3 Alternative Treatments for the Common Cold

The common cold is a viral infection that targets the nose and throat as well as the sinuses and bronchial tubes. To date, the cold is one health problem for which the pharmaceutical industry has not yet produced a pill that is effective for treating. Treatment is the only way to deal with a cold as no cure of any kind exists other than patience. Alternative treatments are available to reduce the intensity and length of the cold.


Andrographis is an herb naturally found in Indian and Sri Lanka that has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Indians were commonly treated with andrographis during the great flu epidemic of 1919. The results of a 2004 study on children conducted by Russian and Swedish scientists proved positive in regard to the use of andrographis to treat the common cold. A 2004 study conducted in Thailand concluded that andrographis was more effective than a placebo in treating colds. Andrographis is available in tablet, capsule and extract forms. Side effects may include vomiting, appetite reduction, headaches and rash.


Zinc is effective at synthesizing proteins and metabolizing carbohydrates as well as being part of the process of more than 100 other different enzyme reactions. All this business of zinc contributes to increasing the overall health of the individual. A 1996 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that treatment with zinc reduced the severity of symptoms related to the cold. A Univ. of Texas research study resulted in evidence that taking zinc could reduce the amount of time that the symptoms of a cold were experienced. Eating a proper diet when you come down with a cold and easily supply you with the amount of zinc needed to experience positive effects. Among the foods that contain zinc are chicken legs, pork tenderloin, yogurt, pecans and oysters. If you cannot face the idea of eating all that food, you can also purchase zinc supplements.


Echinacea is a species of plant that is found in the bread basket states of Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas. Native Americans civilizations that populated this area of the country routinely used Echinacea for treating coughing, painful gums and even snakebites. Research conducted in Canada and Austria concluded that Echinacea use resulted in a lessening of the severity of symptoms associated with the common cold. German researches produced a study that claims that Echinacea use resulted in a cold lasting three days less than it lasted for those taking the placebo. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that consuming Echinacea tea when people experienced the onset of symptoms related to colds resulted in those symptoms being relieved more quickly than those who took the placebo. Echinacea is available in forms ranging from a dried root to juice, tea and tincture. Side effects of Echinacea include constipation, nausea, fever and, for some people, an allergic reaction.