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January 18, 2005

Home made cold remedies don't make sense, and don't work

Summary:

  • With over 200 known cold viruses it doesn't make any sense that garlic or any other single compound would be effective against so many different viral manifestations.
  • Some colds last two days, some last seven to ten. Taking a home cold remedy when you have a cold of short duration and you may be inclined to believe the remedy worked, not realizing it was simply a week virus.
  • By the time you experience the first symptoms, you’re already 20 to 40 % of your way through the cold so you could do nothing at all and your symptoms would begin to improve within a couple days.
  • Home remedy compounds can’t be standardized because of natural variability between ingredients and therefore dosage.
  • I say use your brain cells and learn what a cold virus is and what it does. The bodies immune system will handle the cold, your knowledge will immunize you from believing bogus remedies for the common cold.
  • Prevention best medicine: Reducing stress and washing hands often are the best ways to reduce the number of colds a person has, but many people will have one to three colds per year.

Details and web links:

There are over 200 known cold viruses. The most common colds are a “Rhinovirus” which infects the nasal passages. Medical treatments for colds don’t attack the virus, they reduce the symptoms such as coughing and sneezing.

Home remedy concoctions could not possibly work for all colds for the simple reason that it is highly unlikely that one or two compounds could be effective against over 200 different viral manifestations. Additionally, home remedy compounds can’t be standardized because of variability between ingredients and therefore dosage. There is some interest in chicken soup as a possible treatment for cold symptoms, but as of yet there is no definitive results from studying the effect of treating colds with chicken soup.

The fact is most cold viruses run their course in 7 days, some a little less, some a little more. By the time you experience the first symptoms, you’re already 20 to 40 % of your way through the cold so you could do nothing at all and your symptoms would begin to improve within a couple days.

When people take their goofy home remedies and feel their symptoms clear within a few days, they credit the home remedy and are totally oblivious to the fact that the cold just ran its course naturally.

With the natural variability of the length of colds, when people catch a bug that the body eradicates a little faster than other colds, people taking home remedies under these conditions become even more convinced that their elixir worked but are again oblivious to the fact that this cold was shorter due to natural factors and had nothing to do with the magic cold potion.

The main variables that effect the length of a cold are the cold virus its self and stress. If you are sleep deprived, fatigued, and under stress at the same time you get a tough virus, it may take longer than usual to beat the cold.

Many humans actually “catch” more colds that we even know about. Some cold viruses are defeated by our immune systems without any noticeable symptoms presenting.

The high degree of variability in how long colds last and what symptoms may arise makes it very challenging to study cold remedies, and further provides plenty of opportunity for people believe in and promote hokus- pokus.

The real cure for the common cold is the bodies immune system and it does its job quite well. If we use our brains a little we can understand colds better and realize that for now, there is no cure for the common cold, despite what the witch doctors say.

Prevention is the best medicine. Reducing stress and washing your hands often seem to be the most effective ways of preventing the number of colds you get, but there is no foolproof prevention or cure for the common cold.

Web links:

http://www.commoncold.org/ (Includes common cold myths)

http://www.lung.ca/diseases/common_cold.html The Lung Association

Go here for a Rhino Fitness article on bogus claims regarding chamomile tea as a cold remedy

- Cris LaBossiere

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2004- 2005 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca

 

 

 
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