How Does Menthol Work?
Many natural products for colds, coughing and the flu use menthol and similar natural substances as key ingredients. Menthol is derived from mint oils and gives off vapors while creating a cooling sensation. Often, menthol is added to cough drops along with other herbal ingredients to help lubricate the throat in order to relieve tickling and itching. This may help temporarily decrease the frequency and severity of dry coughing.
In addition to being used in cough drops, menthol is often added to salves, rubs and creams, which can be rubbed on the chest or nostrils to temporarily alleviate congestion and make it easier to breathe. Eucalyptus, mint oils and other natural ingredients with similar properties may also be used in topical products for colds, coughing and flu.
Does Saline Spray Help With Congestion?
Nasal congestion is one of the most common and unpleasant symptoms that accompany colds and the flu. By loosening congestion in the nasal passages, you can often get temporary relief and have an easier time breathing. One natural option for loosening congestion is using a saline nasal spray. Made from saltwater, these sprays help reduce the thickness of mucus, so that you can blow your nose and more freely breathe.
How Does a Neti Pot Work?
Neti pots can also be used to deal with nasal congestion. These small pots are similar in shape to teapots and are used to flush mucus out of the sinus passages.
Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies for Cold and Flu Season
Throughout history, healers and other natural practitioners have used plants to address cold and flu symptoms and ease coughing. You can now purchase supplement versions of many of the herbal formulas that have traditionally been used as folk remedies for various symptoms.
Homeopathic remedies are also available. These products contain very small quantities of natural substances that would produce symptoms similar to cold and flu symptoms if consumed in large quantities. Homeopaths believe that exposing the body to these substances helps the body fight off the viral infection or eases its symptoms. There is not enough evidence to know if any herbal or homeopathic remedy for colds and flu is effective. To avoid side effects and potential drug interactions, consult your doctor before using an herbal or homeopathic product.
Should I See a Doctor For the Flu?
In most cases, cold and flu symptoms can be managed at home and a trip to the doctor's office is not necessary; however, if your symptoms persist for more than 10 days, you run a high fever, you are pregnant or you have a medical condition or a compromised immune system, you should see a physician.
back to top »