Boost Your Body’s Defenses to Fight the Common Cold

Feel a cold coming on? You may want to stay away from the pharmacy.

Over-the-counter drugs only relieve symptoms. They don’t get rid of the viral infection causing them.

Instead of relying on over-the-counter drugs, keep yourself from getting sick in the first place. A lot of people think there is nothing you can do to stave off the common cold. But in my practice, we’ve proven that’s not true. You can, for example:

• Take vitamin C. You should take 500 mg a day of this potent antioxidant consistently. If you feel a cold coming on, increase that to 1,000 mg. This old standby really is one of your body’s best immune defenses – if you take enough. The recommended daily allowance of 60 mg a day will do nothing.

• Use Echinacea, an herb that Native Americans have been using for centuries. While it’s a strong immune booster, it’s best not to take it regularly. Drink one to two cups of Echinacea tea a day during cold and flu season. You can also take Echinacea capsules, 500 mg a day – but I prefer the tea.

• Try Goldenseal, another Native American plant. This is a strong bacterial fighter, including the bacteria that cause strep throat. You can find powdered Goldenseal in capsule form at most health food stores. Gargle a solution of Goldenseal and water at the first sign of a sore throat. Use 100 mg three times a day.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears is a practicing physician and the author of The Doctor’s Heart Cure. He is also a nutritional expert, a fitness expert, and is certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine. Find Dr. Sears’s practical solutions and get immediate access to more than 500 of his articles by visiting]

Comment on this article

  • Marion L. Leigon

    Fabulous!! Am posting copies in the Senior apartment building where I live. Am an avid health nut and don’t remember when I had a cold or even a threat of a cold last! Believe wholly in “prevention” rather than “cure”. Thanks!