Have I mentioned I don’t like cold weather? (and that I can be whiney?)
Other than the obvious issues I have with cold hands, feet, and ears, I also
don’t like being closed in with everyone and their germs, breathing the same
recycled air. YUCK. Fortunately I have a strong immune system and rarely get
sick, but when I do I’d rather use herbal and natural remedies than
over-the-counter medicines. All the side effects and recent research make me
think maybe I’m better off with a few sniffles and aches than taking some of
- Gargle with a sage and salt “tea” to ease discomfort and promote healing. Put 2 tsp. dried sage and half a teaspoon of salt in a coffee cup. Pour boiling water over it, and let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the sage (cheesecloth works well for this). Gargle with this “tea,” and repeat several times a day.
- Mix ½ cup honey with ½ cup vinegar. Take 1 teaspoon every 4-6 hours.
- If your sore throat is accompanied by a cough, suck peppermint candies or eat candied ginger. Both can help reduce inflammation.
For a stuffy nose and/or cough, try the following recipe for Ginger Tea:
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
1 ½ cups of water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
Heat ginger in water until almost boiling, but not quite. Reduce heat to low and cover for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain ginger from water (cheesecloth works well) and add lemon juice and honey. Drink tea.
Often the steam from a hot shower will help clear congested nasal passages. If you don’t feel well enough to stand in a hot shower, take a hot bath and add 2 cups of Epsom salts and 8 to 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. This will help relax muscles and open up nasal passages. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes (or longer if you’re like me….and just keep adding more hot water!).
Speaking of clearing nasal passages, my little Mammaw (that’s what some of us call our grandmothers here in the South, in case you’re wondering) always treated a stuffy nose and cough with Mentholatum or Vick’s VapoRub smeared all over the chest at night. Mammaw said it “opened things up” and she’d pull your covers up to your neck to help it work. It always seemed to make me feel better when she or my mom used it on us as kids. I’ve since used it with my own boys, and it really does seem to help with night-time coughing. I’ve also heard that smearing it on the bottoms of your feet, then covering with heavy socks, works just as well. Never tried that, but I’ll vouch for application on the chest. And if you still feel a little greasy in the morning, a little dusting of baby powder or plain cornstarch will fix you right up (that’s a Mammaw tip too!).
For a natural cough syrup, try a syrup made with thyme. Place 2 tablespoons of dried thyme in a coffee cup, and pour 1 cup of boiling water in. Let this steep for 15 minutes. Strain, and add ½ cup of honey. You can take a teaspoon to soothe your cough as often as necessary.
Above all else, the best way to get over a cold are what the doctor always says—drink lots of clear fluids and get plenty of rest. Continuing to push yourself to work and do everything at your normal pace willonly make your recovery time longer. Lots of water, herbal tea, and fruit juice (in moderation) will help keep you hydrated and flush your system.
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