San Diego Chiropractic & Healing Center

General Recommendations for Treating the Common Cold

Most "cold" symptoms are caused by viruses, and are thus not able to be treated with typical antibiotics.  Often the best form of care for colds is rest, plenty of fluids, and the use of natural methods for boosting the efficiency of your immune system.  The following suggestions should be taken with the consent of your doctor.  If you are currently taking any medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist to make sure the following nutritional and/or herbal supplements would not  in any way interfere with your medications.  


(A)  If your symptoms persist for more than 7 days, or a fever persists for more than 3 days
(B)   If you begin running a high temperature
(C)   If you develop any discharge from the sinuses--or sputum (coughed-up from the lungs) -- which is any other color than “clear” in appearance  (e.g. yellow, red, green, brown, etc.)
(D)   If your immune system is already weakened by a previous condition or disease
(E)   If you have any unusual change in your condition instead of noting a progressive improvement in your symptoms




In addition to taking your regular multivitamin and mineral formulas, you may find some of the following vitamin and herbal preparations quite helpful…especially if taken when you notice the first signs that a cold is coming on.

[1] Vitamin C – “Timed Release” form with bioflavinoids is best  – 1000 mg., every 2 hours  (If you can’t get Timed Release C, take 500mg. every 2 hours, as your body can only hold about 250 mg every hour and the rest is lost in the urine.)

NOTE:  HIGH DOSE VITAMIN C IS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS IF YOU ARE OR MAY BE PREGNANT (High doses of Vitamin C may be injurious to a developing fetus at doses of 4000 mg/day or more... consult your doctor first if you are pregnant.) 

[2] Black Elderberry Extract – “Sambucol” – 1 TBSP every 2 hours -- research has shown that this extract exhibits anti-viral properties.

[3] Colloidal Silver - See labeled dosage recommendations which are different depending on the silver concentration of the formula.  


[1] "Wellness Formula” – Drops, by Source Naturals – 1 to 2 droppers every 2 hours -- an excellent combination of some of the best known herbs for boosting the immune system.


[2] “Whole Body Defense” – by Gaia Herbs – 1 capsule 3 times per day -- also an excellent combination of herbs formulated to help strengthen the immune system.


[3] “Yin Chao” – tablets -- a Chinese herbal preparation – 3-5 tablets, 4 times per day

HOMEOPATHIC MEDICATIONS may also be very helpful.  They are safe and without side-effects, and different remedies are prescribed based on the predominant symptom picture of your particular type of cold.  It is best to consult a homeopathic doctor or knowledgable resource to decide which formulas to use.


Generally, our bodies tend to over-react to infections, since throughout the course of evolution, members of species which had over-reactive immune systems tended to survive better and pass on their genes to succeeding generations.  Well we no longer live in the jungle, and we have excellent climate-controlled, clean, and comfortable modern living situations.  So, still some excess mucus production and coughing is good to clear out our respiratory tract, and some fever is good to fight off a virus.  But if our cold is not severe and our symptoms are more of a nuissance than necessary, sometimes it may be desirable to suppress some of the symptoms with non-prescription medications in order to better function at work, school, in public, or to get a good night's sleep.

(1)  Acetaminophen – “Tylenol” or a generic brand, is usually a good bet for viruses or bacterial infections to bring down a fever or to reduce body aches. (Note: fever is our natural mechanism for fighting viruses and bacteria by making the body a less hospitable environment for them to survive.  While low fevers can be helpful, too high fevers can cause bodily damage.  Consult your doctor if you expect a fever is too high.)

NOTE:  It is not recommended that you take Aspirin for colds as it may result in rare but very severe complications (Reye's Syndrome).   Also Ibuprofen and Aspirin can weaken our body's immune system when it needs to be fighting at it's optimal level.

(2)  Antihistamines and Expectorants may also be helpful if used diligently for short periods of time –  they act to reduce excessive mucus formation and fluid production which, in the lungs or sinuses,  can set up an environment which allows a secondary infection such as bacterial  pneumonia or bacterial sinusitis to develop. (NOTE: many types of antihistamines may make you drowsy, while others don't have that side effect, so read their labels and follow the directions carefully.)

IMPORTANT:  Children 6 and under should not take cough medications containing ingredients such as dextromethorphan or diphenhydramine – which may be very dangerous!  Research shows that ‘buckwheat honey’ actually works better for coughs then such cough medications for children! 


                                WHAT FOODS TO AVOID IF YOU HAVE A COLD OR FLU?

** Avoid Dairy Products, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils, Fried Foods, High Sugar content foods, foods to which you have suspected Allergies or Sensitivities,  and "Junk Foods" all of which produce added stress on the immune system **