The methodical approach to a cold

Over the years, we’ve all heard a whole bunch about the various herbs, vitamins, and concoctions that can successfully, to some degree or another, shorten and weaken the common head cold. For every strategy that has its advocate, there seems to be an equally passionate detractor. Recently, though, I used a multi-pronged approach that seemed to work. Sorta.

It began in the usual way, with the telltale itch in the nose that informs you, unmistakably, that a viral invasion has taken place, and the little bastards have established a beachhead there in the depths of your face. This was not welcome news. Last January, I caught a cold that turned out to be pretty bleeping miserable. It stayed in my head for five days, nearly resulting in the shredding of my nostrils, then dropped into my chest to wreak bronchial havoc for another 10 days. The prospect of going through that dismal scene again provided the motivation I needed to get into gear and do some serious battle with this new invader.

When waging war with head colds, one factor seems to be universally important: the quick strike. You gotta make your move as soon as the first signals of invasion appear. The initial blast in my campaign would come from the much talked about Zicam. I’ve heard more than one person speak glowingly of the Zicam family of products in the last few years, and I’d never really done more than half-heartedly dabble with the stuff. This time, I had a box of Zicam nasal swabs, and I was planning to do something novel with them: follow directions. Be diligent in using the little buggas every four hours for the first two days of illness.

Next agent to put into play—elderberry. As in elderberry tincture, not wine. Three times a day, put 40 drops of this juice into a glass of water and consume. I wanted goldenseal in my mix, so I included the standard echinacea/goldenseal capsules three times a day. And just for good measure, I threw in the oldest and most famous of the anti-viral warhorses, vitamin C. Plus loads of water and soup.

No, I wasn’t able to completely stave off the cold, which ran from Thursday through Sunday. But, it started meekly and stayed meek. I never got miserable. You know that drill, when you’re just sitting there with a hankie in your face, sneezing your blowhole off non-stop and generally cussing life on Earth. Never got close to that zone. The other thing that impressed me is that the virus didn’t head south and park in my lungs. By Monday, this bug was done.

I was encouraged enough by the experience to make sure I have all hands on deck, so to speak, the next time a cold shows up. I’m curious to see if this strategy has legs, or if I just got lucky this time around.