Cayce Health Database
OVERVIEW OF THE COMMON COLD
I. Physiological Considerations
The common cold - also known as coryza, rhinitis,
and upper respiratory infection - is an acute infection of the upper respiratory
tract by a filterable virus, which is then often followed by invasion
of the respiratory tract by pathogenic organisms. It is considered
to be highly contagious, although it is usually mild, of short duration,
and endemic. The onset is marked by a chilly sensation followed
by sneezing, watering of the eyes, nasal discharge, cough, and is often
accompanied by a mild fever. Much has been written about this most
common of all diseases.
In the Cayce readings much has also been given respecting
the common cold, including a complete reading, 902-1, which is included
in this File. It is an excellent commentary and worthy of study.
The balance of the body probably plays the most important
part in preventing the beginning of a cold. Although Cayce stated
that "it is a universal consciousness to the human body" (902-1) - yet
a cold develops in the presence of an acid condition within the body and
nearly always only when that condition pertains. An alkalizing effect
is destructive to the cold germs themselves. The question of acidity-alkalinity
is discussed in another Circulating File and seems to be a difficult concept
to understand fully. Yet Cayce answered the question whether there
were any special precautions to be taken against colds by the simple words,
"keep alkalized." (480-45)
Whenever the fine balance of the body in its acid-base
relationship is disturbed, then an individual is susceptible to a cold.
Any condition - draft, wet feet, change in temperature, or any similar
condition - that causes a change in circulation through affecting the
body balance, the body temperature or the body equilibrium, can cause
a cold if the body is susceptible. Susceptibility comes when there
has been extra depletion of the vital energies of the body, which in turn
produces a tendency for an excess acidity. Or, psychologically,
if an individual becomes aware of a detrimental change in body temperature
or environment, this uses energies and makes him thus more susceptible.
Loss of sleep; excess emotional turbulence, such as anger, resentment
or contention; excess activity leading to extreme tiredness - all these
create either a marked depletion of the body's energies or a pouring out
of poisons from the glandular system into the lymph circulation, preparing
the system so that it blocks the circulation to the eliminating channels,
creating again an acidity and a disturbance which predisposes to a cold.
The glands, of course, secrete according to impulse
from the emotional system. With anger these secretions poison the
body. "Thus you can take a bad cold from getting mad. You
can get a bad cold from blessing out someone else, even if it is your
An Acid-reacting diet - such as too much
of meat and starches - creates a susceptibility to colds within the body.
Likewise, incorrect eating does the same thing. Food should be thoroughly
masticated. "Bolting food, or swallowing it by the use of liquids
produces more colds than any one activity of a diet." (808-3) 1
Overheated rooms, for instance, lessen the oxygen
available which weakens the circulation of life-giving forces that destroy
any germ. Tiredness, overacidity, or overalkalinity all contribute
at times to the production of a cold.
Physiologically we can see that each body is indeed
a law unto itself, due to the varying activities of physiological processes
which are brought about by the many factors playing a part in each person's
body. "Consequently, as we find, this [condition, the cold] is one
of the most erratic conditions that may be considered as an ill to the
human body." (902-1)
II. Rationale of Therapy
Care of the body externally is certainly one of the
obvious factors in prevention. Precautions should be taken as to
clothing, drafts, damp feet; one should avoid becoming overtired or too
exhausted, and should avoid being in a room that is too hot or too cold.
Keeping in the open air often is an excellent preventative, if one does
not let the body get too cold.
A normal, alkaline-reacting diet should be kept at
all times when one is exposed to colds. This means much in the way
of fresh fruits, though citrus fruits and cereals should not be combined
at the same meal. Green raw vegetables should be a portion of the
diet. The meats should be such as lamb, fowl, fish, or the like.
Occasionally the broiled steak or liver would be well. A balance
is needed between the starches and proteins with adequate amounts of carbohydrates.
Above all, one should not allow himself the costly
luxury of anger, resentment, hate, or argument. He should cultivate
instead the quality of forgiveness, teach himself to be tolerant of his
brother's mistakes and his own shortcomings, thus developing an equanimity
of spirit, which is perhaps the most important prerequisite to a balanced
The body must function as a unit. Thus, care
of the body externally and precautions as to diet and emotion must also
be combined with specific attention to what might be called therapy as
a preventive. Vitamins are substances which stimulate the more normal
function of the glands of the body. All vital forces in the body
are activities of the glandular system, and these forces are stimulated
by specific glandular activity attributed to the functioning of certain
portions of the system. Thus vitamins would be helpful when one
is exposed to colds. "Vitamins are not as easily overcrowded in
the system as most other boosters for a general activity." (902-1) And
it would be well to keep the glandular system promoting the normal vital
forces within the body at times of stress.
Yet, there is a word of caution about too many vitamins
either as a preventive or where infection already exists. "For,
that which may be helpful may also be harmful - if misapplied - whether
by the conscious activity in a body or by an unconscious activity in the
assimilating forces of a system. If this were not true, there would
never be an unbalancing of any portion of the functioning system; neither
would there be the lack of coordination or cooperation with the various
organs in their attempt to work together." (902-1)
In addition to the proper use of vitamins as a preventive
in keeping the body balanced, the readings suggested that it was necessary
to keep the eliminations adequate, both through the intestines and through
the kidneys. Thus a cathartic or an enema in the early stages of
body unbalancing would be helpful.
For purifying the kidneys, one to three drops of sweet
spirits of nitre or 15 drops of onion juice is suggested. Another
rather unusual therapy for prevention is the use of a mixture of equal
parts of mutton tallow, spirits of camphor, and spirits of turpentine
massaged into the feet and ankles and legs of an individual. Why
massage the feet for an oncoming cold in the head? Perhaps the same
answer could be used here as would be appropriate for the question - why
is it when your feet get cold and wet that you may get a cold in the head?
The body is indeed a unit.
III. Suggested Therapeutic Regimen
Because of its erratic occurrence in the course of
human events and because it meets within each body a separate law of function
and activity, the common cold becomes a difficult and puzzling condition
to treat successfully. There are, however, certain general rules
that have evolved in the readings which might prove helpful.
1. Rest is a primary factor and apparently has no substitute. This
is due to the need within the body for a balanced function of the autonomic
nervous system. During rest and sleep, balance of the autonomic
is, to a great extent, restored. If the body is contracting a cold,
something has been stressed through exhaustion, and rest is usually necessary
to undo this condition.
2. Much water should be taken during these times. An alkalizer
should also be added to the system, such as a teaspoon of baking soda
in a glass of water or something similar. The water helps to cleanse
the body and eliminate drosses, and the soda tends to produce alkalinity
within the body.
3. A diet that is right (as proven over a period of time) for an
individual is probably the best at these times. However, it should
conform to the dietary suggestions already mentioned. For the acute
phase of a cold, a liquid diet generally is best. Little meat should
be taken until the recuperative stage, and certainly too much should not
be eaten. For  Cayce suggested citrus fruit for two days with
an occasional teaspoonful of spiritus frumenti in a large glass of lemonade.
4. Vitamins of all kinds are helpful when the body has been weakened
to any degree. These supply, through boosting the glands of the
body, the vital energies needed for health.
Many things in many ways are beneficial to those
who have contracted cold - dependent, to be sure, upon the general constitution
of the body, the amount of vitamins stored in the system, and so on.
Also the response depends greatly on whether or not there is the opportunity
given for rest and the not eating too much, so that the body may be aroused
to gain its equilibrium.
Hence it is necessary that there be given the booster
for those portions of the body needing the stimulation; and those elements
that produce more of vital energies are the more helpful influences.
5. Weaknesses which are present within the body should be recognized
and corrected. This may be due to old injuries, or it may be some
factor that has already been understood as being a weak, or susceptible,
portion of the body functioning. Constipation is a factor which
contributes to many illnesses. Assimilation may have been inadequate
for a long time. These various weaknesses must be tended to.
6. Various special therapies were suggested in many instances in
the readings. For , the reading suggested Sal Hepatica, three
doses, two hours apart; to be followed by a half teaspoon of Castoria
every hour until the digestive tract was cleared. This same individual
was told to treat his fever by bathing his feet in hot water every four
hours, and following this, to take a rubdown from the hips to the feet
and including the feet with the combination already mentioned (equal parts
of mutton tallow, spirits of turpentine, and spirits of camphor).
Such a combination was also suggested at times to
be used on the throat and chest, or over the sinuses. Fume baths
with rubdowns; steam cabinet treatments; massages; manipulative therapy;
nose sprays and gargles with Glyco-Thymoline and Listerine alternated;
a variety of cough syrups (see Appendix), such as taking the white of
an egg, juice of a lemon, teaspoonful of honey, and two drops of glycerine
carefully concocted - all of these are apparently helpful in various circumstances
to restore the body to a normal balance.
Perhaps the most interesting specific suggestion Cayce
gave followed an injunction to  to keep the body alkaline and eliminate
the cold. Then he said: "Instead of snuffing, blow! Instead
of resentments, love!" (288-44)
In concluding the commentary, perhaps we should remind
ourselves that the body really has a capacity to function normally and
we must urge it to do so without sacrificing other functions within the
Thus, we would administer those activities which
would bring a normal reaction through these portions, stimulating them
to an activity from the body itself, rather than the body becoming dependent
upon supplies that are robbing portions of the system to produce activity
in other portions, or the system receiving elements or chemical reactions
being supplied without arousing the activity of the system itself for
a more normal condition. (1968-3)
[Note: The preceding overview was written by William A. McGarey, M.D.
and is excerpted from the Physician's Reference Notebook,
Copyright © 1968 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis
or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional
for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health