The medicine cabinet or the cupboard?

16 Oct


(Photo credit: Flickr member DonnaGrayson licensed for use under Creative Commons)

Wisebread published an article today called “7 Cheap and Natural Ways to Fight the Cold and Flu.”

Call me a skeptic, but whenever I hear people talk about natural remedies, I tend to lose interest very quickly. I’ll admit I am kind of curious whether these things work, but I tend to assume they don’t. I appreciate medicine, and when I’m sick and feeling awful, I will reach for the Sudafed – not the apple cider vinegar.

My understanding is that any kind of medication or home remedy is not going to really cure your ailment; all it can do is help alleviate the effects. That’s why I’d rather take a medication that’s going to, for example, help with sinus pain, rather than eat garlic, which as far as I know, won’t make my face hurt any less.

Also, I’m confused about something in the article:

Basically, ginger raises your body temperature, forcing your body to perspire and sweat out the cold…nice…sweating without working out!

Can you actually sweat out a cold?

What do you think about these home remedies? Do you use them?


5 Responses to “The medicine cabinet or the cupboard?”

  1. erniebufflo October 16, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    As far as I know, viruses, like colds, have to actually be killed by your immune system, not simply excreted through sweat. However, zinc, in the form of Zicam, actually binds to the cold virus cells to keep them from biding to your cells and making you sick. But zinc is more of a real remedy than a home one.

    Also, people who have colds get dehydrated and are encouraged to drink a lot of fluids. It seems sweating would exacerbate that.

  2. Rebecca October 16, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    It;s not the sweat-it’s the slight fever that is your body’s attempt to kill off the virus. And a fever both causes dehydration and is made worse by dehydration, so that’s why you force fluids.

    However, I am with you-while zinc does help a lot, I still want symptom relief, and so I will always go for the drugs. And if you develop a secondary infection on top of a virus, you need antibiotics to make that go away. Garlic not gonna help you then!

  3. HRu October 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    Second the first comment. Cold viruses basically take over your body and it’s up to your immune system to shed it, hence all the nasty symptoms (sneezing, coughing, congestion from mucus/phlegm build-up, muscle aches and fatigue) of colds. You feel bad because your body is fighting off the virus. But it is also during the virus shedding (in the form of symptoms) that you are contagious and can pass the virus to others. That is why everyone is so conscious of touching door handles and washing hands well.

    I read this 7 remedies article and am glad to see that the author does not propose anything really kooky. It’s all homeopathic type remedies (the stuff of wives tales). They might not do a better job of alleviating your symptoms than synthetic drugs, but at least they’re all natural and I find them to be better tasting than pills. Disclaimer: I also happen to use garlic liberally in my cooking and drink tea instead of coffee.

    I take OTC drugs if my symptoms are severely affecting my work/productivity, but if I happen to be at a coffee shop, I will certainly order the green tea and throw some honey in there as well. It’s a consumer’s paradise, so pick what you like best. But stay healthy!!!

  4. Melissa October 16, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    I tend to prefer natural remedies, but only when I can understand how they work and can find a legitimate reason why they are not just an old wives tale.

    For example: vinegar is the most effective way to treat foot fungus. Vinegar is highly acidic, so if you mist it on your feet it creates an environment where fungi cannot grow. That sort of remedy is awesome, because it’s cheap, it works, and there is an explanation that makes logical sense.

    But, that’s not the same thing as using rose-scented water to open up your consciousness and heal your mind of the impurities that are causing back pain, or whatever else. That falls in the ‘wacko’ category.

    I guess I’m more of a hippy because I see most drugs as doing the same thing you see natural remedies doing; only treating the symptoms. Cold medication is the perfect example: it’s treating the symptoms of a virus, but nothing except your own immune system can make you better. The drugs are just making you more comfortable while you wait. Most of the time, I’d rather use something more natural to stay comfortable, instead of reaching for the synthetic drugs.


  1. It’s not that cute « Cute Cheap Stuff! - October 29, 2009

    […] Comment! Cold and flu season has begun! This week I’ve been struggling with a cold – or what I hope is just a cold and not something more serious – and it was a reminder about something I failed to mention in my post about home remedies. […]

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