It’s that time of year again, with temperatures plummeting and the kids coming back from school with every bug going, it’s hard to keep healthy and energised at this time of year. If the inevitable does happen and you get struck down with a cold (or, heaven forbid, the dreaded manflu), but you don’t want to reach for the over the counter medicines that may make you groggy and a bit spaced out, never fear, help is at hand. Here are some natural homemade cold remedies that you can find in the house and don’t have any nasty after effects.
Sinus Clearing Vapour
A good dose of steam is always good to clear the sinuses; sometimes even just having a long hot shower does the trick. If you’re feeling particularly blocked up why not try putting some mint, clove and a little rosemary in a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel, lean in and inhale, it will have your chest and nose congestion cleared up in no time.
One of the simplest and well known remedies is at your fingertips, though many don’t realise the healing qualities of this little mixture. Simply add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle away until the contents are rinsed away down the sink. The salt acts in two beneficial ways, firstly its dehydrating effects extracts any residual fluid that may be lying in the throat that’s causing irritation whilst at the same time breaking up any phlegm, decreasing inflammation that may be making your throat sore.
Ok so this one technically can’t promise not to leave you feeling a bit light headed but it is guaranteed to make you feel cosy and soothed (and let’s face it, sometimes that’s all we really want when we have the cold, well that and your mummy). The alcohol in this mixture will help to obliterate the horrible achy feeling you get when you’re ill, honey will sooth any croaky throats and optional spices help to clear your sinuses, the combination of all give a lovely blissful feeling of euphoria. To make a traditional hot toddy get 50ml of whisky (I use a nice single malt like Jura Whisky but the choice is yours), ½ tsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. honey, 1 clove and 1 cardamom pod, I put them all in one glass and top it with boiling water, whilst gently pressing the cardamom pod to let all the lovely spices mix with the liquid. Give it a try the next time you’re feeling under the weather, adults only for this one though.
There’s nothing like a pot of your mum’s homemade soup to make you feel better. Comforting and nutritious, this all American cure-for-all does actually hold some weight in recent medical trials. According to research done by the Mayo Clinic, chicken soup can speed up the movement of mucus and therefore relieve congestion much faster. It also found that it may have some anti-inflammatory properties in it, as well as being a perfect way to keep the body hydrated through a period of illness. For the best results make your own (if you’re well enough) by simmering a chicken carcass in water with some carrots, onion and celery, leaving it as long as you can to get all the goodness out of the chicken bones (yum!)
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This concoction is probably most famously associated with weight loss tips, but it’s actually more beneficial to you as a homemade cold remedy. Used in a similar way to the salt water gargle I mentioned earlier, try adding ¼ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a glass of warm water and gargle til your heart’s content (and throat soothed). The magic ingredient in this is of course the cayenne pepper, which slightly increases your blood flow and lets your infection fighting blood cells get to their destination much quicker.