Experts debunk natural remedies unlikely to bust a cold

Wagga naturopath, pharmacist ticks off the natural remedies likely to beat a cold


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Naturopath and herbalist Jenny Powell and just a few "cold remedies".

Naturopath and herbalist Jenny Powell and just a few "cold remedies".

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There's all-sorts of cold busters people believe that work.

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EVERY family has an old remedy to fend off the common cold.

Garlic, vitamin C, honey tea - everyone swears by their own remedies, regardless of scientific backing.

And there has been a lot of effort in proving or debunking the effectiveness of natural supplements.

Michael O'Reilly, of Michael O'Reilly Pharmacy, has recommended zinc, vitamin C, olive leaf, and echinacea as natural remedies for colds because they are "a little more" accepted scientifically.

Turmeric and garlic, on the other hand, are not as useful as some might believe.

"Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory for aches and pains, so I don't routinely recommended it. Likewise with garlic - there are better options out there," Mr O'Reilly said, stressing that his advice is just for the common cold, not influenza.

Before taking natural or medicinal treatments, he said people should talk to the pharmacist for the best course of action.

Vitamin C helps fend off colds.

Vitamin C helps fend off colds.

"Natural remedies can interfere with some medicines, which can become a big problem," he said.

"It is important not to just go buy them. Speak to a professional who can tell you if it's appropriate."

At the end of the day, he said common sense beats the common cold.

"Stay home and rest, drink lots of fluids, wash hands regularly and sneeze into the elbow," he said.

Naturopath and herbalist Jenny Powell, of Riverina Natural Therapy, said people should look to build a strong immune defence during this time of year.

"A stronger immune system reduces the severity of sickness," she said.

Ms Powell also recommends zinc and vitamin C, but she encouraged people to source these nutrients naturally rather than in a supplement form.

She said andrographis - a herbal plant - was also confirmed to stimulate a natural immune response and preventing a cold.

REMEDY: Naturopath and herbalist Jenny Powell, of Riverina Natural Therapy swears by zinc, vitamin C and andrographis to beat a cold. Picture: Daina Oliver

REMEDY: Naturopath and herbalist Jenny Powell, of Riverina Natural Therapy swears by zinc, vitamin C and andrographis to beat a cold. Picture: Daina Oliver

"Red and yellow capsicum, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, strawberries, brussel sprouts, broccoli and tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C," she said.

"Zinc is found in seafood, meat, spinach, seeds such as pumpkin seeds, nuts like cashews and beans, including chickpeas.

"Garlic is also an immune booster and ginger helps warm you and reduces inflammation."

But when it comes to treating a common cold, Ms Powell puts her weight behind rest and sleep.

"Rest is number one with a cold and getting a good night sleep is very important," she said.

"We also lose fluid rapidly when we have a cold so it is very important to keep hydrated."

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