Curing the common cold would be a miracle, but for now, we would all settle for preventing and getting rid of the symptoms it’s associated with. For many people, pumping our bodies with over-the-counter drugs isn’t an ideal option. Finding natural remedies to alleviating symptoms and using a holistic approach may be for you.

Natural medicines have been used as a powerful healing tool for thousands of years. This natural method uses a holistic approach that embraces the body as an interconnected network of symptoms rather than focusing on specific medical issue to be addressed.

The Textbook of Natural Medicine, written by Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., one of the world’s leading authorities on science-based natural/integrative medicine, discusses five doctrines that help patients from a holistic standpoint: Do no harm, find the cause, doctors as teachers, treating the whole person, and preventative medicine.

Pizzorno suggestions that doctors recognize the cause of illnesses and that they can be linked to individual choices or lifestyles, such as nutrition and mental health. Treating the whole person rather than simply stifling symptoms is vital to a holistic approach. This includes the physical aspect of the body, as well as the diet, genetic factors, the environment, and other causes. Natural medicines can tackle various areas of the body at once and can help prevent illness.

Read below for suggestions on combatting the common cold using natural medicines:



Peppermint is a combination of spearmint and water mint that creates a hybrid plant with medicinal properties. It can help treat the common cold, indigestion, fever, and headaches. The essential oils from the peppermint can relieve respiratory issues and make it easier to breath. A good option is to inhale the vapours to directly access the breathing pathways.

Peppermint tea also acts as an antiviral medicine and helps to fight immune infection while soothing the throat. The tea contains high levels of polyphenols, which are micronutrients that help to strengthen the system and fight infection.



Echinacea is a popular herb for the common cold and grows throughout North America. According to the Textbook of Natural Medicines, the herb is a useful immune system booster because it increase the ability of macrophages to destroy diseased cells. Macrophages are a particular type of white blood cell that destroys bacteria that infects the immune system. Echinacea helps macrophages recognize the foreign bodies in the blood and alerts other parts of the network within the immune system to destroy unwanted bacterial matter. It is also a safe product for children.



Garlic’s properties include antibacterial components that can help alleviate certain cold symptoms. Garlic is shown to fight against the toughest type of bacteria — Gram-Negative. Gram-Negative bacteria has an outer membrane that makes them more stubborn than their counterpart, Gram-Positive. Luckily, Garlic attacks both equally.


Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is actually a tropical fruit that can grow up to three feet high. It is produced in South America and helps with sore throats and sinus congestion. Cayenne Pepper is a powerful medicinal that can also be used as an aid for mouth and throat soreness during chemotherapy.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important medicine in the onset of a cold, but it has a limited role to stop a cold that has already engulfed the immune system. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics says that vitamin C can lower the change of a cold by eight per cent in adults and 13 per cent in children, which makes it a great preventative vitamin for children who are constantly around illness during the winter months at a daycare or school.

Taking the time to understand how and why natural products and medicines can help prevent illness can lead to a stronger connection and understanding of the human body. The added plus of the holistic method is a healthy and wholesome life without over-the-counter medications. Here’s hoping your January is free of the common cold!



Kaeleigh Phillips is Women's Post sustainability coordinator. She specializes in writing about issues relating to the environment, including renewable energy, cycling, and vegan recipes!

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