An expert has suggested that people who take over-the-counter homeopathic and "natural" cold remedies need to carefully research such treatment options and properly follow dosage instructions.
The advise by Dr. Adam Perlman, at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), comes after the announcement by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which asked consumers not to use certain Zicam Cold Remedies.
According to the FDA, the intranasal zinc product was linked to loss of sense of smell.
"People cannot assume that homeopathic or natural products are safe," said Perlman.
He added: "There's a good chance such products may be helpful on some level, but it's important to do the research to determine what's effective and identify what the safety issues, if any, are."
"Overusage tends to occur with homeopathic or natural products because, again, people assume they are safe, but excess doses may be harmful," he said.
He further said that while researchers are investigating the effectiveness of herbs, such as Echinacea, and homeopathic or natural remedies, including those providing a boost of zinc or vitamin C, on cold symptoms, but some may be viable alternatives to medication.
"A holistic approach to dealing with a cold also includes getting plenty of rest and a healthy diet," he said.