I am asked at least once a day about how to prevent colds, or what you can take once you feel one coming on to prevent it from becoming a full-fledged cold, leaving you feeling miserable and down for the count for a while. I don’t believe that most of the over-the-counter (OTC) remedies work for cold prevention, and my avid readers know that by now, but there is some research to support the use of ginger to prevent colds, and even help to kick the symptoms you already have!
How does Ginger help?
There are few studies that have specifically looked at ginger and exactly how it works, or really IF it even works at all. But it has been used for hundreds of years as a staple in Eastern medicine as a treatment for colds, the flu, and any other virus, and it still continues to be because it really works. In 2002, there was a small study done in a smaller international journal, that found ginger to have antiviral properties. They were doing their study to specifically look at its use in respiratory tract infections, viral in nature, but many respiratory infections originally start as “head colds” so most likely the antiviral properties work on those viruses as well. By effectively attacking the viruses and preventing them from causing a further infection, it stops your cold in its tracks, and prevents the infection from spreading or getting worse.
How do I use it?
Usually when you get a cold, your nose, throat, and mouth are all infected by the virus, which is why you get the symptoms you do: sore throat, stuffy nose, and sometimes cough. So, there are some ways to use the ginger to make sure that you are hitting your “target” areas for its antiviral effects:
– Make ginger tea: Take two tablespoons of fresh ginger (roughly an inch off of the root), peel it and squish it, place it in the bottom of a coffee/tea mug, then pour boiling hot water over it. Even better for you? Add some honey to sweeten it, and it also helps with its antibacterial properties! It is suggested that you can drink this 2 to 3 times a day while your symptoms last.
– A ginger steam: You can chop fresh ginger and put it in a bowl of boiling hot water, put your head over the steam, with a towel over your head, and inhale the steam. You can do this twice a day. Your nose will run like crazy, but it will help to kick that cold!
– Eat it: You can eat ginger in candy form and various eastern meals also include ginger. It is good to eat to stave off a cold or viral infection!
I drink ginger tea frequently and love it, but I know it isn’t for everyone. There is no right or wrong amount to eat, but truly everything in moderation, and if you greatly dislike ginger or are allergic, do not eat it! There are ginger supplements that you can try, and if you truly have an aversion to ginger, maybe you just don’t need it. And, as always, if you have any other medical conditions and take other medications, talk to your HCP before starting a new regimen. Give it a try and let me know what you think. AND don’t forget to drink lots of fluid and rest, as you would any time you are ill. Plus, if your symptoms do not go away, or get worse, definitely consult your HCP for further treatment.
Yours in Good Health