You’ve heard it all your life … “There’s no cure for the common cold.” Sure, drug store shelves are loaded with cold and flu remedies, but the most they can do — and some of them do it better than others — is temporarily relieve symptoms. Only time and rest can truly knock out a cold.
At least, that’s what we once believed. Recent clinical studies may have pinpointed a substance with the power to lessen not only the severity of common cold symptoms, but also reduce the duration of the cold itself.
This miracle cure wasn’t developed in a lab somewhere, but grows naturally in South Africa, where its healing properties have been known for centuries. A type of geranium, the Umckaloabo plant (its scientific name is Pelargonium sidoides) has been demonstrated to be effective against sinus infections, bronchitis, and, yes, the common cold.
In its land of origin, the plant is so tied in the minds of people to its powers against respiratory illnesses that its name comes from the word “umkhulkane,” which means “respiratory infection.”
Modern science, which is generally skeptical of herbal remedies, has been studying Umckalaobo — more commonly known as Umcka — since 2007, and initial indications are positive.
In clinical trials, participants who took Umcka were more than twice as likely to be completely over their colds by the end of a 10-day period as those who took a placebo (79% of Umcka users versus 31% of those who took a placebo). The herb is also believed to lessen the severity of a cold.
Luckily, you don’t have to fly to South Africa to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of Umcka. It has been available in North America for a few years. The primary producer of Umcka-based cold remedies in the United States is Nature’s Way, a company that produces a variety of herbal supplements mainly sold at health food stores. Umcka is available in an array of preparations, from drops to syrups to powders.
So feed your cold — chicken soup if you like — drink plenty of fluids, and get your rest, but if you want to feel better faster, skip the cold and flu tablets and give Umcka a try.