It’s that time of year again. Nope, not the New Year’s resolution time of year, the cold and flu is in peak season. I have fallen victim to its wrath. With the hussle, bussle and excitement of Christmas and New Year’s, It is easy to let your body get run down and wore out, it’s an easy target for a flu. I have been coughing and glassy eyed, feeling like my head is wooden and hollow with marbles rolling around in it and Santa is sitting on my chest during this glorious holiday season.
Desperate, I have been combing the internet and books looking for the “magic potion” to put me back in the game. I prefer natural home remedies for most ailments and problems because:
1. I am painfully old fashioned (any closer, I would be Laura Ingalls herself)
2. I find they are easy to gather the ingredients because I usually already have them,
4. It’s easier on the already weakened body.
5.I find the do equally or better of a job to the over-the-counter drops, lozenges and syrups that haven’t the guts to knock this cold out of the park.
Green tea is known to have many properties that can help keep you in tip-top health – and therefore better prepared to ward off cold and flu bugs. 3-4 cups are recommended daily, I don’t know if I-nor my bladder- can handle that many, I’ll ain for 1 cup.
Ginger’s health benefits have long been touted. Steep several slices of fresh ginger root in hot water and sip for an extra health boost or to soothe a cough or scratchy throat.
Honey is known to bolster the immune system. A daily dose of honey can help you to feel energetic and stay healthy. It also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties; if you do develop a sore or scratchy throat, honey will soothe and help heal. Use it in your tea, coffee, plain hot water or by itself. You can even gargle with honey (and lemon) in salt water when the mixture is at room temperature. (Do not give honey to children under 1 year of age.)
Lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which is known to support the body’s natural defenses. Lemon (and lime) juice is reported to decrease the strength of the cold and flu virus in the body and reduce phlegm. Add lemon juice to your tea or make hot or cold lemonade with honey to stay well, build resistance to cold and flu, and speed up healing if you do succumb.
Garlic may be known to ward off vampires, but it can also ward off colds and flu. Garlic contains the immune-boosting compound allicin, also know to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Chop or crush 1-2 gloves of fresh garlic and “steep” them in hot water; then, drink it like a tea. This may also help others keep their distance from you (unless they’re attracted to the smell of garlic), preventing further spread of the virus (wink, wink).
Peppermint tea is laced with nutrients that help the body fight off illness. It also can act as an expectorant, helping the body to cough up mucous.
Salt water in homemade saline nasal sprays, nasal washes, and gargles has long been used effectively to soothe sore throats, and keep respiratory passages moist, decongested and free of invading pathogens. If you do get a sore throat, gargle with half a teaspoon of salt mixed with 1 cup of warm water, four times per day. For nasal washing, use a neti pot or bulb syringe with a quarter teaspoon salt in 1 cup of warm water. Tip head to one side over sink or basin and gently introduce solution to higher nostril. Allow solution to drain from the other nostril. Repeat procedure by then tipping head to opposite side.
Steam can help to relieve stuffiness and congestion. Boil a pot of water on the stove or kettle pour into a large bowl about half way. With your head over the bowl cover with a towel and then slowly breathe in the steam. Be careful as steam can cause burns. If the steam makes your nasal passages burn, pull your head back slightly and breathe in more slowly. Peppermint oil drops are a lovely addition to clear the airways!
Blow Your Nose Often — and the Right Way. It’s important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can cause an earache. The best way to blow your nose: Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other. Wash your hands after blowing your nose.
Stay Rested. Resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle. This battle taxes the body. So give it a little help by lying down under a blanket.
Drink Hot Liquids Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, help prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.
Sleep With an Extra Pillow Under Your Head This will help with the drainage of nasal passages.
I was pretty tickled with the practical ideas I found to beat my cold to a pulp. I’m now going to take a few minutes to lay on the couch –with my extra pillow- to get a little bit of a rest, of course after I steam, gargle and make a cup of tea. Hope everyone survives the cold and flu season in one piece!
Honey Lemon Ginger Tea
1. Fill up your teakettle and get it boiling.
2. Meanwhile, grate a one-inch piece of fresh ginger root.
3. Get a thermos out. I have a quart thermos I use.
4. Put the ginger in the thermos.
5. Put a dash of lemon juice in the thermos. A dash is about 4 tablespoons. I squeezed half a lemon.
6. Add a dash of honey as well. A dash in this case is about three tablespoons. Hey, a dash means something different to all of us. Basically, add the honey to taste.
7. When your water is boiled, pour it in the thermos.
8. Cover it up and let it sit for 20 minutes.
9. Strain into a tea cup and enjoy!
If you lack a thermos, you can also just simmer the water in an open pan with the ginger for 15 -20 minutes as well. Add the lemon and honey to the pot AFTER you are finished simmering ginger. Just strain it into your cup. When you want more, just heat it back up. I just like the thermos because when I am sick it’s hard enough just to get up let alone heat something up.