Which natural cold and flu remedies work best?
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful immune-boosting nutrients around. It has antiviral actions that mean cold and flu symptoms are less likely to develop. Vitamin C supplements have been shown to halve this risk when given in doses of 600mg-1g per day.
Garlic is also good as it contains a number of antiviral and anti-infective substances that help fight viruses and bacteria, as well as boosting the activity of immune cells. Black garlic is especially beneficial as it contains higher levels of antioxidants and produces less odour than the white variety. As a supplement, try Healthspan Black Garlic (£12.95, healthspan.co.uk).
Echinacea is another popular remedy – data has shown that taking the herb decreases the odds of developing a cold by 58 per cent and shortens the duration of one by almost a day and a half. Try A.Vogel’s Echinaforce (£9.75, avogel.co.uk).
My go-to treatment though for colds, bronchitis, sore throats or sinusitis symptoms is pelargonium. It’s more effective than anything I can prescribe as a doctor and I wouldn’t be without it in my first aid cabinet. Extracts from the root of the plant have antiviral and antibacterial properties and help clear infected mucus. If taken as early as possible during a cold, symptoms usually resolve within 24 hours. Keep taking it for three days, however, or the infection will return. Try Healthspan Pelargonium (£14.45).
Dr Sarah Brewer is a GP, nutritionist and author of more 50 books (drsarahbrewer.com).