider for the common cold.
Quercetin: This supplement may be helpful to support immune function and also may help to support sinus health. This is a supplement taken by mouth. Please consult a holistic practitioner for dosage.
Elderberry syrup: Elderberry syrup is best to take when symptoms first come on. The elderberry herb is a powerful herb that supports immune function.
Zinc: Zinc is a powerful immune boosting mineral. We use liquid zinc sulfate and I add a few drops to juice for my kids.
Vitamin D: To support immune function during healing. Vitamin D is a good supplement to take year round however in times of acute illness you may increase your child’s Vitamin D intake.
Probiotics: It is supremely important to increase your child’s probiotic intake during a cold virus to help support healthy digestive and immune function. Make sure to choose a high quality supplement that has a high adherence rate.
Vitamin C: Ester-c is our favorite because it is easy on the tummy. For children open a capsule and add it to smoothies or fresh green juices.