Soothe Aches and Sniffles Naturally

Wash your hands. Eat lots of veggies. Drink plenty of water. Those standbys are still good advice for avoiding viral assaults. But despite your best efforts, you might catch it anyway. Here are some natural remedies for soothing the aches, pains, and congestion. (Before trying these or any herbal treatment, be sure to consult with your physician. Even herbal supplements can have side effects or interact with medications, so it's important to check.

5 natural ways to find relief

1. Almond oil.

Rub a couple of drops of almond oil inside your nose. This ayurvedic treatment forms a protective film along the walls of your nostrils, helping prevent microscopic germs from penetrating the lining of your nose. Almond oil is also soothing to the sinuses and can help ease dryness.

2. Feverfew.

This plant's flowers look like small daisies. In herbal medicine, the crushed leaves are used to ease migraine headaches, settle tummy troubles and help the symptoms of arthritis. In several studies, a percentage of those who supplemented with feverfew saw an improvement in migraine symptoms. So feverfew may help ease headaches associated with colds and viruses. Note that pregnant women should not take feverfew since it can cause small uterine contractions.

3. Dandelion.

Dandelion helps the liver detoxify. Plus it's high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A -- all beneficial in fighting seasonal viruses. Dandelion root tea is easy to find and has a pleasant earthy taste. Dandy Blend, an instant coffee substitute, is also a tasty way to introduce dandelion into your diet. And if you can find them, fresh dandelion leaves are delicious in a salad.

4. Astralagus.

This herb, used in Chinese medicine, is thought to stimulate white blood cells, which help fight infection in the body. It's shown as an immune booster in studies. You can find astragalus supplements in health food stores.

5. "Wet socks"

To soothe a headache, sore throat, congestion and sneezing associated with viruses, try this folk remedy. Soak a pair of cotton socks in ice water. Meanwhile. take a bath or soak your feet in hot water for about 10 minutes. Then put on the ice-water socks. Next, pull on a pair of wool socks that completely cover the cotton socks. Wear them overnight or until the cotton socks are dry. This treatment awakens the reflexive centers in your feet, which are connected to your chest and head. Because your body has to work to warm up the cold socks, circulation is increased, revving up your immune system.