Zinc can provide an effective treatment for a common cold, according to experts. Could this be the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for?

Taking zinc syrup, tablets or lozenges within a day of the start of the cold symptoms speeds up recovery.

During a trial, people who took zinc syrup after seven days of a cold had found that their symptoms had cleared.

Taking zinc on a regular basis may also help ward off colds, say the authors of the Cochrane Systematic Review which conducted research on 1,360 people.

Zinc is thought to help prevent and lessen the severity of cold viruses by coating the virus and stopping them from entering the body through the nose. 

Adults catch between two to four colds a year, while children catch up to 10.

Cold viruses spread by coughs, sneezes and by touching contaminated surfaces like door handles.

Lead researcher Meenu Singh, of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, said: “This review strengthens the evidence for zinc as a treatment for the common cold.

“However, at the moment, it is still difficult to make a general recommendation, because we do not know very much about the optimum dose, formulation or length of treatment.”