Runny nose or scratchy throat: Cold season is back. To get rid of the annoying symptoms, people resort to various home remedies. But do they actually help?
Berlin – Whether on the train, at work, at a concert or in a sports hall: There’s a lot of sniffing, blowing and coughing at the moment. Because autumn has long since begun the cold season. Some go to the doctor and have medication prescribed, others prefer to resort to well-known home remedies. What can help and what doesn’t:
Does chicken soup help with a cold? Fact-checking home remedies
Claim: Gargling relieves a sore throat.
Facts: According to the Health Knowledge Foundation, gargling with a salt solution or herbal tea moistens the mucous membranes. However, this only affects their surface. “The inflammation in the deeper regions of the mucous membrane remains unaffected,” it says. There is insufficient scientific evidence that gargling works against a sore throat.
However, gargling can at least relieve pain. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) announces that the effectiveness of a 15 percent sage spray for treating a painful viral sore throat has been proven in a scientific study.
Claim: Inhaling clears your nose.
Evaluation: Not clear.
Facts: With your head over a bowl of hot steam: inhaling is a popular method for a cold and is often beneficial. According to the Health Knowledge Foundation, inhaling supports the natural cleansing function of the mucous membrane. The hot steam moistens the mucous membranes. According to the Cochrane research network, studies have shown that inhaling does not make a cold worse. However, the symptoms did not improve significantly.
The Federal Center for Health Education, citing the Societies for Ear, Nose and Throat Medicine and Head and Neck Surgery as well as the Society for General Medicine and Family Medicine, recommends steam inhalation at 38 to 42 degrees Celsius.
Claim: A hot lemon helps against a cold.
Facts: Fresh lemons contain vitamin C, which, according to the Federal Center for Health Education, is important for the immune system. However, in order not to destroy the heat-sensitive vitamin, the drink should only be warmed slightly. “The effectiveness of this home remedy for an existing cold has not yet been proven,” explains the Federal Center.
Home remedies instead of medication: What really helps?
Claim: Chicken soups have a positive effect.
Facts: In many households, the good old chicken soup is served out of conviction in order to get fit again. According to the Health Knowledge Foundation, the heat in chicken soup causes blood vessels to dilate and the tissue to receive better blood flow. That’s why the soup has a beneficial effect. “In general, warm liquids can cause secretions to loosen and drain better.” Chicken soup also provides important nutrients to the ailing body. A study from the University of Nebraska in the USA also suggests that the soup has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Claim: Ginger stimulates the immune system.
Facts: The Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich found that ginger stimulates the immune system. Accordingly, small amounts of a ginger ingredient put white blood cells on alert. Roman Huber, head of the University Center for Naturopathy in Freiburg, explains that ginger contains many medicinally effective substances. The Federal Center for Health Education also reports that ginger contains substances that are anti-inflammatory and cell protective. (dpa)
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