Key Takeaway: It’s hard to have a cold, but I wouldn’t rely too much on medicine for it because my body might get dependent on it. Here are five natural ways to fight it off – but if it’s still there, then you should take meds or see a doctor!
In the past several weeks, I’ve been finding it extra-difficult to wake up early – or rather, to get up quickly from bed (I have four alarms, at 5:30 am, 6:00 am, 6:30 am, and 7:00 am). Around the time my Auntie passed away, I came down with what became quite a bad cold – which always weighs my body down and renders me unable to focus on anything, work or play.
Well, I had to force myself to do both given the many things happening the past week. Quite miraculously, as of this writing, my cold is all but gone – and, mind you, I was inconsistent in taking my medicines for it. I believe that I was able to beat my cold through natural means, doing it in a therapeutic manner that focused on healing my body rather than eliminating the cold itself.
This has been the essence of traditional home remedies for the past millennia. Sure, Western medicine has done so much to improve healthcare. But there are just those times where nothing beats traditional remedies – and a cold is one of them. I find it discouraging to use Western medicines to beat my colds all the time because my body might become dependent on them – and, to quote my mother, “Western medicine cures one but kills another”. She was talking about my Auntie, whose body gave in as a result of becoming overly weak due to the many powerful antibiotics injected into her – but this can serve as timeless wisdom for us.
As such, here are several “natural” remedies I use to treat a cold. Whether or not you take Western medicines, I recommend doing these.
1. Vitamin C, and lots of it
It’s common knowledge that taking lots of vitamin C is a timeless way to beat a cold. While you may consider taking more vitamin C tablets, there are other traditional and natural ways to take it.
Eat foods rich in vitamin C. The conventional choice is citrus fruits, but actually, peppers (or bell peppers) are the highest in vitamin C. That said, my favorite home remedy is a tisane made from lemon (or more often here in the Philippines, calamansi or Philippine lime) with ginger, plus coco nectar. Coco nectar is also recommended for colds patients – take several tablespoons of it, preferably on an empty stomach.
Tsa’a Laya, a Philippine-based social enterprise selling herbal teas sourced entirely locally, has an all-natural (no preservatives) Lemon Ginger blend consisting of lemon, ginger, and turmeric.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Sweating is good for you because it’s another way your body disposes of waste, in addition to the two toilet practices. Remember, the skin is a living and breathing part of our bodies as well. The sweat it secretes is the body’s way of cooling itself down and detoxifying, and with this can go your cold.
3. Bottoms up
I did mention earlier that an herbal tea concoction I made provides immediate relief for me and loved ones suffering from a cold. In general, though, you should drink a lot of fluids – water being your go-to friend for this. Water helps cool your body down and keeps it hydrated so it can do its functions well – including battling the cold.
You may want to infuse your water with citrus or other fruits or herbs to make it tastier and zestier. Again, refer to the vitamin C-rich foods for ideas. Personally, I infuse my water with lemon simply for the taste, but it does provide some relief for colds too.
4. Hot as ice
Cold begets colds – in wintertime, colds are a more than ever common sight. If you have a cold, or think you’ll catch one soon, don’t do “cold” stuff – and that includes bathing in cold water. Bath with warm water – it stimulates your body to cool down.
5. Sleep tight, and sleep well
If you were to call me out for being a hypocrite, this is the thing you should blame me for – I admittedly don’t practice what I preach in this case. But I try. :p
Anyway, rest is the body’s innate method of recovering itself – and to sleep enough hours at the right time is indeed a very good way to beat a cold. The recommended time is 7-8 hours, and I set my schedule from 10 or 11 pm to 6 am. My sleeping habits normalized somewhat the past week, and it does work wonders. (But I’m writing this at midnight now. Lol.)
Remember, all of these are simply remedies to stay comfortable while you’re down with a cold. While it is true that rest does wonders for the body, if your cold is so bad that you still have it for about a week even with all these remedies, then you should take medicine or see a doctor.
The root cause of having a cold is having a compromised immune system that cannot fight off the common cold virus easily. Again, ample rest and a healthy diet are the two key ways to keep your immune system running high and mighty.
Given climate change, and the Northern Hemisphere’s transitioning of the southwest monsoon to the northeast monsoon for tropical countries – or autumn’s giving way to winter – at this time of the year, I expect colds to become more common. Let’s all prepare for it, then.
Have a purposeful week!