Picture this: It’s 2AM, you’re exhausted, and every time you start to slip off to sleep, that little tickle in your throat drags you back into the waking world just in time to…COUGH!
That’s right, friends, cold and flu season is officially underway.
With the drop in temperatures comes a drop in immune system functioning — which means sniffles, sneezes, and snot-nosed mouth-breathing will soon follow. But before you reach for the DayQuil and Redbull, we’re here to tell you there’s another way.
While it might not be as cool as a caffeine and acetaminophen cocktail, a holistic cold care plan can keep you from getting sick as a dog, instead of just masking the symptoms.
And, when done right, this approach can keep you from getting sick in the first place.
Get back to enjoying the cozy weather and mindblowing foliage this season has to offer — sniffle-free and sleeping through the night. Read on, wellness seeker, to learn the nitty gritty of preventing illness and strategically implementing cold remedies from Dr. Neal and his 20+ years of clinical experience.
In This Article:
- Cold prevention tips to keep from getting sick
- Supplements for cold symptoms
- Clear congestion with supplements
- Best herbs for cough
Cold Prevention: A Holistic Approach to Not Getting Sick
“Is Dr. Neal really saying he’s discovered how to prevent the common cold?”
Well, yes, kinda! While we can’t fully eradicate the virus with these simple yet powerful tools, we can use Dr. Neal’s strategic approach to minimize our chances of getting sick. The fundamentals of holistic preventative care are reducing exposure and having a solid foundation for overall health.
Reducing Exposure Looks Like:
- Washing your hands
- Not hanging out with sick people
- Wearing a mask in public (particularly in confined spaces)
Other helpful tricks include staying away from children — who, bless their hearts, are virulent carriers of cold and flu germs — getting enough rest, and upping your fluid intake.
Now, this may sound too good to be true, and it is true that even the most careful prevention practices aren’t infallible, but these tips will go a long way in keeping that cold at bay.
Prevention is most effective when it works in conjunction with strong overall health, though — it’s not a magic pill. So if you’re sleeping 3-4 hours a night and subsisting solely off Taco Bell and gas station sushi (no judgment, we’ve all been there!), then even the Boy in the Bubble’s prevention plan won’t be enough.
Prevent Colds with a Strong Foundation of Wellness
It’s not just poor sleep and plastic food, though. Lack of exercise, chronic stress, and exposure to environmental toxins can all make us more susceptible to illness.
Building a strong foundation for your health, then, begins in the mundane: diet, sleep, exercise, stress management, and (everyone’s favorite) lifestyle changes. A truly holistic approach to cold prevention has to factor in all 5 of these domains — don’t waste your time with anything less.
Because — and here’s a secret the wellness industry doesn’t want you to know — the only real way to boost your immune health and ward off colds is to optimize these 5 crucial areas of your life. Don’t believe all the Vitamin C hype, almost nobody is actually deficient.
While certain deficiencies, like Vitamin A, can increase your chances of getting sick, it’s significantly more efficient to target the nutritionally bankrupt diet that results in those deficiencies than to supplement them directly.
Pro Tip: If you feel like you’re rocking all five domains and still really want to take a supplement for immune health, try out probiotics! Not antibiotics, which won’t actually help you with a cold.
Holistic Cold Remedies for Getting Better, Faster
It usually starts with a scratchy throat, a runny nose, or sinus buildup behind the eyes — uh oh, here comes the cold!
Even with all of Dr. Neal’s tips under your belt, prevention tricks aren’t 100% effective 100% of the time. So what do we do when the viral bugs make it through all our staunchly prepared defenses?
Timing is crucial when it comes to holistic cold treatment: Dr. Neal always says the first 24-48 hours are the make-or-break period for catching these symptoms early and determining how badly you get sick, if at all.
So where do you start if time’s running out?!
Well, first — scroll back up to the Wellness Pyramid. Nothing will zap that cold faster than rest, fluids, proper nutrition, good sleep, and stress management. If you’ve got all those checked off the list, though, there are a couple more things that can tip the scales in your favor.
Best Cold Remedy for the First 24 Hours
On days one and two of feeling the symptoms creeping in, your best bet is zinc lozenges.
These lozenges work by targeting the viral molecules accumulating in the back of your throat: by coating them consistently with zinc, we can force them out of the throat and down into the much more resilient gut.
Slowly dissolve one lozenge six times a day, making sure to go 15 minutes without food or drink afterward to give it the best chance to work. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that an oral zinc supplement does not offer the same benefits — the topical application is key to dislodging the cold bugs.
If the zinc does the trick, great! You’re welcome 🙂
If not — time to move on to the big guns.
Herbal Remedies for Colds in the First 72 Hours
First up: Echinacea.
Yeah, yeah, we’ve seen the studies that say echinacea won’t help with a cold — we just don’t agree.
While it’s true that most products miss the mark, choosing a carefully formulated high-dose echinacea like Quick Defense and taking two capsules five times a day starting within 72 hours of your first symptoms can rapidly reduce inflammation caused by the virus, as well as the symptoms themselves.
While we’re at it, we’ll also bring out one of the most ancient treatments of all — warm tea! The fluids help you stay hydrated and flush all that gunk out of your system, while the heat helps alleviate swelling in the upper respiratory tract.
Some of Dr. Neal’s favorite teas for a sick day are:
- White Tea
Add a little raw ginger and honey to any of these for an extra zing, and you’re well on your way to kicking the cold to the curb.
Supplements for Cold Symptoms
As our immune system kicks into overdrive to fight off the infection, the rest of the body gets to feel really crappy for its efforts. Which means it’s time for symptom management. The cold symptoms we all complain about are generally coughing, sore throat, fever and aches, and congestion.
If we’re able to tackle even one or two of these, the cold gets just that much easier to manage.
Herbs for Sinus Congestion
Clearing congestion can be a real pain in the nose but it doesn’t need to be.
Although traditional decongestants such as Sudafed can be effective, they work by constricting blood vessels all over the body which can result in elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Because we’re holistic rebels here at Woodstock Vitamins, we prefer to skip the vasoconstrictors in favor of clinically-backed, all-natural herbal formulas, like Sinus Blaster.
Formulated to clear congestion via plant-based aromatics, Sinus Blaster works directly on the sinuses while leaving all your other blood vessels alone. And because the herbal constituents work in tandem with the body’s processes, this non-drowsy tincture offers genuine, long-term relief instead of a band-aid for the symptoms.
Be warned — it does have a powerful taste, but what good medicine doesn’t?
Combine With: Natural decongestant spays like Xlear; wellness practices like neti pot nasal rinses and sleeping with a humidifier.
Herbs for Cough and Chest Congestion
The cough reflex is an invaluable component of the body’s ability to clear infection by keeping the lungs free of mucus and fluid… But sometimes, we just need to shut it off for a while.
Our first plan of attack is always Bronchial Syrup: loaded with powerhouse decongestant herbs like slippery elm, wild cherry bark, and horehound, Dr. Neal designed this formula specifically to target chest and lung symptoms, including coughs and upper respiratory tract congestion.
The proprietary blend of cooling and moisturizing herbal extracts in our Bronchial Syrup coats your innards, calming inflammation so you can stop hacking and get back to sleep. But make sure to pump up your fluid intake and keep that humidifier running for best results.
Combine With: Consistent hydration; wellness practices like sleeping with your head and neck elevated.
Home Remedies for Fever and Aches
We’re earthy-crunchy to the core, but as far as fevers and aches go, there really isn’t anything more effective than a correctly dosed and administered protocol of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
When taken according to your doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions, the dose will be low enough and the duration short enough that there is little to no risk of long-term concerns. But take these OTC options with food and avoid aspirin if you can. Asprin acts as a blood thinner and can increase the risk of Reye’s syndrome, especially in children with a viral infection.
Natural Cold Remedies are Pretty Sick
By fine-tuning your overall health, following Dr. Neal’s fundamentals of prevention, and nipping symptoms in the bud with focused treatment, you’ll be sturdier than ever come cold season. An ounce of prevention goes a long way, and an ounce of Sinus Blaster goes even further!
Want more cold remedies for your sniffle season toolkit? Shimmy on over to a free Counterside Consult to chat with Dr. Neal about your mucus in detail.