Cure For the Common Cold?

From Health Store News

Is there a cure for the common cold? "Of course there is," says herbalist Bob Bruscia. "It's called the immune system. And when functioning properly, it zaps most colds quite quickly."

Most natural approaches to cold relief rely on boosting immune response. "Zinc, Echinacea and Vitamin C are the leading non-drug remedies for colds, and provide significant relief for most people," says natural products manufacturer David Shaw of Quantum Health.

Do these natural remedies really work? According to more and more experts, the answer is, "Yes."

ZINC: CAN IT CUT YOUR COLD TIME IN HALF?

One of the most exciting natural cold remedies, zinc lozenges, can reduce the average duration of cold symptoms in half, according to several important studies.

In one randomized, double-blind study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (7/00) and conducted at the Detroit Medical Center in Michigan, cold duration was effectively cut from 8.1 to 4.5 days. The duration of coughs was reduced from 6.3 days for the placebo group to 3.1 days for those using zinc lozenges.

In a 1996 study at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, zinc lozenges reduced the average duration of cold symptoms from 7 days to only 4. The study participants were employees of the Clinic. They started using zinc lozenges or dummy placebo lozenges within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms.

The results: the median time for all symptoms to disappear was 7.6 days for the placebo group; the zinc group recovered in 4.4 days.

This study confirms results of several prior tests. In a 1983 study at the University of Texas, zinc lozenges reduced the average duration of cold symptoms from nine days to only three. A 1992 study at Dartmouth College, supported the efficacy of 23 mg. zinc lozenges.

How does zinc work? Zinc ions may interfere with the replication of cold viruses in the throat, according to George Eby, who conducted the initial study on zinc. But more recent research suggests that zinc may owe its cold-fighting properties to its effect on our immune system, rather than directly on the virus. In either case, many experts now recommend sucking on a 23 mg. zinc lozenge every two hours at the first sign of a cold.

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