Supplements for Cold & Flu

Both the common cold and flu are infections caused by viruses that enter the nose and throat and then spread throughout the upper respiratory system from there. In response to this invasion, the immune system produces mucus as a line of defense, which leads to the familiar symptoms of congestion, sneezing and coughing. Sore throat, fever, aches, chills and fatigue may also accompany these ailments.

While vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements won't necessarily prevent you from catching a cold/flu bug or cure you of all symptoms, some may help reduce the course and lesson the severity of the illness.

Perhaps the most well-known natural cold/flu therapy is taking high doses of vitamin C, although experts can't seem to agree on whether or not it really works. This powerful antioxidant and natural antihistamine can boost the immune system and reduce stress that makes one vulnerable to infection, and seems to reduce symptoms of cold and flu in some people.

Vitamin A may have an antiviral affect, and can help heal inflamed mucous membranes. Sucking on zinc lozenges seems to combat cold and flu viruses - some studies say it can cut the duration of a cold in half - as well as soothe the throat.

The herb echinacea, taken at the first sign of illness, seems to ward off a severe case of it. There is no shortage of echinacea-based remedies on the market. Goldenseal is another herb that strengthens the immune system and helps treat the cold and flu. Natural cough suppressants include slippery elm, marshmallow and licorice, and inhaling eucalyptus-infused steam can open up sinus passages.

An old folk remedy mixture of lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar may help decongest the upper respiratory system. If you develop a bacterial infection like sinusitis or bronchitis try taking garlic to boost your immunity to fight it.

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