Except for the few blessed among us, most all of us will find ourselves susceptible to some form of cold-like illness this winter. Ranging from a case of the sniffles to being bedridden and incapacitated for days, cold-weather viruses can be a slight annoyance or put your entire life on hold. That’s where we come in. Now keep in mind that this article is not about ways to prevent sickness, these tips are for when you’ve already got it and you aren’t sure how likely it is that you’ll ever recover. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any magical overnight cures as of yet, but these recommendations are pretty basic and can help in easing your pain and maybe even shortening the time you will spend waiting to get better.
Scoop a few spoonfuls of herbs into a heat-proof bowl and then fill the bowl with boiling water. Sit or lean over the water and drape a towel it over the bowl and your head to trap in the steam. Breathing in the steam and herbs will do wonders to clear your head, not to mention your sinuses.
Incredible properties in common herbs can be useful in fighting viruses and bacteria. Marjoram, oregano, and rosemary work especially well for this method, while sage can be beneficial in cases of a sore throat. Avoid using spices that will cause irritation, such as cinnamon or ginger.
A hot bath using the same herbs is also a viable option. A tepid bath using mint and catnip can help with fevers, and fennel and dill can be especially gentle; perfect for children.
Oftentimes we unconsciously help to make our illnesses worse- who wants to work to stay hydrated when you can barely breathe? Sadly though, lack of fluids thickens mucus and can even worsen fevers. Keeping juice in the house, or, better yet, juicing your own fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do in that the vitamins contained in the juice are essential to the healing process. Now, usually dairy should be avoided in these circumstances, with one exception. A small amount of Greek yogurt, on its own or mixed into a smoothie, can be helpful with the protein it provides and its anti-inflammatory qualities.
Regardless of what kind of sick soup you like to make, it’s all about the broth. Like juice, soup is easy for your body to digest and therefore saves the energy your body needs to fight off the disease. Make sure to use generous amounts of any of the herbs previously named and even add others such as black pepper, ginger, turmeric, or cayenne. Generally people prefer milder soups, but you’ll find that the spicier recipes are even more beneficial. The hotter herbs, such as cayenne, increase circulation, remedy aches and pains, and even have some numbing properties.Other ingredients you will want to make use of include mushrooms (specifically shiitakes), fresh, colorful vegetables, onions, and garlic. All of these are super-foods that will supply your body with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and give your immune system and overall boost.
Homemade Cough Syrup
As most everyone knows, when it comes to home remedies, honey is (almost) always the answer. Mix one teaspoon of dried herbs, or one tablespoon of fresh herbs, for every cup of hot honey. Again, any of the spices we’ve already discussed can be used here, but also consider thyme, lemon, fresh garlic, or even sage with a bit of cayenne. The last two will provide extra relief for a sore throat, while the others will pack a strong antiviral punch. Cover your concoction and leave it to steep for twenty minutes before straining out the herbs. Up to one tablespoon every four hours should keep you covered, but you can administer it at your own discretion. Any of the gentler herbs would work well for children, but I’ve found chamomile to be the best, as it tastes good as well as remedies coughing and sore throat.
Ultimately, when it comes to colds, there is no guaranteed cure. However, all the remedies listed above will push you down the road to healing and hopefully help you out a little on your way there.