New research shows which cold remedies actually work… and which are a waste of time and money
The average American catches two to four colds a year, with U.S. consumers spending billions of dollars annually on remedies to treat and prevent respiratory infections, coughs, sore throats, and stuffy noses. But what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to combating the common cold?
New research suggests a large number of over-the-counter cold and flu remedies do little to stop or treat viral and bacterial infections that strike during winter months, but some approaches do make a difference.
In a new analysis of 67 cold-remedy studies, Michael Allan, M.D., director of medicine at the University of Alberta, found strong evidence that zinc can prevent a cold, while OTC pain relievers and decongestants are reliable treatment options. The review, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found probiotics — “good bacteria” in yogurt and other food products — can also block cold infections. But findings were inconclusive on the benefits of ginseng, garlic, homeopathy, Echinacea, or vitamins C or D.
Dr. Allan added, however, that despite the lack of scientific evidence for many cold and flu remedies, many of his patients still swear by some…
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