Soothe a cold’s aches and sniffles naturally

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Wash your hands. Eat lots of veggies. Drink plenty of water. Those standbys are still good advice for cold and flu season. But despite your best efforts, you might catch it anyway. You don’t have to suffer: Here are some natural cold remedies for soothing the aches, pains and congestion.

5 natural ways to find relief

Before trying these or any herbal treatment, be sure to consult with your physician. Even herbal supplements can have side effects and can interact with your other medications, so it’s important to check.

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 germs and allergens from irritating 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. Feverfew’s effectiveness on migraines has been studied more than others. In several studies, a percentage of those who supplemented with feverfew saw an improvement in their 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 is a good detoxifier for the liver. 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 warm and 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 astralagus supplements in health food stores.

5. “Wet socks”

To soothe headache, sore throat, congestion and sneezing associated with colds, 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 woolen 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.

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