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5 Ways to Minimize Cough and Cold

Don’t let a cough or cold ruin your day – try these five natural suggestions to minimize their effects.

If you are looking for effective, safe herbal treatments for coughs and congestion, I recommend the following natural treatments. All can be used safely by both adults and children:

1. Echinacea: The adult dose is one teaspoon of tincture in water four times a day or two capsules of freeze-dried extract four times a day. Give children half those amounts.  

2. Garlic: The best home remedy I have found for colds is to eat one or two cloves of raw garlic at the first onset of symptoms. You can chop the garlic fine, let sit for 10 minutes to “activate” and mix it with food, or cut a clove into chunks and swallow them whole like pills.  

3. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): The flowers and fruit of this shrub have a long history of use for treating colds and flu.  

4. Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra): This remedy from the inner bark of the red elm tree is available as lozenges, powder, capsules and extracts. Use the lozenges as needed for sore throats due to colds. 

5. Zinc: In moderate doses, this mineral can enhance immunity.

4 Reasons to Eat Garlic

A kitchen staple, garlic offers more than taste to your meals – it has health benefits as well. Find out what garlic can do for you, and why chopping it and letting it sit for 10 minutes before using it is a kitchen must.

Garlic is more than a culinary mainstay that can add flavor to meals; it is a natural, traditional medicine that has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Research indicates regular consumption of garlic may:

  1. Alter how cholesterol is metabolized in the body, making it less likely to oxidize.
  2. Lower blood pressure and decreasing clot formation, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.
  3. Combat respiratory infections such as common colds and sore throats.
  4. Reduce fungal or yeast infections.

Eating raw garlic (chopped or mashed) releases the herb's full potential. That’s because the active component, allicin, forms only on contact with air. I suggest chopping garlic and letting it sit for 10 minutes to get the full health-giving potential. Garlic loses its antibiotic properties when you cook or dry it, and commercial garlic capsules do not preserve the full activity of the fresh bulb.

You can make raw garlic more palatable by chopping it fine, mixing it with food and eating it with a meal, or cut a clove into chunks and swallow them whole like pills.

Try these appetizers featuring garlic:

Sprouted Garlic’s Surprising Benefits

Don’t trash garlic that has begun to sprout – new research suggests that it may have more health benefits than fresh garlic. We know that the antioxidant effects of garlic can influence health in many positive ways - it has been used traditionally to address high blood pressure, and can help protect against heart disease. It has also found some utility in treating earaches, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), chronic fatigue syndrome, and diabetes. Historically, it was prized for it usefulness in colds and flu to boost the immune system, and has even been used to treat skin infections. The discovery that sprouted garlic may have more antioxidant potential than fresh bulbs comes from researchers in Korea who noted that sprouted beans and grains often have increased antioxidant activity and wondered if the same is true of garlic. After controlling the ripening conditions, they reported that garlic sprouted for five days had more measurable antioxidant effects than younger fresher bulbs, and that the sprouted variety has different metabolites, suggesting that it also makes different substances than fresh garlic. In lab tests, the research team found that extracts from sprouted garlic protected cells in a lab dish from oxidative damage and suggested that sprouting “may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic.”

Joon-Sang Kim et al, “Garlic Sprouting Is Associated with Increased Antioxidant Activity and Concomitant Changes in the Metabolite Profile” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, DOI: 10.1021/jf500603v

Garlic – Spices in the Kitchen (Video)

Garlic offers a combination of flavonoids and sulfur molecules that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. These compounds also offer antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Nutritionally, garlic is an excellent source of manganese, and provides vitamin B6, vitamin C and selenium. Garlic can also help to improve the metabolism of iron.

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Garlic to Ward Off Lung Cancer

Garlic has immune-stimulating properties and is an effective antibiotic and antiviral agentRaw garlic has long been recognized as a powerful natural medicine. It has immune-stimulating properties and is an effective antibiotic and antiviral agent that can be used to help address many kinds of infections. It also contains compounds that appear to fight cancer, and helps lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The latest on garlic’s health benefits come from a Chinese study showing that eating garlic two or more times per week can cut the risk of lung cancer by 44 percent. Among smokers, garlic consumption reduced the risk by 30 percent. The researchers conducted in-person interviews with 1,424 lung cancer patients and 4,543 healthy people who had completed a standard questionnaire about their eating habits and health, and analyzed this data to reveal the apparent association between garlic and cancer. The compound believed principally responsible for garlic's disease-fighting ability (and pungent smell) is allicin, which is formed from an inactive precursor compound only after garlic is mashed or chopped and exposed to air for at least a few minutes. The Chinese study was published in the July 2013, issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

Jin-Yi Zhou et al, “Raw Garlic Consumption as a Protective Factor for Lung Cancer, a Population-Based Case–Control Study in a Chinese Population,” Cancer Prevention Research, July 2013