Zinc losanges have been shown to decrease the duration of cold symptoms when taken a few times a day starting with the onset of symptoms. Vitamin C is another natural way to boost the immune system. Echinacea is a popular herbal cold remedy but its usefulness has been thrown into question by some recent scientific studies.
Some home remedies that can help reduce symptoms but will not necessarily reduce the length of the cold: honey is a good way to soothe a sore throat and reduce symptoms of coughing — it works especially well combined with warm water and a little lemon juice. From personal experience, I find that sage tea is very soothing on a sore throat and good for suppressing coughs. Peppermint or thyme teas are good for clearing out a stuffed up or runny nose. Combining any of these with a little eucalyptus helps, too. Peppermint has the added benefit of disguising the taste of other herbs like sage that your kids might not like the taste of. Adding a little honey will only help make them more soothing.
Oh! One more thing: be sure not to give honey as a remedy to children under 12 months of age as it can carry botulism spores which are harmless in older children but can cause illness in infants.
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We’ve got three kids and a father that practices naturopathic medicine. When the kids have colds, we stimulate circulation by putting a cool damp towel on the belly. We also put a warm towel on the chest to help clear congestion in the bronchial tubes so the kids can process oxygen better. Also make sure the kids are getting lots of liquids (waters, teas, natural juices with citrus) to keep them hydrated so their immune system will function at the highest level possible. I haven’t tried this with children, but I’ve done it myself: when sick I squeeze a lemon into my armpits so that the vitamin C directly enters the lymph system. I realize it sounds weird but it alleviates aches and iss actually a very energizing treatment.
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