Alternative Medicines

Apart from scientific theories and treatments/symptom alleviation for the common cold, there is a huge and growing alternative market. Some of the ‘cures’ on offer – such as blowing hot air up the nostrils – are obviously dotty, but a serious review of the alternative market is worth it, as often ‘natural’ treatments can and do work – it is just that nobody knows why.

The scientific caveat which says ‘there is no specific evidence to suggest a connection between this or that ailment and this or that treatment as proven’ must be regarded with caution.

Scientists most especially use this caveat when there clearly is to common sense a direct link – as in the case of some forms of cancer to strong electromagnetic forces around such things as electricity pylons or mobile telephone aerial boosters. The importance of a claim as being ‘scientific’ rests in the empirical nature of experimentation, which defends us from the wilder claims of idealism or pure speculation. In scientific method – and this also applies to the philosophy of science – any assumption can be made, but a connection between a cause and an effect has of course to be supported by empirical evidence; but the methodology of empiricism is also open ended – in that new forms of evidence can emerge.

All empiricism itself is based upon philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality – for example, the existence of quarks is a theory based upon the subatomic behavior of energy that we subsequently came to experience.

Alternative Medicines

Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine deals with the whole body – seeing the body as a unified organism in which all aspects of Being and cellular structure as being inter-related.

Herbal Remedies

A good place to start is herbs, but be sure to seek out a good herbalist because even herbs can have harmful side effects and cause allergies which might have symptoms far worse than those of the common cold.

The principal tenet of herbalism is to build up long term resistance so that we get fewer and milder colds – and this works by bolstering the immune systems resources to attack incoming viruses. The following cold-relief specific herbs are available from herbalists and health shops:

CATMINT: Controls nasal blocking. Reduces stress.

CAMOMILE: Helps sore throat/tickly cough and controls temperature.

ECHINACEA ROOT: Echinacea is a herb native to Northern America which has been used as a blood purifier since 1885. It possesses remarkable immune stimulating properties. It increases white blood cell production and activity, destroying invaders such as cold viruses. It also increases interferon production to stimulate the synthesis of proteins that block viral infection. Typical daily dose for cold cycle susceptibility periods: 500-1,000mg.

ELDERFLOWER: Clears sinuses, reduces fever temperature.

HYSSOP: Eases coughs/tickly throat.

ROSEHIP: Can be made into tea – good for all cold symptoms and high in vitamin C.

FERR.PHOS, (Iron Phosphate): Take as directed on the carton

OLIVE LEAF: Olive leaf contains Olevropein, a chemical which kills bacteria and viruses, and boosts the immune systems’ supply of phagocytes.

Homoeopathy is growing in importance and products are available in all good chemists. The basic theory of homoeopathy is rather like vaccination – you give the patient a small dose of infection to encourage the build up of antibodies in the immune system – yet it is inevitable that as the virus mutates, homoeopathy can only alleviate symptoms, not cure colds. It is highly recommended for people who are against chemical medication.

Other alternative areas with their own specialisms include:

Vitamins & Supplements

Vitamin A: A normal daily intake of 10,000iv should be boosted to 50,000 iv at the onset of a cold. This will aid symptom alleviation and shorten the duration of the cold.

Gycerol monolaurate: A fatty acid found in breast milk, it breaks up the fatty coat on call membranes which allow viruses to latch onto other cells. Glycerol monolaurate kills many viruses including cold, influenza and about twelve other common ailments. At onset of colds symptoms/high receptivity periods 3000mg for four or five days should suppress the infection.


Phytotherapy is the use of plants in medicine. This ‘natural’ medicine, is about 3000 years old. Though phytotherapy is an alternative, much scientific research is now being undertaken to establish the effect upon the healing process by the use of plant extracts. Phytotherapy boosts the immune system, and this uses natural processes to ward off viruses, with no side effects.

The extracts are taken from plants – usually organically grown – by a process called cryogrinding – whereby the grinding process takes place under the chill of liquid nitrogen at 190oC. This chilling process preserves the thermosensitive constituents of plants used – such as vitamins and enzymes.

For common cold susceptibility periods – use Echinacea and plantain 2 capules of each night and morning over whole susceptible cycle up to one month.

Homeopathic Treatment Products

Do not eat, drink or clean your teeth 15 minutes before or after taking a remedy.

Cold – Allium Cepa and Nux Vomica are recommended for colds: take 6c every 4 hours for up to 10 doses.

Flu – try Aconite or Gelsemium.


Our sense of smell activates the limbic system in the brain: this system activates memory to associate smells with past memories and activates emotions. If we isolate pleasing smells which recollect pleasing memories, then this reduces stress and promotes relaxation, which in turn stimulates the immune system.

Most aromatherapists use organic plants for their aromatic essences. These essences, such as aniseed, basil and cedarwood are made into oils which can then be applied to the skin – in this way we benefit not only from the aroma, but also the many beneficial physical properties of these plants as they enter the body through skin contact.

Aromatherapy is often applied via healing and massage – so that the whole experience is completely relaxing.

Steam inhalations of menthol eucalyptus or peppermint oil help clear airways. Pour a few drops into a bowl of very hot water, cover your head with a towel and face above the bowl, breathe in the vapours for 5 minutes.

There are also additives that can be introduced into bathwater that vaporise the air to give a bath that relieves the airways during a cold.

Other Possibilities

Cider Vinegar

According to a discussion forum from the home page from Mike Salts on 24 April 2000, the human body veers by diet and lifestyle between being ACID and ALKALINE, and that ACID bodies destroy cold and similar bugs. He recommends taking a teaspoon of cider vinegar in a tumbler of water at breakfast and another with the main meal of the day – every day. This simple preventative diet has, he says, meant that he and his wife have had no colds for fifteen years. The remedy is also beneficial in that it cleanses the palate and helps to break down fats and prevent clogging of the arteries.