Right now as I write this, I’m not a pretty sight lol. My nose and eyes are running like crazy, my sinuses are congested and I have a chesty cough.Yep! It’s that time of year again. Pull out your woolly jumpers, always carry around an extra pack of tissues and avoid physical contact with people as much as possible (the best source of pathogens).
Nah. The last one was a joke…I guess.
You’d think that by this age I’d know what to do under the circumstances. But nope I found myself messaging my mum to ask for the best course of action. Because let’s be real, no matter how old you are, or how many qualifications you have it can’t beat your mother’s advice. Some of the home remedies I’ve grown up with have been passed down throughout the years and for good reason.
Unfortunately there is no go-to miracle cure if you have a cold or the flu. All one can do is drink lots of fluids, rest and find ways to manage the symptoms. Thankfully they are normally self-limiting and most people feel better within a few days or so. But there is no doubt that there are things in an average person’s cupboard that can make you feel better and stronger quicker.
“All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it.” -Philippus Theophrastrus (1493-1541)
Here are some home remedies and I hope you find them helpful and I’ve tried to even go a bit science geek (hopefully not too much) on you and explain why they work:
Vinegar has very good antimicrobial properties by making the throat an inhospitable environment for microorganisms. There are various ways of using vinegar depending on the ailment. For sore throats, warm some slightly with or without a teaspoon of salt and gargle for a few minutes. This works because when you gargle vinegar it lowers the pH within the throat and makes it harder for these microorganisms to survive. For upset stomachs and/or nausea, take a tablespoon and for chest congestion boil, and inhale the vapours once daily until the symptoms subside.
Warm salt water rinses are also good for helping clear sore throats and even gum abscesses. The benefits of doing this certainly outweighs how disgusting it tastes so don’t be put off. It works by creating a dehydrated environment by encouraging osmosis (movement of water) which draws fluid from the areas that may be swollen due to the infection. And just like we as humans, who need to keep hydrated, the same is true for bad oral bacteria so they are less likely to survive because of it. All you have to do is add a couple tablespoons of salt to a small cup of warm water and rinse at least twice daily for 2-3 minutes.
Another easy thing to do at home is to take advantage of the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and painkiller properties of ginger. It makes it very effective for chesty coughs and sore throats. Boil a small saucepan of water on the hob with a few pieces of fresh ginger and leave to simmer at a low heat for about 5 minutes and drink twice daily. It is also a very good tea for nausea and upset stomach. One of my friends have also suggested that you eat a small piece of raw ginger which would be even more potent. However I must prewarn you because it is not for the fainthearted, but definitely helps.
I’m sure you’ve heard of using honey and lemon? It’s such a well known cold remedy and rightly so. The honey soothes our throat when it’s irritated, reduces inflammation and is even an antiseptic. Lemons are great too! Not only do they contain citric acid which softens mucus, they also can help lubricate the inflamed parts of the oral cavity when you have a throat infection. Not to mention, being a great source of Vitamin C. All you do is squeeze a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into a couple tablespoons of honey and take a little bit every so often throughout the day. Drinking lemon tea also helps and luckily you can easily find it in most if not all supermarkets if you’re not up to making some from scratch.
If you have some fresh garlic cloves roast them in the saucepan with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and take a spoonful every morning and before you go to bed. It helps when they are slightly crushed because it releases a substance called allicin. This is a very powerful antimicrobial agent. Garlic also has other uses including its ability to act as an expectorant, decongestant and can be a source of Vitamin C to aid our immunity.
Furthermore, herbal teas are very good for us when we are sick. One of my favourites are thyme tea and just involves adding a few sprigs of thyme to boiling water and allowing it to steep for a few minutes. It is an amazing herb not only good in cooking (refer to my https://amusebouchecostanza.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/7-herbs-i-always-have-in-my-store-cupboard/) but also contains volatile antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds such as thymol. My grandma uses it when you have a very chesty cough by adding it to olive oil and garlic. The mixture is left to “marinate” for a few minutes and then you take a teaspoon twice a day. I find this especially helpful at clearing my chest.
I really could go on and on but I’d rather not bore you with endless pages of remedies lol. All I can say is that we should never underestimate the power of natural products and often forget to put them to good use. These products are found in most homes making them accessible to all and have been used by generations from ages passed. They have been known to work so like the saying goes “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”!!!
Bye for now x
p.s Get well soon to all my readers with coughs and colds