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A Cold is an acute, benign, contagious, commonplace, self-limiting and usually afebrile viral infection which causes inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, especially the throat, nose, and sinuses.

Colds are the most common of infectious diseases among people of any age, more common among children than others, in boys than girls among adolescents, and in women than men among adults. Colds account for more days lost from school or work than any other cause. Some adults are affected two to four times a year, some children, six to eight times a year. Children are particularly susceptible since they have not yet built up an immunity or resistance to colds.

Three common misconceptions are worth mentioning. The first is the belief the common cold can be easily cured, a belief which stems from impression there is a single cause. In actuality, over 100 different viruses are known to cause colds, and there may be other causes. Research using interferon is promising, but many technical reasons prevent it from being available in the near future.

A second misconception concerns vitamin C. In the vast majority of scientific studies, vitamin C therapy in the treatment of colds shows no significant results. In those extremely few individuals who did receive some benefit, vitamin C was usually taken before the onset of the cold; colds were never cured by vitamin C. Any effects which may have been received are believed due to the mild antihistamine actions of this vitamin.

Finally, colds are seasonal; whether this has anything to do with the weather is controversial. Since colds are contagious, increased contact with infected individuals as occurs in group events (i.e., when children return to school) increases the likelihood of catching a cold. Although colds usually last one week, they are normally contagious for only the first 72 hours after onset. It is especially during this time the infected individual should attempt to remain isolated.

The common cold has no cure. Treatment is directed towards the specific symptoms. Symptoms which do not appear should not be treated as complications can arise. Aspirin, increased fluid consumption, nose drops, warm baths or showers (these will reduce the aches but will not hasten the recovery), decongestants, throat lozenges and rest are often prescribed.


Primary Factors
The primary factor of colds is viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. These viruses include:

Rhinovirus (most common)
Coronavirus (second most common)

Predisposing Factors
Contact with an infected individual
Contact with aerosols containing infectious viruses

Note: Fatigue or exposure to drafts has not been shown to increase susceptibility.

Signs & Symptoms

Nasal congestionMalaise
PharyngitisHacking cough
SneezingNonproductive cough
HeadacheNocturnal cough
Burning, watery eyesLoss of taste or smell
FeverSore throat
ChillsIrritated throat
MyalgiaPressure in ears or sinuses
Constant mucous membrane inflammationNasal voice

Smokers and persons with respiratory disorders have more severe symptoms.

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function: Immune System Support

General Supplements

Bee propolis*
Beta carotene 200,000 iu
Bioflavonoids 200 - 500 mg 50 - 300 mg
Vitamin C1,000 - 3,000 mg 500 - 2,000 mg
Zinc 20 - 100 mg 10 - 50 mg

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.


Regaining popularity with increasing availability - and perhaps the oldest processed nutrient on Earth - is bee propolis (46 million years).


Hemila, H: Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold? A review of current evidence, Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Disease, 1994, 26(1): 1-6.

Mossad, SB et al., Zinc gluconate lozenges for treating the common cold. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Annals of Internal Medicine, 1996, 125(2):81-88.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

No diet is specifically prescribed for colds by the American Dietetics Association.

Barring any underlying health condition, a Dietary Goals Diet should be followed to provide all the nutrients necessary for building a sound and disease-resistant body. Throat lozenges and cough drops can be taken for relief of sore throat irritation caused by colds.

The individual should be encouraged to drink fluids, such as tea (black), cola drinks, or juices, especially those containing vitamin C. Meals should be light and easily digestible, incorporating such foods as gelatin, toast, crackers, and cooked cereals.

Homeopathic Remedy

Cold , Common (coryza)

Natrum Muriaticum30C
Euphorbium officinarum0C
Euphrasia officinalis 15C


1. Calcarea iodata3X to 30C

Advanced Listing by Symptom :

1. First stage, after exposure to cold, dry weather - Aconitum Napellus tinct. .

2. Early stage, dry, itchy throat - Wyethia Helenoides. Also, Ferrum phosphoricum

3. Streaming cold, sore nose - Allium Cepa.

4. Streaming cold, sore eyes - Euphrasia officinalis.

5. Streaming cold, both eyes and nose are sore - Arsenicum Album.

6. Streaming cold, hot nose, violent sneezing - Kali iodatum .

7. Streaming cold, after wet weather - Dulcamara.

8. Sneezing, runny nose, cold sores - Natrum Muriaticum.

8. Blocked, runny nose, feel chilly - Nux vomica.

9. Yellow-green catarrh (with sinusitis):        
        Calcarea sulphurica tinct. ;
        Hepar sulphuris calcareum ;
        Kali bichromicum ;
        Pulsatilla nigricans ;

10. Sinusitis, pain starts at the back of the head and settles over the eyes -
Silicea tinct..

11. Excessive saliva, raw nose, sweating - Mercurius Vivus .

12. 'Flu-like symptoms (heaviness, shivering) - Gelsemium sempervirens.

13. Unbearably itchy nose (hayfever?) - Arum triphyllum.

14. Violent sneezing (sensitive to flowers /hayfever?) - Sabadilla tinct..

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Tissue Salts

Calc. Sulf.preliminary, sore throat stage;
Ferr. Phos.early stage, headache, fever;
Kali Murthick, white secretions, white coated tongue;
Kali Sulf.dry skin, greenish-yellow mucus;
Nat. Mur.full symptoms: watery discharge, sneezing, irritation, cold blisters, loss of smell;

Herbal Approaches


Ginger plant
Lemongrass root
Licorice root
Slippery elm bark

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.



Echinacea boosts the immune system, like interferon, the following regimen has been suggested by Dr. Grabowski:

1 tsp every hour for the first day.
1 tsp every 3 hours thereafter until the condition has been resolved.

Echinacea is viewed very specifically by the German Commission E, presently, although the approval is expected to become broader as the evidence accumulates. Only Echinacea Pallida root and Echinacea Purpurea herb are approved.


Garlic has been shown to have anti-viral properties. (2 tablets every 3 waking hours).


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Grabowski, RJ: Current Nutritional Therapy: a clinical reference. Image Press, TX. 1995.

Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.

D. Melchart et al., Results of five randomized studies on the immunomodulatory activity of preparations of echinacea. J of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 1995, 1(2):145-160.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Angelica EssenceAniseed Essence
Basil Essence,Cajeput Essence,
Cassia Essence,Cinnamon Essence,
Clove Essence,Eucalyptus Essence,
Geranium Essence,Ginger Essence,
Hyssop Essence,Lavender Essence,
Lemon Essence,Niaouli Essence,
Onion Essence,Pepper Essence,
Pine Essence,Rosewood Essence,
Spearmint Essence,Tea Tree Essence,
Thyme Essence.

Related Health Conditions

Sore throat



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Anonymous: Zinc lozenges reduce the duration of common cold symptoms. Nutr Rev, 1997 Mar, 55:3, 82-5.

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Wyngaarden, J.B. & L.H. Smith. 1985. Cecil's Textbook of Medicine. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 2341 pp.