5 Cures for the Common Cold (Kind of)

The rhinovirus is a bothersome little virus that is especially excellent at mutation. Easily the most successful infection on Earth — with a global population exceeding one billion trillion — rhinovirus has evolved alongside humankind, likely causing illness long before we began walking on two feet. Unfortunately, despite its abundance, little is known about the rhinovirus; researchers don’t devote much effort to studying the 10-gened pest, and as a result, millions of Americans suffer infection every year. Yet, before you start to panic about such a rampant epidemic, you should know that rhinovirus goes by another name: the common cold.

Because rhinovirus has such a lengthy history with humankind, the human body is relatively good at fending it off. Further, it seems incredibly unlikely that medical researchers will ever produce a tried-and-true cure for rhinovirus because it is so quick to mutate. Instead, cold-sufferers must slog through their brief but bothersome illness attacking each individual symptom. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural home remedies to keep you safe and comfortable while rhinovirus does its thing.

For Your Incessant Cough

Your cough isn’t necessarily bad; it helps expel phlegm from the throat, which makes it easier for you to breathe and swallow. Still, an incessant cough can be annoying and painful. If you need to quell your cough, try the following solutions:

  • Pineapple. An enzyme called bromelain, found only in pineapple fruit, suppresses coughs, and loosens mucus — a two-for-one cure.
  • Thyme. The flavonoids in thyme relax the throat muscles, helping relieve inflammation and stop spasms that encourage coughing.
  • Honey. One study found that a spoonful of honey was as effective at quieting coughs as an over-the-counter cough suppressant.

For Your Sore Throat

Typically, you develop a sore throat during a cold because rhinovirus causes inflammation of the sensitive tissues in your throat. Because your lymph nodes are working overtime to fight off the infection, the tissues in your throat are extra swollen, so any amount of inflammation causes friction and pain.

There are dozens of sore throat home remedies, from the simplest — salt and warm water — to the incredibly complex — a homemade spray of echinacea and sage administered in moonlight after a special chant. Usually, the simpler the cure, the more effective it is. If gargling with salt water doesn’t help, you should try a cool mug of turmeric tea, and avoid hot or acidic foods until you start to feel better.

For Your Stuffed Nose

Contrary to what you might believe, your nose isn’t stuffed up because it is filled with excess mucus. Rather, just as your throat is inflamed, the delicate tissues of your sinuses are also puffy. Unfortunately, all the blowing you are doing is only making your stuffed nose worse. Therefore, you can set aside the tissues for a while and mix up this natural decongestant, instead:

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon

Simmer all the ingredient on low for five to 10 minutes, strain out any chunks, and chill. The spicy elements in this drink — the ginger, cayenne, and cinnamon — will get your nose running, while the honey will keep the mucus from building back up.

For Your Itchy Eyes

Often, itchy eyes are a symptom of allergies rather than the common cold. Still, you could be suffering both at once, so here are a few solutions to your eye irritation:

  • Cold compress. That bag of frozen peas you use to ice bruises can also relieve itchiness, redness, and other acute eye issues.
  • Eye wash. Pollen, dust, and other irritants can get stuck in the eye and cause damage. You can rinse the junk out of your eye with chamomile tea.
  • Coverings. There’s a reason spas place cucumbers over your eyes — and it’s not to give you a mid-treatment snack. You can use black tea bags or chilled spoons to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles around your eyes.

For Your Pounding Head

All the mucus and inflammation in your sinuses puts undue pressure on your head. During a cold, that pressure can easily transform into intense pain, especially around your eyes, on your forehead, and over your teeth.

Typically, removing the pressure will alleviate the headache. Thus, any remedies above that cause decongestion will likely help your head feel better. You can also try a humidifier or sinus irrigation to relieve some sinus pressure.

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