The common cold, also known as "acute coryza," is an inflammation of the upper respiratory
tract and is caused by infection
. It occurs more often than all other diseases. A person
suffers from this disease three times in a year on an average. A cold usually lasts from three to
ten days. The patient feels miserable for the first three days or so.
The first signs of a cold are a feeling of soreness of the throat and congestion of the nasal
passage. Although the disease normally begins in the nose and throat, it affects all parts of the
body. Its usual symptoms
are a running nose, sneezing, a rise in temperature, headache, sore
throat, chill, aches and pains in the body and loss of appetite. The skin around the nostrils may
The common cold results from exposure to a virus
. Its inten- sity however, depends upon the
state of health of the person and by environmental factors. Lowered vitality, allergic disorders of
the nose and throat, chilling of the body, lack of sleep, depression
and factors such as
sudden changes in temperature, dust and other irritating inhalations are important contributory
causes for the development of a cold.
The real cause of a cold, however, is the toxic condition of the body brought about by wrong
feeding habits such as an excessive intake of starch, carbohydrates, proteins
acid-forming foods. A cold is, therefore, nature's simplest way of expelling toxic waste from the
human system. The duration of the cold will depend on the amount of poisons accumulated in
the body and the rapidity with which they are expelled.
To treat a cold by means of customary suppressive drugs like aspirin and codeline only paves
the way for future trouble of a more serious nature. For such a treatment puts a sudden stop to
the eliminative process then taking place and forces the toxic matter back into the tissues again.
Moreover, drugs have no effect on the duration of the cold. It has been aptly said that a cold can
be cured in a week by taking medicines,otherwise it will subside in seven days.
The only real treatment for colds is a proper diet. The best way to begin the treatment is to put
the patient on a fast for two days. Nothing should be taken during this period except warm water
mixed with lemon juice and honey or fruit juice and hot water. A liquid diet of fruit juice inlarge
amounts is necessary to neutralise the acid condition of the blood and hot drinks are needed to
help clear the kidneys. Pineapple juice in particular is highly beneficial. A warm water enema
should be used daily to cleanse the bowels during this period.
The short juice fast may be followed by an exclusive fresh fruit diet for three days. IN this
regimen, the patient should have three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as apples,pears,
grapes, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, peaches, melon or any other juicy fruit in season.
Bananas, dried or stewed or tinned fruits, should not be taken. No other foodstuff should be
added to the diet as otherwise the whole value of the treatment is lost.
After the exclusive fruit diet, the patient should gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet of
three basic food groups, namely (i) seeds, nuts and grains (ii) vegetables and (iii) fruits. It is
advisable to avoid meat, fish, eggs, cheese and starchy foods for a few days.
The patient should strengthen the system as a whole by taking a diet which supplies all the
vitamins and minerals the body needs. Vitamin C, however, heads the list of these nutrients. It
protects one against infection
and acts as a harmless antibiotics. It is found in citrus fruits,green
leafy vegetables, sprouted Bengal and green grams.
According to Dr. Linus Pauling, a noble prize-winning scientist, the regular use of this vitamin in
the optimum daily amount will prevent the common cold
and if a cold has already appeared,
large doses of this vitamin will relieve the symptoms
and shorten its duration. He estimates that
one to two grams or 100 mg. to 200 mg. per day is approximately the optimum amount of this
vitamin. His advice is to swallow one or two 500 mg. tablets of vitamin C at the appearance of
first sign of the cold and continue the treatment by taking an additional tablet every hour.
Lime is the most important among the many home remedies for common cold. It is highly
beneficial in all types of cold and fevers. It should be taken well diluted. Vitamin C-rich lime juice
increases resistance, decreases toxicity
and reduces the duration of the illness. Lime juice
should be diluted in a glass of warm water, and a teaspoonful of honey should be added to it. It
forms an ideal remedy for a cold and dry cough.
Garlic soup is an ancient remedy to reduce the severity of cold. Garlic contains antiseptic and
antispasmodic properties besides several other medicinal virtues. The volatile oil in garlic flushes
out the system of all toxins and thus helps bring down fever. Garlic oil combined with onion juice,
diluted with water and drunk several times a day, has also been found in several studies to be
extremely effective in the treatment of the common cold
Ginger is also an excellent food remedy for colds and coughs. Ginger should be cut into small
pieces and boiled in a cup of water ; it should then be strained and half a teaspoon of sugar
added to it. It should be drunk while it is still hot, in case of colds. Ginger tea, prepared by adding
a few pieces of ginger into boiled water before adding tea leaves, is also an effective remedy for
colds and for fevers resulting from cold.
Turmeric, with its antiseptic properties, is an effective remedy for cold and throat irritations. Half
a teaspoonful of fresh turmeric powder mixed in 30 grams of warm milk is a useful prescription
for these conditions. Turmeric powder should be put into a hot ladle. Milk should then be poured
in it and boiled over a slow fire. In case of a running cold, smoke from the burning turmeric
should be inhaled. It will increase the discharge from the nose and will bring quicker relief.
A hot water bath, if it can be taken without undue exposure, is recommended as it helps relieve
much of the congestion in the chest and nasal membranes. Hot packs or fomentations are
excellent for treating chest and head colds. Steam bath, hot foot bath and hot hip bath are also
beneficial as they stimulate perspiration. Steam inhalation will help relieve the congestion of the
nasal tissues. Gargling with hot water mixed with salt is beneficial for a sore throat
. Cold chest
packs should be applied two or three times a day as they will relieve congestion of lungs and
help in eliminating the accumulated mucus.
Other useful measures in the treatment of common cold are mild sunbath, fresh air and deep
breathing, brisk walks, sound sleep, adjustment of one's clothes and habits to the requirements
of the season, so as to nullify the effect of weather fluctuations.
Yogasanas like bhujangasana, shalabhasana, dhanurasana, and yogamudra in vajrasana, yogic
kriyas such as jalneti and vamandhouti and pranayamas such as kapalbhati, anuloma- viloma
and suryabhedana are beneficial in the treatment of the common cold