If you get a cold this winter, help is just a few steps away, right in your kitchen. While I can’t promise that these remedies will heal you overnight, they will definitely make you feel better and may reduce the degree and length of time that you suffer.
Make a Steam Tent or Take a Bath
One of my favorite home treatments for a cold is an herbal steam. Simply take a couple of spoonfuls of dried herbs and toss them in a large heatproof bowl. Cover the herbs with boiling water. Sit in front of the bowl. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel. Inhale the head-clearing moisture and herbal medicine.
You can use this technique for children, but ensure that the water is quite a bit cooler. Make a game out of it. With very young children, you may need to go into the “tent,” too.
Ordinary cooking herbs contain powerful properties which inhibit viruses and bacteria. Oregano, rosemary and marjoram possess some of the most active antimicrobial actions. Sage is very soothing if you also suffer from a sore throat. For herbal steams, inexpensive bulk-size containers of herbs are just fine. Don’t use kitchen spices such as ginger or cinnamon for steams, as they are too stimulating and can be irritating. Add a bit of citrus peel to your steams, too.
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Use the same herbs for herbal baths. Children benefit from the use of catnip, dill, mint and fennel. They are soothing and gentle. The catnip and mint help relieve fevers if used in a tepid bath.
Enjoy Hot Brothy Soups
Mom was right when she fed you chicken soup when you were sick. Soups are terrific medicine for colds. While chicken soup is fine, any brothy soup is beneficial. Soups are easy to digest, so they conserve what energy you have for healing. If you suffer from chills, a cup of hot soup may be just what you need to warm from the inside. While most children and many adults prefer mild-tasting soups, I recommend spicy types for maximum benefit. They warm you up better.
Use plenty of the germ-fighting herbs mentioned above in your soups. Other herbs and spices which are particularly beneficial include cayenne, turmeric, ginger and black pepper. The hot-flavored herbs improve your circulation, including that of germ-fighting lymphatic fluid. They also help to relieve the aches and pains that may occur when you have a cold. Hot soups get everything flowing. Your nose may run more while you are eating your soup. That is healthy. It gets the offending virus or germs out of your tissues.
Include mushrooms, particularly shitakes, in your soup. They are powerful immune-boosting aids. Include plenty of colorful, fresh vegetables, which are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants which promote healing. Be sure to toss in lots of garlic and onions.
Make Some Cough Medicine
Very effective cough medicine can be made by heating up some honey. Pour the heated honey over some kitchen herbs in a heatproof container. Use at least one teaspoonful of dried herbs, or one tablespoonful of fresh herbs, for each cupful of honey. Place a lid over the container. After 20 minutes, strain out the herbs. Use up to one tablespoonful of syrup every four hours. Any of the aforementioned herbs work well. Try thyme, lemon and fresh garlic for a potent antiviral blend. It will soothe irritated throats and reduce coughs.
If your throat is particularly sore, use sage and a pinch of cayenne. While it might seem odd to add such a potent herb to a syrup which is formulated to ease a sore throat, cayenne possesses numbing properties once the heat wears off.
All of the children’s herbs mentioned above may be made into syrups for them. Make a delicious honey syrup with chamomile. It has antispasmodic actions which gently quiet children’s coughs. Plus, it tastes great. The amount to administer is based upon the size of your child. Do not administer honey to babies.
Juice Your Favorite Fruits and Vegetables
Dehydration makes mucus thicker, and may cause fevers to intensify. Stay hydrated with freshly made juices. Juices contain concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals which your body needs to heal. They are particularly useful if you have little appetite. Like soups, drinking juices conserves your body’s energies so that it can fight off the cold more efficiently.
Smoothies made with a little yogurt are fine in moderation. While many dairy products shouldn’t be consumed when you have a cold because they may increase thick mucus production, a little bit of Greek yogurt added to a smoothie provides protein. Yogurt sooths inflamed tissues of the throat and gastrointestinal tract as well.
There is no guaranteed cure for the common cold, but kitchen remedies are tools which promote healing, provide your body with the nutrients needed for healing, keep you hydrated, and help to relieve symptoms.
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