Sunday, November 11, 2012

Natural versus Medical Cold Remedies

Oh god, what IS that thing?  Oh wait, that's me.

Today was gorgeous.  I felt particularly in tune with the world - the crunch of the leaves under my feet, the rays of light through the trees.  The whole world is magical during the fall, particularly this year when the leaves are covering the ground like a blanket.

No, seriously.
A lot of our neighbors are beginning to sweep up their leaves, which I suppose means we will be too here in the next few days.  It's always heartbreaking for me to clear what everyone else sees as trash.  How is it that untouched leaves fallen in an array of colors are "a mess?"  To me, it's natural fall decor for my lawn, brought to you exclusively by Mother Earth.

I'm also recovering from a cold.  I have a slightly compromised immune system, so cold recovery is always this long, drawn out issue for me.  Of course, this brings me to my topic of choice today.

Ask a pagan and they'll tell you natural cold remedies all the way.  "Avoid the doctor and their commercial chemicals," I've heard.  "Try these simple remedies straight from your cooking cabinet."  Some of them do help with some of the symptoms.  Here's a quick list of things you can do at home that I've tried and had at least some success with.

Salt Water
Gargle this if your sore throat is caused by drainage.  It burns but it works like crazy.

Just Plain Water
It's (probably, no references here) scientifically proven that you can flush that cold out of your system faster by drinking plenty of water.  Besides, you're all mucusy, sweaty and, if you're me, crying, so you'll need to replenish your body's water.

I get nauseous with almost every cold and flu.  Ginger works like a charm.  I usually find a ginger candy.  Also, natural ginger is spicy and tends to clear my nose.

Chamomile Tea and Honey
Good for a stuffy nose and sore throat.  Doesn't fix it and doesn't always help, but it can calm it when I'm towards the end of a cold.

Peppermint Essential Oil
Great for clearing up a mostly, but not totally, stuffy nose.  If you can't breathe through your nose at all, you won't be able to smell it and it'll do no good.  In this case, you'll need to heat it to get it in the air.  Careful on overdoing it.

Now that's some success.  I've tried a lot of other things and had total lack of response.  Seriously, some home remedies simply do not work.  And it could be that they just don't work for me.  It's true, I'm not dismissing them.  I'm simply saying that herbal remedies help, but they certainly do not solve.

Gasp, for shame!  A pagan, an earthy, herbal, green religious person like myself, denouncing herbal remedies!

For me, paganism is a way of life and a beautiful religion, but you have to know when to balance what you believe with modern science for a healthy, happy life.   So, with that in mind, here is a list of over-the-counter commercial products that I've found helpful in clearing the common cold.

When I need to sleep through a cold, NyQuil knocks me out.  When I need to stop coughing for five seconds so I can work, DayQuil is a job saver.  I always keep these on hand.  I've never found another substitute - not a knock-off or another brand, and certainly nothing that claims to be the more "natural" version of it.  Simply nothing compares.

Chloraseptic Spray/Lozenges 
Where salt water and tea leave off, lozenges finishes the job.  I tend to stick with the lozenges because they have the wonderful added bonus of being a cough suppressant - something you don't think about until you cough with a sore throat and decide death sounds like a better option.  There's a spray too that works great for just the sore throat issue.

I had never tried these until this cold.  They are nothing short of amazing.  I didn't even stick to the regimen and it still shortened my cold significantly when compared to how long and severe my husband's was - and I have a weakened immune system!  A note though - when they say don't chew it, don't chew it.  They go from somewhat pleasant to nasty in a second the minute you bite through them.

Good, old fashioned cough drops
I can't go without these in a cold.  Nothing makes my cough go away faster.  On the bright side, I tend to use natural cough drops.  I just don't include it in natural remedies because I don't make them at home and have never had any success with homemade ones.

So there you have it.  In the end, I'm generally taking more over-the-counter stuff than I am mixing an herbal brew or steaming some essential oils.  Not for lack of trying, but some things simply don't beat modern medicine.

Also, I have a fondness for Progressive Chicken Gumbo.  Great stuff when you're sick.  Just saying.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, combine natural remedies with OTC medicines when I need it.

    Personally, excessive amounts of garlic and Vitamin C with lots of water usually fend off anything that might be trying to set in. If those don't work, I take a few doses of Oscillococcinum - that usually kicks the butt of whatever wants to make it's home in me.

    I do like Cold-eeze and Zycam for making the sickness shorter.

    Thanks for sharing with us at Pagan Blog Prompts!