My Recent Cold Was Half as Long and Half as Severe — Thanks to Ginger Tea, Zinc, and Lots of Rest
Last winter, after my joint pain had begun to subside thanks to my anti-inflammatory diet, I caught my annual cold.
Then I did what I’d been doing for years: I got out the Vick’s NyQuil, Robitussin, Advil Cold and Sinus, and Hall’s cough drops—and started downing the stuff.
My goal was to stop my throat from hurting, stop coughing, stop my nose from running, and sleep. Mission accomplished! However, something else also happened. My joint pain returned.
I didn’t immediately blame it on the cold meds—after all, I took them annually and they worked. Right?
Shortly after that I had an appointment with Naae, my acupuncturist. I hobbled into her office.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I’m not sure. The only thing different since my last appointment is I caught a cold and took NyQuil and stuff. Could those medicines have made me sick?” I asked.
“Definitely. Who knows what’s in that stuff. They likely contain ingredients that triggered your inflammation.”
I decided to find out.
What is in NyQuil, Anyway? — I Found Some Scary Mysterious Stuff
I read the labels and did some research. But it wasn’t easy to get the facts—as they are likely closely guarded secrets. Then I found a Wired magazine article from 2007. I read this and did a bit more research. Here’s what I learned:
- Acetaminophen. Derived from coal tar, acetaminophen was used for nearly a century as a painkiller and fever reducer before anyone figured out how it worked. It’s now known that as the drug breaks down in the body, it turns into a cannabinoid. Here’s the short definition of cannabinoid: They are a class of diverse chemical compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors on cells that repress neurotransmitter release in the brain.
- Dextromethorphan HBr. A cough suppressant. In the body it becomes dextrorphan, a cough suppressant, and levorphanol, a painkiller five times as powerful as morphine. Like PCP and ketamine, DXM is also an NMDA receptor antagonist, so the National Institute on Drug Abuse lists it as a “dissociative” drug that at high doses can create psychedelic effects.
- Doxylamine succinate. An antihistamine with hypnotic effects.
- Citric acid . Possibly for the flavor.
- Alcohol . According to Procter & Gamble, alcohol’s purpose in NyQuil is to serve as a solvent, keeping the top three ingredients in solution. But also, it likely contributes to the “NyQuil high” many users report.
- Polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol . Chemical cousins used as thickeners. After all, drug marketers know many people prefer medicines in syrup form.
- Sodium citrate. In other contexts sodium citrate is an anticoagulant; most likely it is used here as a buffer to maintain the acid-base balance of all the other ingredients.
- Flavor . To make it easier to swallow.
- High fructose corn syrup . To turn it into a syrup. As most people know by now, HFCS is produced from genetically modified corn.
My New All-Natural Cold Protocol — It Works!
Lucky for me, in mid-November, I asked Naae what she recommended as a treatment the next time I caught a cold.
Then I caught one a week later.
I immediately began following her protocol—and didn’t at all miss the drug-like effects of over-the-counter meds.
I felt that tell-tale sign of a sore throat on a Tuesday night, just as I was getting ready to go see the play “Chicago” with a friend.
Naae had told me: “At the first sign of a cold or sore throat, begin taking Zinc and Vitamin C. And take them a couple of times a day. Be sure you’re taking your Vitamin D, too.”
I popped one of the high-quality zinc tablets I’d recently got from her.
I didn’t have time to make fresh ginger tea, so I made a cup of herb tea for the road. I sipped the tea on the way to the theater and it did make me feel better. Also, the heat of the tea felt like it was killing some of the bugs—and it likely was.
I didn’t bring cough drops with me, because they are now on my avoid list. But luckily I had some xylitol-sweetened gum. I also carried a small bottle of water with me. Whenever my throat started to get scratchy and a cough threatened to seize me during the play, I chewed the gum and drank a few sips of water. It worked.
Later I learned from Naae that I could also use Manuka honey. Just put a ½ teaspoon under the tongue and let it slowly dissolve.
That night I had more herbal tea, took another zinc tablet, and settle in for as much sleep as I could possibly get.
The next morning I woke up with a full on cold. So I made my ginger tea and got back in bed. I decided I was going to do the right thing and rest—rather than try to push through the cold and go to work.
For the next two days I stayed in bed, drank ginger tea and bone broth, read magazines, watched TV, and slept. One night I even slept 13 hours.
After that sleep marathon, on the third day I started to feel better. Overall my cold lasted half as long as normal and my symptoms were half as severe.
What’s more, no return of the dreaded joint pain! I felt so much better treating my cold naturally than dealing with the caustic mysterious medicines on a typical drugstore shelf.
Ditch the Meds — and Go Natural for Your Next Cold
Here’s an overview of the 10 best things you can do to treat your next cold the natural way:
- Take Zinc. Take 10 mg twice a day in a high-quality pill.
- Take Vitamin C. Take a minimum of 1000 mg a day. Instead of taking a pill, you can also eat citrus fruit, like an orange or grapefruit. “The C is more functionally available to the body in fruit than in a pill,” says Naae.
- Take Vitamin D. Make sure you’re taking 4000 IU a day.
- Drink Ginger Tea. Make some strong ginger tea using fresh ginger. Grate or slice a couple of inches of ginger root into a pot, add water, and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain the hot water into a cup and add a couple of teaspoons of honey. Drink it as hot as possible. You can re-boil the grated ginger a few times until it loses its flavor. (Note: I always keep fresh ginger in my refrigerator for cooking!)
- Stay Hydrated. If you get tired of ginger tea, drink herbal tea or room temperature water.
- Use Manuka Honey. Whenever you feel a cough coming on, put a ½ teaspoon of this medicinal honey under your tongue and slowly let it dissolve down your throat. Make sure it’s an authentic Manuka honey, which comes from New Zealand and Australia. Look for a version with an UMF Active rating of +8, +12, or +16 (the higher the number the better). This medicinal honey also coats the stomach to help with digestive issues. (Warning: It’s very expensive, so keep it around only for medicinal purposes. And make sure you are getting the real thing.)
- Stay Really Warm. “The bad bacteria will die when they are too warm, because it’s a hostile environment for them. So, stay as warm as you can,” instructed Naae. “You should aim to reach a point of just starting to sweat. You can literally sweat out the germs.”
- Take Hot Baths. They’ll warm you up, help your sinuses drain, and kill some more germy bacteria.
- Get Lots of Rest. Sleep is the best medicine for healing any ailment. Honor this reality. Give your body the rest it needs to heal and recover.
- Drink Bone Broth. The “grandma’s chicken soup” remedy for treating a cold really works. In my case, I ate my homemade organic bone broth. When I felt better, I added some rice to it. You can also make a traditional Asian rice porridge called congee with just rice, water, and salt to restore your energy.
To help prevent colds in the first place, take optimum care of your immune system with the right vitamins, healthy food, a low-stress life, and lots of great rest! For example, Vitamins C and D and zinc should always be part of your immune boosting protocol!
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