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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Natural Cold Remedies: What to Know

Other Popular Remedies: What to Know continued...

Bruce Barrett, MD, PhD, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, led clinical trials on the herb. He calls the overall results of more than 20 studies “inconclusive.” If echinacea helps prevent colds, “the degree of benefit is not large,” he says. It might stave off one in six colds, he estimates.

Vitamin C: It’s possible that vitamin C may help shorten symptoms. But don’t take too much. High doses may cause kidney stones.

Chicken soup: It tastes good and it could help, a little.Hot liquids in general might help clear mucus and help you breathe better, says Barrett. And studies show that chicken soup does a better job of that than other hot liquids, he says.

Greatly lower your odds of getting a cold in the first place: Wash your hands well and often. Other powerful weapons include regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, and having positive relationships, Barrett says.

If you’re unlucky enough to catch a cold, do everyone around you a favor: “Avoid giving it to others by carefully washing your hands, especially every time you touch your face,” Barrett says. And “if you’re coughing or sneezing, wear a mask.”

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Reviewed on December 04, 2013

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