If you’re battling a sniffling, sneezing cold, you want to recover as fast as possible so you can get back to enjoying holiday fun. And you can! These home remedies fire up your body’s natural defenses faster and more effectively than drugstore medications can, cutting recovery time from bad colds and even the flu by 75 percent or more. Just…
Take your best shot.
Taking sweet-tasting elderberry extract (1 Tbs. four times daily) at the first sign of sickness lessens symptoms by up to 58 percent and helps you recover up to 75 percent faster, suggests new research in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Credit elderberry’s anthocyanins — compounds that stop viruses from building the proteins they need to infect cells. Try: Fat Stone Farm Elderberry Apple Shots ($22, Fat-Stone-Farm.com).
Cozy up by a window.
When you feel ugh, stretch out next to a sunny window and relax. Getting 30 minutes of light exposure daily reduces symptom severity by 50 percent, plus trims four days off of your recovery time, per research in Scientific Reports. Study co-author Sarah Felton says the sun’s UVA rays pass through glass and prompt your skin to release nitric oxide, a compound that reduces inflammation and boosts healing blood flow to the lungs.
Supplement with zinc.
Taking 50 mg. of immunity-boosting zinc daily ($8.76, iHerb) for one week (starting at the first hint you’re getting sick) could ease symptoms by up to 60 percent and help you bounce back in half the time, Cleveland Clinic scientists say. The antiviral mineral destroys germs at their most common point of entry (the tissues lining the nose and throat) and stops viruses already in the lungs from replicating.
Enjoy scented soaks.
Daily baths are a wonderful way to pamper yourself when you’re under the weather. And if you add 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil ($4.34, iHerb), you’ll cut your recovery time in half, suggests research in the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology. Steamy soaks drain sinuses and reduce airway inflammation, says study co-author Bill White, Ph.D., while the oil’s aromatic compounds stimulate the immune system to produce virus-killing cells.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.