OTC Cold Medicine – Commonly used, but unproved
The cold season rages on, as we anticipate an added 6 weeks of winter (Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow).
Before you reach for over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicine claiming to solve your stuffy head, congestion, cough woes, it would be good to review valid reasons for avoiding these products, and opt for natural remedies instead.
Cold Medicine Gone Wrong – They don’t really work
Recalls and warnings on OTC cough and cold medicines abound. They are not only considered unsafe for children, but adults can also have detrimental side effects.
Plus, research shows that OTC cold and cough medicines don’t work on children, and rarely show improvement in adults. Even if you think it’s helping, most likely your improvement only comes from moving through the cold. So why do we continue to use them? Through advertised hype, and MD recommendations, we are told they are a convenient cure! I’ll get off my tiny soapbox now and review an alternative idea.
For more information on cold medicine efficacy visit WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20071022/kids-cold-drugs-questions-answers
Raw Honey – I love you
There are many nutrients packed in something so sweet. Unlike pasteurized and filtered honey (kills the nutrients), raw honey is packed with 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, a full-range of vitamins, and 5,000 live enzymes. The health benefits are endless from fighting free radicals and viruses to treating joint pain and weight loss.
Research shows that OTC cold and cough medicines don’t work on children, and rarely show improvement in adults. Even if you think it’s helping, most likely your improvement only comes from moving through the cold. So why do we continue to use them?
Focusing on the cold season, studies have shown honey is more effective at treating cough symptoms than OTC cough medications. Please note that raw honey should not be given to children under one-year-old, due to a possible botulinum toxin, also known as the base for Botox, which can be easily resisted by older children and adults.
Raw Honey Remedies:
- Cough Mixture – Combine 6 ounces of raw honey, 2 ounces of glycerin and the juice of two lemons. Bottle and cork firmly, use when necessary.
- Nasal Congestion – One spoonful of raw honey in a bowl of hot purified water. Place your head over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Inhale steam.
- Sore Throats – Take a teaspoon of raw honey and let it coat your throat. This reduces tissue inflammation.
Honorable Mentions – Cold Preventions:
Ester-C® – Superior non-acidic form of vitamin C that is gentle on the stomach, fast absorbing, and active for 24 hours.
Foundation (Blue Green Algae) – Potent antioxidant that strengthens immunity against cold/flu viruses; plus, it speeds up your recovery from illness.
Oil of Oregano – Strengthens immunity against viral infections and lessens cold/flu symptoms.
Grapefruit Seed Extract – Boosts immunity, decreases cold symptoms like sore throat, earaches, and coughs.
Bauchner, H. (2002). Over-the-Counter Cough Medicines: Not Helpful, but Harmless. Journal Watch Dermatology 2002: 13-13.
FDA. (2005, December). Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Information Page Retrieved on February 5, 2008 from http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/ppa/
Koenig, K. L. (2002). Over-the-Counter Cough Medicines Are Unproved. Journal Watch Emergency Medicine.
Paul, I. M., Beiler, J., McMonagle, A., Shaffer, M. L., Duda, L., & Berlin, C. M. (2007). Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 161(12), 1140-1146.
Paul, I. M., Yoder, K. E., Crowell, K. R., Shaffer, M. L., McMillan, H. S., Carlson, L. C., Dilworth, D. A., & Berlin, C. H. (2004). Effect of Dextromethorphan, Diphenhydramine, and Placebo on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents. Pediatrics, 114(1), e85-e90.
Schroeder, K. & Fahey, T. (2002). Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. BMJ 324-329.
Wine, Z. K. (2008, January). Honey in the Raw. To Your Health. 24-27.
[reprinted from Applied Health Journal No.111]