How to Cure a Cold Quickly

Tuesday Dec 29 | BY |
| Comments (24)


Last week, I got sick with a pretty nasty bug! Thankfully, I managed to recover very quickly using a counterintuitive method I’ll talk about in a moment.

I found that following a high-raw, plant-based diet has improved my immunity. I rarely get sick with the cold or flu. I also work from home and don’t get exposed to the big melting pot of viruses being passed along in offices.

But last week, I got hit hard!

It all started when I picked up a friend from the airport, who had just spent two months in Morocco. She was coughing her lungs out for hours during the car ride but told me it was because of exposure to second-hand smoke during her trip. Well… I should have known better.

The very next day, I started getting the typical symptoms of a pretty nasty cold: a sore throat, headache, slightly elevated body temperature, fatigue.

Under normal circumstances, I would have stayed home and rested.

But it turned out that next day was December 24th, and I had, of course, a big Christmas Eve dinner and party with my family. So I stayed up late, which made my symptoms worse.

So I decided to put my healing into high gear. Without going into all the details, I fasted through the night for 36 hours on water only.

And then I was fully back in action the next day, feeling better than ever.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to the standard advice to “Starve a fever and feed a cold.”

Most people drag colds for at least 7 to 10 days. I think that’s because they’re not taking the time to rest and let their body heal.

Fasting helps the body direct its energies on healing rather than digestion.

What’s the best way to get rid of a cold quickly?

So many remedies exist… from rum mixed with honey to oregano oil and garlic.

But the best remedy is to give your body plenty of REST and if you can, fast for a day or two on water only. If you must, drink vegetable broth (no sodium) or vegetable juice, but no fruit or sugar.

An old saying goes like this “the untreated cold lasts seven days and the treated cold lasts a week.”

We always get better from a cold in SPITE of our remedies rather than because of them. Mostly, they work as psychological support more than anything else.

However, from personal experience, I remain convinced that water fasting accelerates healing vs. “feeding the cold.” An alternative to fasting would be to eat only vegetables.

Fasting is truly one of the best natural “cures.” That’s why I want to explore this topic fully next year.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back in action so quickly (thanks to the fast!) and next time you need a ride from the airport, make sure you’re not bringing a Moroccan virus with you! 🙂

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Helen says:

    I would have taken about 10 grams of Vitamin C for 2 days and by day 3 back to normal. See Dr. Klenner’s work from the 30’s and 40’s, 1930-1940’s. He was treating ALL viruses including polio successfully with high doses Vitamin C.
    Of course, we’re not supposed to know about this. 😉

  2. Mikeal says:

    How much water?

  3. Sharon says:

    I take a zinc lozenge and spray my throat with hydrogen peroxide food grade and diluted. Next time I will try fasting.

  4. Rather than anecdotal, I now have empirical evidence of fasting’s effectiveness! Despite this, I’m still confused how fasting is different than starving, especially if we’re doing a true fast – which is water only…

    • That’s a good question! I will answer it fully in a future article. But basically, “starving” means “running out of reserves.” Fasting is not starving. It’s your body shifting to its own reserves to burn an alternate source of fuel. Starvation would come only after the body has run out of reserves, which can take quite a while. Even in a short fast (24-36 hours), the body is mainly using its immediate reserves and not even tapping into its deeper reserves. Fasting is mainly about RESTING. Digestive rest = metabolic rest.

  5. Steve says:

    One of the variations of this often misquoted saying is one that I grew up hearing:
    “If you feed a cold you will have to starve a fever”.
    My mom would tell us this when we were sick and her thought was that if we ate food when we had a cold it would make us worse and then we would be forced to starve a fever.

  6. Roger Haeske says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience Fred,

    Of course fasting helps. And getting enough sleep is very important to prevent getting a cold in the first place. You can do all the important things to preventing a cold but if you don’t get enough sleep then it will all be sabotaged.

    In addition to that I’ve found a way to stop colds dead in their tracks.

    I’m talking getting rid of cold symptoms 15 to twenty minutes after you do this. And if you do this right… you NEVER even get cold or the flu to begin with. But if you start to get a cold or the flu you can stop it almost immediately.

    I’ve personally tested it for 3 years and so have my family and nothing I’ve ever tried to prevent or reverse colds even comes close.

    I created a program which reveals the simple 3-step process called “The Flummunity Protocol.”

    It includes things I’ve learned from being a 100% Raw Foodist for over 14 years and having traveled to many different places. The frequent travel just gives you insights not easily attained otherwise.

    Plus some things that don’t get taught in raw food circles. This is why even 100% raw foodists still get colds from time to time. Because being 100% raw itself is not enough. Though it does definitely lower the intensity of any cold or flu you would get. That’s presuming your doing the Raw Food Diet correctly which unfortunately most people don’t. However, the Flummunity Protocol does not require one to go raw to stop getting colds.

    When you do this right it’s EXTREMELY unlikely you’ll ever get a cold or flu again. And it’s easy enough to do.



  7. Ryan says:

    You’re exactly right. Nothing better than fasting to fix a cold.
    Animals do it…

  8. Gee Whiz I sure am GLAD SOMEBODY FINALLY MENTIONED that FASTING is Mother Nature’s CURE – ALL . . . . . . . . . . . . . — What do animals do when they get sick? Give ya ONE GUESS . . . Ya ONLY GET ONE. I’m not at all surprised the potentially nasty cold was effectively side-stepped, simply by fasting for 36 hours, drinking only pure water to strengthen the immune system and help the body flush out pathogens quickly.

    FACT: The All-Time Number One Cause of Disease ? – Failure to eliminate poisons from the body.
    FACT: The All-Time Number One Source of Poisons / Toxins in the body ? – the FOOD WE EAT. (Overwhelmingly).

    FACT: Our bodies are MIRACULOUS, ABSOLUTELY MARVELOUS at the art of Healing / Rebalancing Themselves. They WANT to, they WILL to do this if they possibly can. Trouble comes by continually adding too much junk (food) which tends to acidify the system etc. resulting in gradual imbalance / breakdown in many areas.

  9. Jennifer says:

    We should change it to “Feed a fever, starve a cold,” except that ALL sickness is healed more quickly by fasting.

  10. Gary says:

    You are so on point Frederic!

    I experienced the similar cure a few days ago. A few days ago, I had similar symptoms, runny nose, sneezing, slight fever, headache, slightly scratchy throat. I rested in bed all day, and drank only water. I also took Dr. Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C–approximately 16,000 milligrams, spread throughout the day. And the very next day I felt amazingly better.

    I’m glad to hear that you had a similar result, thanks for posting.

  11. Mia says:

    Hi, I’ve had my cold for about 4 weeks now. I have not been sick like this for about 2 years. Having school age children and two grandkids, well, yeah.
    My little G’baby and I have been sick the longest. I’ve been taking supplements and drinking the water. I’ll have to do the whole day fast though. Thanks for the info.

  12. I had heard D3 was effective but the first time I found out by experience, I was on 10,000 IU of D3 for IBS. I was working in a nursing home when an unidentified epidemic came through that killed 9 patients (old folks) The main symptoms that caused their deaths I believe, was their aversion to eating and drinking. ALL nurses and CNA’s were sick and came to work sick. Except me. I didn’;t even get a sniffle. I didn’t even have to raise my vitamin C intake. (Which was already 4 grams daily). Could be a fluke?

    Next time I came to work with a headache, took extra fluids, as I don’t get headaches unless I’m dehydrated or getting the flu. Fluids didn;t help. Tylenol and ibuprofen didn’t help. Uh oh, that means the flu. So I took 4 grams of C and 20,000 IU of D3. Gone in the hour and I was off to pass meds.

    Last time I had learned about the importance of sulfur, by an interview of Dr. Stephanie Seneff by Dr. Mecola, started taking 2 grams MSM am and 2 grams MSM pm. So in addition to D3 and normal C, no symptoms at all. Visited a sick church member, had to order her to take her vitamins as she always whines about her health and is a drama queen. Forget about dietary advice and pleas to quit smoking. But I should have gotten something being in her house, but …

  13. Sayuri Sion says:

    I agree with you. It really works get red of cold by fasting for few days.

  14. barry says:

    I’ve been doing D3&K2 daily for several yrs, & it has def PREVENTED several colds that got started, but petered-out b4 getting serious; id been getting serious colds EVERY yr all my life!

  15. Amanda says:

    I completely agree, fasting is the way to go in addition to lots of rest.

    However, plain water alone doesn’t really do it for me, I fast until dinner drinking 2 quarts of nettle infusions, and a quart of a root, bark, and herb tea; my favorite this year is a blend of echinacea, yarrow, dandelion, chamomile, and oat straw. It gives some flavor, so you don’t feel too starved and deprived 😉 Then I eat a hearty vegetable rich dinner, making sure to stay far away from sugar and wheat. Haven’t been sick in 6 years thankfully, I remember thinking getting sick 4 times a year was normal….

  16. Jeff says:

    Unfortunately, I’m getting the “opportunity” to test this out right now – a bad cold after hiking on New Year’s Day. Been just having fluids (mostly herbal tea and lemon) and combined with A LOT of sleep, the chills have gone away. Looking forward to when I don’t feel the extreme fatigue. Just wondering if drinking green tea is appropriate – or should I avoid caffeine all together? Thanks

  17. IH says:

    Very interesting Fred. What type of water should one drink? I know that some of the fasting institutes out there do so with distilled water.

  18. RD says:

    Makes sense to me! I certainly could do the water fast but the problem I have is that I can’t lay down when my head is congested. I have tried many treatments and am a firm believer in natural treatments. It seems that when it comes right down to it the cold just has to run it’s course.

    It’s really a shame there isn’t a good way to cure a cold. Typically it’s caused by the rhinovirus in the nose and keeping the virus from replicating is supposed to be the key. With all the research available you would think someone would have figured it out. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist I do have to say that all the medicines available for treating the symptoms makes a lot more money than a cure. Just saying!

    Comments are closed for this post.