2 Your Health: Natural Cold Relievers

Four Remedies to Reduce Cold Duration and Symptoms

The average adult will catch two to three colds this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But folks who catch a cold don’t have to suffer, according to Melissa Young, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic. She says there are a handful of natural remedies that can provide relief.


Vitamin C and zinc

Dr. Young recommends taking vitamin C and zinc at the first sign of a cold.

“There have been some very clear studies on the benefit of decreasing your severity of symptoms and shortening perhaps cold symptoms with vitamin C, as well as zinc,” said Dr. Young.

Dr. Young says a typical dose of vitamin C is 1,000 milligrams.

Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli.

Zinc can be taken as a capsule or a lozenge up to four times daily for one or two days only – Dr. Young says it’s not recommended for extended periods.



Elderberry is an herb that can be found as a syrup, capsule, or lozenge.

Research suggests it can be helpful in fighting off colds if taken at the first sign of symptoms.

Dr. Young says taking one to two teaspoons; four times per day, for three or four days may decrease the severity and duration of a cold.



Echinacea is another popular natural remedy that’s well-known and readily available with antiviral and bacterial properties.

“It’s one of those that actually seem to support the immune cells that fight off infection and it is one that you want to start as soon as you develop symptoms,” said Dr. Young.

Dr. Young suggests taking Echinacea four times daily until symptoms subside. But she warns that people with severe ragweed allergy may want avoid this herb.

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