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Health Top Stories

Natural remedies, do they really work?

Here are the natural remedies and explanation to whether they work or not.


Does it work? A study found that people who began a moderately intense exercise program had 29 percent fewer colds than a control group. Mild exercise may relieve symptoms like congestion. Downside? Take care not to overexert yourself while you have symptoms like a cough.


Does it work? People who got fewer than seven hours of sleep a night were nearly three times more likely to develop symptoms when exposed to a virus than those who got eight or more hours, research found. Downside? None—head to bed, and sleep tight.


Does it work? Worth a try. This mineral shortens illness by about a day (it stops the virus from replicating) if you take it within 24 hours of feeling sick. Downside? Lozenges may leave a bad taste or cause nausea. Avoid nasal sprays, which can damage your sense of smell.


Does it work? Not our favorite natural cold remedy; they may prevent colds. A 2011 analysis of ten studies found probiotics decreased the number of people who had at least one cold. But not all studies show benefits. Downside? They may cause bloating at first. Strains vary, but some studies used those in OTC brands, such as Lactobacillus.

Vitamin C

Does it work? Pass. Maybe the most studied of the bunch, vitamin C falls short of the mark. In a 2013 review of 29 trials, it didn’t reduce colds. Huge doses to ease symptoms had small effects in some but not all studies. Downside? Expensive urine. The studies didn’t find risks, although megadoses can cause stomach upset and possibly kidney stones if you’re prone.

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