Probiotics reduced colds
The most frequent reason people stay home from work or school is an upper respiratory viral infection—the common cold. Earlier studies have shown probiotics to be effective in reducing the number and severity of colds. In this study, 898 healthy adults, aged 18 to 70, who had at least four colds in the last 12 months, took a placebo or a half-billion colony-forming units of lactobacillus plantarum and paracasei, each, per day.
The study lasted for 12 weeks during the October-to-February cold season. Overall, those taking probiotics had an average 1.24 colds compared to 1.36 colds for placebo over the 12-week period. Among those reporting at least one cold, colds were 30 percent less likely to recur in the probiotics group. Also, those taking probiotics relied on over-the-counter analgesics—cold medicine—18 percent less than did those in the placebo group.
Ginger decreased hay fever
People typically treat hay fever, or allergic rhinitis (AR), with over-the-counter medicines like Claritin®, but there are significant side effects. In this study, 72 people, aged 18 to 70, with a history of AR took 10 mg of loratidine—the active ingredient in Claritin—or 500 mg of ginger extract, per day.
After six weeks, both groups had similar decreases in symptoms, but those taking ginger had increased nasal cavity volume—increasing breathing capacity—while the loratidine group did not change. Ginger had side effects of mild burping, while loratidine resulted in drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, and constipation.