Published: 11/20/2015 - Updated: 08/09/2019
Author: Prof. Dr. Luis Ruiz-García
Colds are a common condition that can affect anyone at any stage of their life. Often times symptoms appear, like a sore throat or throat irritation, congestion, runny nose, and more.
Colds aren’t necessarily a disease, but rather a combination of symptoms that appear whenever a viral or bacterial infection affects the respiratory system. Often times this is referred to as a common cold. The infection generally disappears on its own as a response to our immune system, but generally you’ll want to get rid of the symptoms as they can be quite bothersome.
Causes of Colds
Cold symptoms appear because of the immune system. Anytime bacteria or a virus is present and develops in the respiratory system, the immune system produces white blood cells that are sent to fight the infection. This causes inflammation in the throat and nasal mucosa, as well as excessive fluids. Cold symptoms can also appear because of the following reasons:
- Changes in climate
- Common cold or other viral or bacterial infections
- Nasal polyps
- Air contamination
- Alcohol consumption
Natural remedies for fighting colds
Colds can go away within just a few days. Whenever your body has successfully fought and eradicated the cause, although the symptoms may be annoying. Simple home remedies can help you overcome these symptoms.
Try to hydrate yourself by drinking enough water, fruit and vegetable juices, as well as soups.
Avoid processed foods that are rich in sugar, white flour, and even dairy products, especially during the first few days of symptoms.
Include onion and garlic in your diet as these are natural decongestants.
You could also use salt water gargles, as these have antibacterial properties.
Phlegm and coughing
Phlegm is a mucous secretion from the respiratory system that is intended to protect the respiratory tract from harmful foreign agents, like bacteria, contaminated substances, or even dirt. Whenever the body produces too much of this secretion it can accumulate, creating a sense that the throat is obstructed. Often times this is eliminated by causing a coughing reflex.
Phlegm can appear along with colds or problems within the respiratory tract. Whenever phlegm is green or yellow, this indicates that most likely an infection is present.
How to cough up phlegm with natural remedies
Coughing expulses phlegm from the mouth, by using a push of air. Although excessive secretions could be a symptom of a cold, such as the common cold or mildly worrisome illnesses, you should see a doctor if your phlegm doesn’t disappear for a prolonged period of time. We recommend seeing the doctor because this could indicate a complication, or that the infection has progressed into pneumonia.
Eucalyptus vaporizers: Anytime you have phlegm, vaporizers could be useful. One of the most commonly used vaporizers includes eucalyptus, whereby a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, or eucalyptus leaves are inserted into a pot of boiling water. Remove the water from the heat, or turn the burner off. Cover your head with a towel and hang your head over the pot, breathing in the vapor for 5 minutes. The heat tends to loosen the phlegm, making it easier to cough up.
Garlic: Because of its expectorant properties, garlic can be used to stimulate the expulsion of phlegm. It can therefore help in fighting infection, as it is also antibacterial in nature. We recommend eating a crushed clove of garlic before breakfast.
Drink enough water: It is very important that you consume liquids while you’re under the weather. Proper hydration is necessary in order to eliminate phlegm. This helps keep the phlegm from being too thick, making it easier to expulse.
Basil: This plant is a natural expectorant and is commonly used to alleviate cough and phlegm. We recommend making a tea out of it with one or two basil leaves, in one cup of boiling water. Add a pinch of powdered ginger and drink daily in the morning. Or you could drink one tea in the morning and another at night until your symptoms have disappeared.
Ginger tea with lemon and honey: One remedy against congestion and inflammation includes consuming ginger root and honey tea daily. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice. The ginger root will alleviate cold symptoms like inflammation and nasal congestion. Drink two cups of tea a day, preferably warm.
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