TODAY | February 11, 2013
>>> professor at new york's langnone medical center .
>> some work, some don't. this is cold and flu season. people want relief.
>> let's start with echinacea.
>> been around hundreds of years as a cold remedy but scientific evidence doesn't back it up. studies have been mixed at best. when we look at it carefully, there's not been a benefit shown of shortening the duration or symptoms of the cold. people with asthma, it can be made worse by taking echinacea or if you have an allergy to something like ragweed. you have to be careful with that one.
>> zinc. i always heard got a sore throat , take some zinc.
>> studies have been mixed. although recently a larger view of the different study did show some benefit, shortening the duration of a cold by one day. children who take zinc regularly have less colds during the winter.
>> take it, in a sense, prophylactically.
>> sprays have been linked to a permanent loss of smell.
>> that's not good.
>> not good at all. fda did issue a warning a couple of years ago.
>> you don't hear that a lot.
>> you don't. it's not a fun thing when you lose your sense of smell .
>> i got it. vitamin c .
>> again, something people have been talking about for many years, whether it's in orange juice , oranges or the actual vitamin c supplement. here again the studies haven't shown a great benefit. one exception, i will say, is that people who exercise or are doing very strenuous things in cold temperatures, people in the military or marathon runners who run outside, construction worker, there has been a benefit shown to taking vitamin c every day to prevent colds.
>> in a supplement or as a -- juice form?
>> that was in a supplement, yeah. for the average person, probably not going to show a big benefit. yeah.
>> all-time fave, chicken soup .
>> this one actually does work. surprisingly. studies have shown that chicken soup -- they're not exactly sure which ingredient, but it has some anti-inflammatory effects and helps the passage of mucus, which can decongest you.
>> and it makes you feel better. there's a psychological benefit?
>> oh, sure, the comfort.
>> mom made it for us.
>> grandma's chicken soup .
>> i'm not being fresh here but what about honey?
>> well now that you mention it, it's one of those remedies that actually works. anti-cough properties. it works well for children as well. it also helps soothe an achy or irritating throat and can help with the clearing of mucus in the back of your throat.
>> little-known fact, honey is the one food that will never, ever go bad. actually found them in the pyramids and they were still good.
>> honey sometimes contains something, toxin, never use it for a child under 1.
>> got it.
>> this is one of the if disgusting things.
>> i think it looks cute.
>> it's what you do with it. it's not like, ooh, aladdin, i would like to run water through my nose.
>> the idea here is saline rinse. using salt water to rinse out the nasal package passage, squirt bottle or neti pot . i've used it myself.
>> what does it do?
>> basically you hold it up, tilt your head back and pour water into your nose to rinse out mucus, virus part icles as well. pregnant women --
>> i didn't want to take any cold medicine while i was pregnant and it actually helped.
>> do you still do it?
>> i do.
>> there you go!
>> warning with this one, make sure the water you're using is either boiled, distilled or sterile. there have been reports of people getting infections from impure water.
>> cold viruses thrive in dry environment. keep your house as humid as possible, especially your bedroom. nasal passages can get dried out. steam shower works just as well. this is when you get it all night.
>> you have to make sure these are clean, too.
>> replace the water daily and clean the machine. they can harbor mold, fungus, bacteria.
>> then you have to pour this through your nose, take