We look at the evidence behind 5 widely used home remedies.
If you’re dealing with a cold,you might hope that a home remedy will help you feel better.We spoke to experts and examined the research to find out which are worth trying.
Spoon Up Chicken Soup?
Evidence suggests that the soup might ease your discomfort.The best-known research,from Benraska pulmonologist Stephen Rennard,M.D., found that chicken-vegetables soup inhibited the movement of white blood cells that trigger cold symptoms such as a stuffy nose.
TRY IT? Yes. “When your mucuous membranes are inflamed your nose can get crusty and dry,” says infectious disease expert William Schaffner, M.D., professor of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine,Soup helps loosen mucus so that you can expel it.
Sip a Hot Drink?
When the University of Cardiff’s Common Cold Centre in Wales gave 30 cold sufferers drinks that were either hot or tepid,those who sipped hot beverages reported more relief from runny nose,caughing,chills,and sneezing.Those results were probably due to a placebo effect.study outhors say,but hot drinks do appear to have benefits for sore throots.”The taste promotes salivation and secretions that lubricate and soothe the throot.”says center director Ronald Eccles,Ph.D.,D.Sc.”Any hot,tasty drink,soup,or hot meal is likely to be effective.”
TRY IT? Sure.”With a little honey,hot tea can be praticularly soothing to a sore throot,” says Marvin M.Lipman,M.D., Consumer Reports” chief medical adviser.
Have Honey For a Cough?
A 2014 review by the Cochrane Collaboration looked at three studies that compared honey with one or more the following: the over-the-counter cough drugs dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine,no treatment and placebo,and it might be slightly better than diphenhydramine at reducing cough frequency and severity.
TRY IT? Maybe,Coughing helps clear excess mucus,so you don’t want to stop it completely,and the reviewed studies involved only children.But if you’re considering using OTC cough meds,note that the Cochrane Collaboration found little evidence that such drugs were effective,and the American Academy of Pediatrics says they don’t work for young children and could pose a risk.
Use a Nasal Rinse?
in 2015 Cochrane researchers looked at five studies on the value of cleaning nasal passages with salt water.Just one found that doing so eased nasal secretion and sfuffiness.
TRY IT? It might have some value,says Orly Avitzur,M.D., Consumer Reports” Medical director,noting that the sensation can be strange. “I wam people it’s like that feeling you get walking into a big wave” she says.”But you get used to it.” And steer clear of OTC products labeled “hypertonic”,certain studies have found that these more concentrated solutions can irritate nasal passages.And if you use a neti pot,use distilled or sterile water and clean it between uses.
Pop a Supplement?
Many supplement,including echinacea,ginseng,vitamin C,and zinc,have been touted for cold prevention and relief.Research results on their value have been mixed.
TRY IT? No.Supplements one not thoroughly regulated by the FDA,and as a result,researchers can’t draw firm conclusions from data.Some might interact with other medications.Avoid zinc-based nasal sprays.The Food and Drug Administration says they might permanently destroy your sense of smell.