The Influenza Virus Meets its Match

Why I swear by Green Tea

I hate colds. And this cold had stuck around for too long.It was the Fall of 2007. I had been training hard all summer, going out on long solitary bicycle rides in the early mists of the morning. Being a poor, cycling dude, I lived in a cheap basement apartment that smelled musty and had never quite seemed to have dried out from the last spring's flooding.

I developed a cough. And then a sneeze. And then a head cold. And it seemed that I never could get ahead of it. Over-trained and overextended, my body never fully conquered this summer cold. I remained sick in one degree or another for several months. I finally gave up my training and found myself sleeping more. Frankly, I was rather concerned. I had already tried most of the over-the-counter medicines including Zyrtec, Tylenol Cold, and Allegra with no results.

 One day, one of my customer's, a medical doctor, noticed my haggard face and raspy throat.

 “Man, you've been sick for awhile,” He noted.

 “Yeah...” I give him my standard excuse of being a poor guy with no insurance, and I probably would get better eventually.

 “Well have you tried..” He began, but I interrupted him. “Yeah, I've tried cold medicine, and herbal medicine, and orange juice and grape juice...”

 He listened to me rant and then said “Why don't you go drink some green tea?” I started to explain that I drank Green Tea on a regular basis, but then he explained how to prepare it specifically to cure a cold.

 I love the healthiness of alternative medicine. I hate the “hocus-pocusness” and commercial gimmicks that surround them. That's why I loved that this remedy cured my cold so well and used something as simple as green tea. (And that a Medical Doctor introduced me to it)

 Several years have passed now, and I've refined my personal cold-kicking concoction. And now recent research is backing me up. So here's a quick rundown of my view on the body and how to cure the common cold.


The Body's Healing Ability

 Let me skip all the weird, healing-energy stuff out there and just point out that our bodies have a pretty amazing immune system. That's scientific. But our immune system needs some critical components in order to help it work. First of all, your body needs building materials and communication. If it doesn't know it's being attacked, how can it respond? And once it has mobilized its defenses, well, it needs to create an army of antibodies and macrophages in a hurry.

 The faster they mobilize and attack those nasty cold viruses, the faster you get better.

So to provide my body with extra strength I double my one-a-day vitamin whenever I start to think I'm having cold-like symptoms. Sure, one could argue that maybe I get a little too much Iron, but with my colds lasting about 3 days, it doesn't matter too much. And I'm not too particular about the vitamin. I've used expensive health-food types, and cheap Equate brand vitamins sold at Wal-mart. They all seem to do the trick.

Also adding in about 3000 mg of Vitamin C, a small dose of zinc, and 4-6 capsules of Echinacea- Goldenseal mixture seems to help provide even greater immune support during this time.

I also make sure to increase my vegetable intake. Normally, I'm fairly lax with my food pyramid, but when curing a cold I make sure to either grab a bag of frozen spinach or frozen mixed veggies, and throw it in the microwave in the evenings. It's not an amazing effort, but it gives my body a few more resources to pull from for building defenses against the cold.

If you're on the go, grab a big old jug of low-sodumV8 and chug it. Plenty of veggies in one of those.

Your body also needs speed. The faster the good guys can move through your body and flush the dead virus through your kidneys, the better. A lot of water, orange juice, and grape juice are key for this. The more fluid your body has at it's disposal, the better and faster all of it's systems can communicate, and heal.


The Green Tea Remedy

 I'll be real honest. I feel like I have a hard time convincing people to try out this remedy. Perhaps because it is just so dang nasty. But it is the cornerstone behind helping your body fend off the bad guys. Frankly, I often just kill my colds with two multi-vitamins a day and this green tea routine.

 This cold-killing bad boy is all about the stoutness of the Green Tea. It really doesn't matter what brand of tea you choose – I've become a fan of the Bigelow Tea because it is inexpensive and they put a lot of leaves in each bag. I got sick while traveling this week and had to use Celestial Seasonings green tea as that is what my host provided. It took nearly twice as many teabags as Bigelow because Celestial packs their tea bags so lightly. I've also used the Lipton brand frequently, and it seems to have more twigs and stems in it so that it requires more heat to make a cup as stout as the Bigelow stuff.

 And then the cure is pretty simple. Fill the biggest mug in the house with boiling water and add 2-6 tea bags to it. You can add sugar if you like, but I really doubt that you can do much to improve the taste. It's stout, but by no means undrinkable. Repeat this for a total of 4 times the first day at full strength. Hopefully by the second day, your cold will have subsided enough that you can switch to 2-teabag strength. 4 cups of that should mostly clean up the cold. If, however, I am feeling pretty sick on day 2, I stick with the full strength and wait to go half-strength until day 3.

 (Don't miss the 'word of warning' at the bottom!)

 By day 3, I'm pretty much feeling on top of it. I still drink double strength green tea in the morning and evenings for the next few days just to make sure the cold is trampled. Then it's back to one vitamin a day and feeling a ton better.


How Green Tea Cures Colds

 Only this week I have stumbled upon research published by Harvard done sometime around 2000 that indicates that green tea stimulates gamma-delta T-cells . For those of us that took biology many years ago, the T-cells are pretty awesome at killing bad things, like cold viruses. And having T-cells that are “bulked up” are just too much for the common cold.


The Drugs

 I have nothing against over-the-counter drugs to help relieve cold symptoms. In fact, I am a major fan of Nyquil for helping sleep through cold-symptoms at bedtime. That being said, I have tried basic vitamins and Dayquil and kicked normal colds in 10 days. I've also used the green tea remedy and consistently end colds in 72 hours.

 Of course, colds naturally vary anytime in these time frames, so I'm not going for a Nobel Prize with this experiment, I just know that I've been using a healthy cure for the common cold that kills these buggers in 72 hours


A Word of Warning.

 Don't ever try the Green Tea Remedy on an empty stomach. The Resulting Nausea is a very unpleasant experience.


I'm not looking for anyone to get a cold, but if you do decide to try out this remedy, please feel free to post back your results in the comments below!