What is the paleo/primal method of dealing with the common cold? Say it starts in the sinuses with major congestion and travels down to make the chest crackle with bronchial problems.
Does Grok make grog? Does he keep functioning because he needs to kill meat or starve? Does he eat less or does he eat more?
asked bypaleohacks (78467)
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on March 06, 2010
at 10:30 PM
First, I think it's a mistake to think about what Grok would do. Paleo isn't about regressing to a primitive state. Grok didn't have antibiotics; that doesn't mean we should avoid them when they're needed.
Having said that, for an illness like a cold that falls short of needing medication, one thing you might try is get some vitamin D3. It's a powerful immune system booster, even better than vit C. You can take up to 50,000 IU per day for a few days, or, better yet, get out in the sun, provided it's not winter or overcast.
Another important thing to do is to stay hydrated. With a runny nose and coughing up lots of phlegm, it's easy to get dehydrated. Water will help keep the mucus thin, which in turn helps prevent stagnation and infection.
Also, I think it's a good idea to limit physical activity when you're sick. When your body is working hard to fight off an infection, the last thing it needs is to have to divert resources to repairing systems that may have been slightly damaged (as muscles are when heavily loaded), or to dispose of any extra waste products that were generated during the associated metabolic processes. For the latter reason, I also wouldn't over-feed while sick. Limiting activity doesn't necessarily mean bed rest, though. It seems like some movement to keep the lymph system active would also be a good idea (since lymph fluid doesn't have a pump of its own, and so is only moved around by physical activity).
I'm also very skeptical about treating fevers, unless they get high enough that they might damage the brain (105+). Fevers are one of the body's natural ways of killing the invaders; why would you want to suppress that?
on March 06, 2010
at 06:36 PM
I discovered the benefits of cayenne pepper while in the throws of a bad cold a year ago, and have been telling everyone I know about it ever since. I've tried it twice and it has worked both times, alleviating about 90% of symptoms. Closest thing to a "miracle" I think I have experienced in my life, outside of dumping the wheat.
Here is a good site that lists some testimonials:
I realize most of the testimonials talk about dealing with a sore throat specifically, but this works for a cold just as well.
There are some down votes for cayenne, but these appear to be either accidental, as they are not reflected in the actual testimonial, or a result of the person not doing it right. Kind of like when someone says that paleo didn't work for them, when in actuality they were on a "faleo" diet (hat tip to Melissa).
The correct way to do it is to mix some cayenne in a glass of water (hot water with a bit of honey and lemon if you like) and sip every 10-15 minutes until you start to feel better. You definitely want it to be spicy, but you don't have to kill yourself with the stuff. Compare to eating a spicy meal. Took me about two hours to start feeling better the first time, and an hour after that I was feeling great!
If someone knows why this works exactly please let me know. My own personal opinion is that the reaction of your body to the cayenne kills the bug as well.
on March 06, 2010
at 05:57 PM
Interesting question. I am going to answer that I have no idea, it is probably context dependent, BUT our "Grok" didn't have access to pharmaceuticals.
Meaning, that I personally avoid taking pharma for things like a common cold, b/c the common cold will pass quickly anyway, whether or not I take whatever OTC symptom reliever/masker at hand - and I suspect the side effects of such drugs are under-stated.
However, ever since eating Paleo, I am dramatically sick less often. Not that I was sick very much before, but I am 10x less likely to be sick nowadays.
BTW a great book, tangential to this subject is: Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine. I highly recommend it.
on March 07, 2010
at 03:44 PM
Did Grok get a cold? I actually think it was highly unlikely. But the remedy that works for me and my family is chicken stock, every time. Grok would certainly have been able to boil up bones and hog's or deer's feet. Perhaps this is the 'grog' you mention? The French say that gelatin (extracted from animal hooves) is a miracle and will work wonders for colds and flu (and also repairs the lining of the intestines) and did a lot of research on it up to the 1950's.
"Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily???not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons--stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain."
Here is my recipe for chicken stock without pig's trotters, but if you want to include them, just add one to the pot at the beginning. In a crock pot, the stock will 'smile', as the French say, for 12 - 24 hours, this will extract the richest stock which turns to jelly when cooled and this can then be added to soups and sauces or hot drinks for the patient: http://constantstateofflux.com/2008/12/27/stocking-fillers/
I agree with Rick about the fevers - do not try to suppress them, but keep a VERY close eye on them and administer chicken stock to the patient, which also aids the body's defense mechanism and helps keep the patient hydrated (and gives them food for their souls).
I am sure that a close-knit paleo tribe would have been able to take up Grok's duties if he ever was ill in bed, but who knows, maybe if they all drank this grog every day, they never would have come down with anything we would recognize as a cold anyway.
on March 07, 2010
at 11:38 AM
One thing to keep in mind about cold/flu medications is that they generally "work" by surpressing the immune system. To my mind, this means that while they may reduce symptoms, it's pretty likely that the illness will last longer.
Take Sudafed for example. It works as a decongestant by thinning blood vessels (which, incidentally, raises blood pressure) to make it harder for immune cells to get into your nasal passages. Less immune cells fighting your cold/flu = less congestion. But what you've essentially done by taking it is weaken the immune system in your nasal cavity.
There may be situations where it can help -- such as if your nasal passages are completely blocked for an extended period of time. But it sure seems likely to me (I'm not aware of any studies addressing this) that in general OTC medications would tend to extend the duration of the cold/flu.
on December 10, 2010
at 12:57 AM
I've been using Echinacea for quite a bit, and I think it really works. Apparently it was widely used by the North American Plains Indians for its general medicinal qualities (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinacea#cite_note-16)