PRODUCT: Echinacea, an herb (a member of the daisy family), reputed to boost immunity.
WHO USES IT/WHEN: Me! I pop the capsules at the first sign of a cold because it's the most well-studied of the alternative remedies.
THE EVIDENCE: Studies more than a year ago found it didn't work, but a new review paper says it might.
PRODUCT: Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy made of diluted duck heart and liver.
WHO USES IT/WHEN: Lucy Kaylin, executive editor, lets the stuff dissolve in her mouth at the first sign of a scratchy throat.
THE EVIDENCE: No evidence it can prevent a cold, but it may be able to shorten the flu.
PRODUCT: Emergen-C, a powder containing 1000 milligrams of vitamin C and other nutrients.
WHO USES IT/WHEN: Kelly Marages, associate editor, makes a refreshing spritzer by mixing the raspberry flavor with lime Perrier.
THE EVIDENCE: C might help prevent colds if you've been doing extreme exercise or have been in freezing weather all day. May take a few days off a cold.
PRODUCT: Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, containing zinc
WHO USES IT/WHEN: Brett Glass, fashion credits editor, prefers this easy-to-use nose spray to zinc lozenges (which can have a weird, metallic aftertaste).
THE EVIDENCE: Scientists haven't found it staves off colds, but some studies have shown zinc may shorten the duration of the cold you get.