When you know what causes your common cold it becomes relatively easy to treat it effectively. But there are conflicting points of view.
In this post we examine the causes of your cold from the perspective of your MD and from the perspective of the herbalist or traditional healer.
How you prevent and treat your cold will depend on which view you believe makes the most sense.
Common Cold Causes – Your MD’s View
The common cold is caused by any one of two hundred viruses, the most common being rhinoviruses and respiratory syncytial viruses. These viruses can be airborne on droplets that have been sneezed or coughed by someone else, but they are mostly spread by direct contact with infected secretions carried on the fingers.
The cold viruses cause a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, causing inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the bronchial passages, throat, Eustachian tubes and nose. The result is a mucous discharge from the nose, blocked or stuffed nasal passages, and occasionally headaches.
Most colds run their course in four to ten days, but infants and the elderly are susceptible to further complications (secondary infections) such as sinusitis, ear inflammations, bronchitis and pneumonia. These may be more serious than the original cold.
Because of the number of viruses involved, people do not develop immunity to colds as they do with other viral diseases.
The treatment prescribed by most physicians includes rest, fluids, antihistamines, decongestants, cough medicines as needed and even antibiotics. (Antibiotics are useless against colds as they have no effect on viral infections – that does not keep patients from asking and doctors from trying.)
Aspirin is generally not recommended because it actually increases viral shredding and makes the individual more contagious.
Vaccines, though very popular, are inconsistent in terms of prevention.
Common Cold Causes – The Green Healers View
The majority of us only experience the discomfort of a cold once or twice a year. This implies that a decrease in resistance or immune function is the major factor in catching a cold.
All forms of traditional medicine view the common cold as the body’s attempt at internal cleansing and detoxification.
An accumulation of waste in the cells, organs and tissue fluids weaken the immune system. This creates the conditions for the cold viruses to gain a foothold in the body and flourish. The common cold eliminates this accumulated waste. In short – a cold is an efficient, rapid form of internal cleansing.
Your cold symptoms will indicate which organs are detoxifying. When the large intestine is unable to fully eliminate, waste infiltrates the lymph system, causing swollen glands, sore throat and cough.
Diarrhea is the body’s attempt to rapidly eliminate accumulated waste, a pathogen or some sort of toxin.
Frequent urination suggests an effort to cleanse the kidneys, bladder and blood.
Fever is the body’s effort to create a hostile condition for a bacterial or a viral infection of the major bodily systems.
Sweating cleanses the tissue fluids, lymph and blood, and takes the burden of the kidneys.
Suppression of cold symptoms, which is routinely accomplished by pharmaceutical drugs, drive these waste products deeper into the body, creating stagnation and forming the basis for more serious illness later on. The body must be allowed to detoxify itself.
Warning: A cold can turn into a life threatening secondary infection. Be especially carefully with children, the elderly and the frail.
Which view do you agree with?
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