Eluding the Common Cold

For a week now I’ve been living in a house with someone who has a cold and I haven’t caught it yet. I’m grateful that I have a few herbal cures in my remedy bag that seem to be keeping the bugs at bay.

Even fairly square types are starting to admit that antibiotics are inappropriate medicine for cold and flu. Antibiotics don’t kill viruses.

Lots of people know about Airborne. It’s an effervescent tablet dissolved in water to make a sweet, fizzy, citrus flavored drink “invented by a teacher who was sick of catching colds at school.” It’s been easier to find in big chain stores like Trader Joe’s than it is in health food stores. You take it at the first sign of a cold, or before you go somewhere dicey, like the passenger compartment of an airplane.

I have three other cold prevention remedies on hand: Oscillococcinum (a homeopathic flu remedy), Gan Mao Ling (a Chinese herbal combo pill), and NatureWorks Flu & Cold Times (a boozy herb and homeopathic tincture). With all of these, it’s about timing—the first tickle of a sore throat, or runny nose, or sneeze. Right then. Pow!

In the rare instance that a bug gets past this first defense, I go into fasting mode: Nothing but raw and cooked fruits and non-starchy vegetables, broth, herbal tea and water until the virus goes away. For me, this is a short cut.

I also take very hot baths because viruses die by the millions if your body temperature goes up even one degree above normal (and vice-versa: they multiply if you get chilled.) That’s why your body gets a fever when you have a viral infection-it’s trying to fight back! After the hot bath, I get into bed, and rest/sweat well-covered, to continue the heat attack. A great excuse to get into a good novel or movie!