What the Elders Knew about Treating Colds

Sometimes I hear younger people discounting some of the wisdom and knowledge that generations that had come before them had learned. I used to think my parents and especially my grandparents were old-fashioned and couldn’t possibly offer anything useful that my generation didn’t already know. My great grandmother, who had grown up in a remote area on a farm, learned to rely on a few home remedies that she no doubt had learned from her elders. One of these old remedies has been used for literally thousands of years and is now recognized as a potential treatment for the common cold. I hadn’t experienced any cold symptoms for almost two years until yesterday morning. At first, I couldn’t stop sneezing. Then I got that familiar tingling in my nose that suggested I was getting sick. By the time I got home from taking the dog for his morning walk, I knew I was coming down with a cold. Rather than resign myself to being sick, I started using an old remedy that my great-grandmother may have used. I started consuming cloves of crushed garlic.

Recent Studies Confirm What the Elders Knew

Recent studies have shown that fresh, crushed garlic could be beneficial for both reducing the risk of getting a cold and reducing the duration of a cold. One study involved 146 volunteers who took garlic supplements or a placebo for three months. Those who took the garlic supplements had a 63% lower risk of getting a cold than those who were given a placebo. Further, the duration of their colds was shorter. Fresh, crushed garlic releases a compound called allicin that can prove useful for treating both colds and some flu symptoms. If symptoms are just starting and I have no fever or other indication that suggests I need to see my doctor, I find garlic can often knock out symptoms before I get too sick. Today I am feeling much better. I did take one more dose of crushed garlic as a precaution. I chop three cloves of garlic, put them in a blender with a cup of tomato juice, and add a teaspoon of jalapeno jelly for an extra kick.

Maybe Not for Everyone

I don’t know if garlic works for everyone. I’ve encouraged my husband to try it, but he says it doesn’t help him at all. Different approaches may work for different people.  I know what works for me, and I’m sticking with it. I think I might even go for a jog this afternoon. I don’t want to let a common cold slow me down.    

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