The common cold is caused by a wide variety of viruses that infect the upper respiratory tract. This includes your nasal passages, sinuses, and throat.


It’s normal to catch a cold once or twice a year. If you are catching colds more frequently than that, you might have a weak immune system.

Common Cold Symptoms

The typical symptoms that you, or your loved ones, will experience when you have a cold include:

  • Nasal discomfort accompanied by a watery discharge and sneezing
  • A dry, sore, and irritated throat
  • Inflamed nasal passages
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck

You will also experience other symptoms including malaise, fever, headache, and upper respiratory tract congestion. Symptoms vary slightly between individuals.

You are often exposed to the viruses that cause the cold, but you only get an active infection when something has compromised your immune system to the point where you can’t fight it off.

Therapeutic Considerations

Keeping your immune system healthy is the main way of preventing catching an excessive number of colds.

Either way, to help once a cold develops, there are several ways to help support your immune system. If you use natural remedies, it will take time to recover, it is difficult to throw off a full-blown cold in only a couple of days.

What the natural approach will do is help support your recovery and then look at improving your immune system so that you don’t catch a cold as easily again.

Some simple things you can do to help when you have a cold include:

  • Rest: the value of getting enough sleep cannot be underestimated.
  • Drink large amounts of fluids to help keep you hydrated. This also helps keep your respiratory tract moist, something a cold normally dries out. A dry throat is a good environment for the virus to thrive. By drinking and keeping it moist you make it more difficult for the virus to grow.
  • Avoid consuming lots of sugar, too much sugar can impair immune function.

Herbal and Supplement Support

For helping support and improve your immune system, consider using supplements containing the following nutrients and herbs.

  • Vitamin C is critical for immune system function. It helps to make sure your body can respond to the infection and reduces the duration of the cold.
  • Zinc is also incredibly important for immune function when there is an active infection. It helps your immune system fight the cold and helps to repair damaged cells. Learn more here.
  • Echinacea helps to improve immune system function and reduce the duration of colds.
  • Pelargonium significantly reduces the symptoms of the common cold and helps to reduce the duration of the common cold.

Katherine Knott

Katherine is a certified naturopath and the founding director of Acorn and Oak.   She began studying Naturopathy when she was 18 years old and has practiced in both Melbourne and rural Victoria.  She has also studied 2 1/2 years of nursing and midwifery, but decided that she was happier to work with women as […]

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Kate Pool

All Kinesiology and Mind Body Medicine appointments are available both in person and online with our very own Kinesiologist. Kate began her wellness journey in her early 20’s, after no longer being able to ignore that niggling feeling that she wasn’t on her true path, or being her true authentic self. Through crystal chakra healing, […]

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Christine Wilson

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Alyce Beaton

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