Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
What are some natural treatments for colds?
A: A significant body of research suggests that the herb echinacea can significantly shorten colds and make them less severe. The herb andrographis and the nutritional supplements zinc and vitamin C also seem to help. In addition, there are two treatments that might help prevent colds as well: the herbs andrographis and ginseng.
Various herbs are said to work like ginseng and enhance immunity over the long term, including ashwagandha, astragalus, garlic, maitake, reishi, and suma. However, there is as yet no good evidence that they really work.
Several herbs, including ginger, kudzu, osha, and yarrow, are said to help avert colds when taken at the first sign of infection; but again, there is no scientific evidence that they are effective. Other herbs sometimes recommended to reduce cold symptoms include marshmallow, mullein, and peppermint.
You may also find these specially formulated Traditions of Tao products helpful for cold treatment: “Cold & Flu”, “Immunity”, “Perpetual Shield”, and “Chest Congestion”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.