Treating a Cold, Naturally

Treating a cold is a snap with this natural cold remedy and natural fever remedy.
By the Mother Earth News editors
February/March 1992
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During mild colds, natural remedies can have both a soothing and healing effect.

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Rare is the year that we don't experience at least one whopper of a cold or one bone-shaking case of the flu. These home remedies won't do a thing to actually kill the virus of the hour, but they may help stimulate your own immune system to fight back a little harder, as well as offer real symptom relief — respite from the fever, coughing and assorted aches that make you too miserable to sleep. The ingredients may sound exotic, but most health-food stores stock them. After that, all you need is a saucepan and a strainer. Note: As with all medications, these formulas should not be used by pregnant or nursing women without first consulting a doctor. These remedies should also not be administered to children under two, and adults over 65 may wish to dilute the strength.

Natural Cold Remedy

There's an old saying that if you ignore a cold, it clears up in a week, but that if you seek medical attention, you can cure it in just seven days. The following formula is no miracle cure, but some scientific studies show that both echinacea and ginger may have immune-stimulating properties similar to those of one of the body's own antiviral chemicals, interferon. Chinese ephedra contains ephedrine, a powerful decongestant. Slippery elm bark and honey help soothe the throat. And lemon juice is high in cold-fighting vitamin C. Healthy adults may drink up to two cups a day.

1 cup water
2 teaspoons powdered echinacea root
1 teaspoon powdered Chinese ephedra (ma huang)
2 teaspoons powdered slippery elm bark
2 teaspoons freshly grated or powdered gingerroot
Honey and/or lemon to taste

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add echinacea, Chinese ephedra and slippery elm bark and simmer 10 to 15 minutes on low heat. Add remaining ingredients and remove from heat. Steep for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain. Reheat before drinking. Makes one cup.

Variation: During the initial stage of a cold, when a sore throat is the main symptom and congestion has not yet developed, make this formula without Chinese ephedra and increase use to three cups a day.

Natural Fever Remedy

Fever may be a symptom of many different illnesses. This formula may reduce fever related to the minor ones. Most illnesses that involve fever, however, require professional care. Healthy adults may consume up to three cups a day.

1 cup water
2 teaspoons powdered echinacea root
1 to 2 teaspoons powdered meadowsweet leaves
10 to 15 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon powdered goldenseal root Honey and/or lemon to taste

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add echinacea and simmer 10 to 15 minutes on low heat. Add meadowsweet leaves, garlic and powdered goldenseal and remove from heat. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Add the honey and/or lemon. Drink it cool or reheat it. Makes one cup.

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