Uncommon Cold Remedies

November 19, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

The common cold is back with a vengeance this year, at least in my neck of the woods. And, while “it” never really goes away, the common cold certainly becomes more prevalent during the winter months and is as dependable as clockwork or rush hour traffic. Researchers are continually on the lookout for natural and safe ways of managing and preventing symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections (URIs). As a result, each year there are more and more holistic and integrative options to consider if you hope to avoid the seemingly inevitable coughing, runny nose and sneezing that comes with the season.

In recent months, five natural remedies have demonstrated efficacy and safety in protecting against URIs and/or minimizing symptoms relating to such viral infections. 1) Echinaforce, a standardized Echinacea purpurea extract, reduced “the total number of cold episodes” and the need for medication in a recent, 4 month placebo-controlled trial conducted at Cardiff University, UK. 2) Immun Age, a fermented papaya extract, also showed potential in lowering viral susceptibility by supporting immune function (lysozyme production and secretary IgA) and antioxidant expression in the respiratory tract of 90 study volunteers. 3) Kyolic, a popular aged garlic extract, increased the number of infection fighting cells (Natural Killer and T cells) and decreased the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms in a double-blind trial involving 120 men and women. 4) Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, two healthy strains of bacteria or probiotics, lowered the incidence of cough, fever and school absence in children who were supplemented with the probiotics instead of a placebo over a 3 month period of time. 5) Finally, if a cold does set in, consuming 10 grams nightly of various types of honey (citrus, eucalyptus or labiatae) provides symptomatic relief of “children’s nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to URI”. Prevention is always best, but safe remedies that can help you ride out a common cold are always welcome news as well.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Safety and Efficacy Profile of E. Purpurea to Prevent Common Cold (link)

Study 2 - Is There a Potential Application of a Fermented Nutraceutical in Acute (link)

Study 3 - Supplementation w/ Aged Garlic Extract Improves Both NK and γδ-T Cell(link)

Study 4 - Randomized Controlled Trial of Probiotics to Reduce Common Cold (link)

Study 5 - Effect of Honey on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality: A Double-Blind … (link)

Honey Reduces Cough Symptoms and Improves Sleep Quality

Source: Pediatrics. 2012 Sep;130(3):465-71. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health, Nutritional Supplements

4 Comments to “Uncommon Cold Remedies”

  1. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    My favorite is “Stoss Therapy”, 1,000iu of vit D3 for each pound of body weight. Start at 1st sign of sore throat. I’m usually cured after 1 dose (over 200,000iu).

  2. JP Says:

    Thanks for that, Iggy. I’m aware of Stoss Therapy but failed to find any study of it in relation to UPIs. Of late, lower-dose Vitamin D interventions have yielded mixed results:

    http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2012/PP/c2pp25179e

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/3/e561.abstract

    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1367547

    Be well!

    JP

  3. JP Says:

    Iggy,

    I should add that when a cold does come knocking at my door, I do increase my Vitamin D intake – usually to about 12,000 IUs/day for about a week or so.

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Update: Pycnogenol may shorten the duration and severity of the common cold …

    http://www.minervamedica.it/en/journals/panminerva-medica/article.php?cod=R41Y2014N04A0301

    Panminerva Med. 2014 Dec;56(4):301-8.

    Improvement of common cold with Pycnogenol®: a Winter registry study.

    AIM: This registry study aimed to evaluate the use of Pycnogenol® (pine bark extract), an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-edema natural compound, on symptoms of common cold. Main targets were the evaluation in otherwise healthy subjects of signs/symptoms, the reduction in days of disease, and the prevention of complications.

    METHODS: All subjects used the “best management” for colds and one group added Pycnogenol® capsules (50 mg, bid/die) from day zero. The resulting registry groups were comparable. A total of 70 subjects used Pycnogenol® and 76 acted as controls.

    RESULTS: The number of days with a perceived cold affecting the patients was reduced in the supplement group (3.1;0.4 days) in comparison with controls (4.2;0.2). Lost working days were significantly decreased in the supplement group (0.55;0.3 versus 0.67;0.3 in controls). The need to use any other compound (on demand basis; OTC products) to manage symptoms and the occurrence of any clinically significant complications were significantly lower in the Pycnogenol® group. The most frequent complications were the extension of the cold to a period longer than 4 days, a tracheal extension and a bronchial involvement. Pycnogenol® was significantly effective in reducing the number of complications. The daily evolution of the “pillar cold signs” indicates a significantly faster resolution in the supplement group. With supplementation the decrease in symptom scores appears to be significantly more important. Pycnogenol® supplementation appears to make regression faster for all symptoms in comparison with controls.

    CONCLUSION: In this pilot registry, Pycnogenol® appears to decrease symptoms of cold and shorten its course also preventing some complications.

    Be well!

    JP

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