Cough, Cough... Common Cold? Take Vitamin C and Other Natural Cold Remedies

Apr 04, 2024Contributing Editor


Many different viruses cause common colds. This is what makes them so hard to avoid. They can last anywhere from one to two weeks. COVID-19 has brought flu prevention to the forefront of many people’s minds. 

Luckily, some natural cold remedies may help you treat and prevent colds. These include vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc. Keep reading for more information about their benefits and where to find them. 

Because allergies are so common, it can be hard to decipher whether you have a cold or not. 


Common Cold Symptoms 

While there are many different causes for colds, the symptoms are usually the same. Because everyone is different these symptoms may vary and be more or less severe. 

Symptoms of the common cold include: 

  • Runny nose 
  • Sneezing 
  • Red eyes 
  • Sore throat 
  • Cough 
  • Headache 
  • Body aches 

Colds are not the same as the flu. Flu symptoms include tiredness, fever, chills, aches, and a cough. 

Natural cold remedies may help reduce the severity and duration of these symptoms. Some may even help prevent you from becoming sick in the first place. Let’s dive into some of the top remedies for the common cold. 


Natural Common Cold Remedies 

There are some general practices to follow when you have a cold. These include keeping hydrated and well-rested. You can also take remedies like vitamin C to relieve your symptoms and speed recovery. Let's dive into some common remedies. 



This is a flowering plant native to North America. You can find it in tea, supplements, lozenges, and much more. 

The plant contains many strong antioxidants that fight against oxidative stress and inflammation. Studies have found that echinacea may help your immune system fight colds. This may help speed up your recovery time. Indeed, 14 studies found it may shorten this period by one and a half days. More studies are needed to be sure how beneficial it is for treating the common cold.  



This micronutrient is super important for your health. Some of its benefits include supporting your immune system and protein production. It also impacts your sense of smell and taste. Chelated zinc is in supplements to help you absorb the zinc. 

Studies show that it might shorten your recovery by up to a day. But this is only if you start taking it as soon as you have symptoms. 


Vitamin C 

Taking large doses doesn’t seem to help prevent you from getting sick or reduce your recovery time. However, some studies concluded that taking 6 – 8 grams per day helped decrease symptoms. 

It contains a lot of immune cells. These get depleted while you’re sick, so by supplementing your diet, you may improve your immunity. 


Benefits of Vitamin C Cold Remedies 

Many people turn to vitamin C to help treat and prevent colds. This is due to its reported benefits for your immune system. But what does vitamin C do for you exactly? Here are a few benefits it offers for helping you get over a cold with science to back them up! 

Immune Boosting 

Vitamin C may help strengthen your immune system. It does this by promoting the production of white blood cells. These protect you against infections. It may also help them function better as it protects the cells from free radical damage. 

Protection from Chronic Disease 

Vitamin C has many strong antioxidants that may help prevent inflammation-related diseases. This is because many of these chronic diseases are linked to oxidative stress. This happens when molecules called free radicals gather and outnumber your antioxidant levels. Antioxidants in general are important for maintaining a proper balance. 

Its antioxidant properties help protect you and your cells from free radicals. Studies show that supplementing with vitamin C may raise your antioxidants by 30%. There are different ways you can do this. You can take it in supplements, powders, gummies, or drinks. 

See here for tips on some vitamins and supplements to help you fight winter colds. 


Final Thoughts 

You can never avoid the common cold, but natural cold remedies may help relieve symptoms. Echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C may help decrease the length and intensity of your cold. Vitamin C offers benefits for your immune system with its antioxidants and role in your body.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can vitamin C completely prevent me from getting a cold?

While large doses of vitamin C may not guarantee complete prevention, studies suggest that consuming 6–8 grams per day can help reduce the severity of symptoms during a cold.

  1. How does zinc contribute to shortening cold recovery time?

Studies indicate that zinc, especially when taken promptly upon experiencing symptoms, may shorten the duration of cold recovery by up to a day.

  1. What are some natural sources of vitamin C besides supplements?

Apart from supplements, you can find vitamin C in various fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and broccoli.

  1. Are there potential side effects of taking echinacea supplements?

While generally considered safe, some individuals may experience mild side effects like nausea or an upset stomach when taking echinacea supplements. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before adding new supplements to your routine.

  1. Can zinc supplements be taken daily for immune support?

While zinc is essential for immune support, it's important not to exceed recommended daily allowances. Regularly exceeding these limits can lead to adverse effects. It's best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.


Other Resources

For those who are curious, want to expand their knowledge, or just like keeping informed, here are some links to sites that you might like. These online resources come from institutions that hold a sterling reputation for their expertise and stringent standards for relevant information.

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit American academic medical center focused on integrated clinical practice, education, and research. It is renowned for providing reliable health information.


Harvard Health Publishing

Harvard Health Publishing, affiliated with Harvard Medical School, offers authoritative health information, including articles on various medical topics, backed by the expertise of Harvard's medical professionals.

Government of Canada - Health

The official website of the Government of Canada provides information on public health, including valuable resources and guidelines for maintaining health and dealing with common illnesses.


The College of Family Physicians of Canada

As the professional organization for family physicians in Canada, the College of Family Physicians provides reliable information on health and wellness, making it a trustworthy resource for medical advice.


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