Top 7 Natural Cold Remedies: Do They Work?

Top 7 Natural Cold Remedies

Bob Martin said he has not caught a cold in years, not because he finds echinacea and goldenseal. Over the last decade, a teacher of 60 years from Placitas, NM, has been taking herbal supplements in high doses three times daily at the first sign of a sniffle. Now he will only hurt if he was not dose themselves in time, he said.

"It's been many years since I've been cold," says Martin. "I took the herb, climbing under the covers, and I was fine the next day they nip. It was from the beginning."

Martin is not alone in his faith in herbal medicine, which is also required for toothache, earache, and other diseases. According to Nutrition Business Journal, Americans spend $ 1.5 billion for cold and flu supplements and other "immune booster" in 2007, and the market grew twice as the standard level, over-the-counter, cough-and-cold- drug market.

But are these alternative treatments really work?

Martin and many other consumer firmly replied, "yes," but experts say that, overall, there is little evidence-based scientific literature on the subject. In fact, makers of Airborne, everywhere "effervescent health formula," settle class action lawsuits to the tune of $ 23,300,000 in 2008. The charge? Science Centre for Public Interest, which helped litigation in accordance with, and the Federal Trade Commission, which filed a separate complaint against the producers, said the company made false claims and unreasonable when it says its product can fight germs or prevent the flu.

"Only a very, very small amounts of compounds having peer review," said Frank Esper, MD, member of the division of infectious diseases of children at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, in Cleveland. "What you see is anecdotal."

And people who have undergone peer review generally come back with mixed reviews.

Evidence is often not strong, and can be conflicting. "But there is some good evidence that some of these things can be effective," said David Leopold, MD, director of integrative medical education at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and member of the faculty with the Scripps Natural Supplement Conference, in La Jolla, California

Herbal remedies do not appear to prevent colds, but they can help curb the symptoms or shorten their duration, he said. "The things I talk about will reduce the duration at 24 or 36, a significant if you're out doing something," said Dr. Leopold. "They also seem to reduce the severity of symptomology."

Here is what is known about the efficacy of some of the most famous cold solution alternatives, in alphabetical order: View slideshow of natural remedies.

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