Keep colds in control the natural way
With a good bit of over indulgence during the festive season, some of us suffer from colds post-Christmas. This year, we thought we’d be armed with a range of natural remedies to fight back. You can find a huge amount of information online, so here’s an extract taken from a great feature on teas and infusions to help you stay well, or get better.
“The herbal home remedies below are meant to be simple to make using ingredients that are readily available. The best thing about these recipes is that they can be customised to the individual and many of the herbs can be used to address a variety of illnesses.” – Herbal Academy of New England
Your home remedies for cold and flu shopping list
• Garlic. Anti-viral, antibiotic, and antiseptic.
• Onion. Great for coughs and raw onion keeps the respiratory tract open.
• Ginger. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. In addition to treating cold/flu, ginger is excellent for nausea and vomiting.
• Sage. Carminative, antiseptic, and astringent – the mouth and throat plant. Used for sore throats and cough. Also used for sinus congestion. Not to be used when pregnant or breast-feeding.
• Thyme. Antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, and astringent. Thyme is great for respiratory infections and coughs. It’s also good for the stomach and relieves gas.
• Cayenne powder. Stimulant, anti-microbial, analgesic, carminative, diaphoretic, and expectorant. Cayenne can help prevent a cold or flu as well as shorten its duration. It also brings heat to the body to help dispel coldness.
• Honey. Raw, local honey should ideally be purchased either at a farmers market or at Whole Foods or Trader Joes in the US. Honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic. Not suitable for children under 1 year old.
• Lemon. High in vitamin C, lemon may help decrease the strength of the cold and flu virus in the body and reduce phlegm. Many people use lemons to build resistance to cold and flu, and speed up healing.
How to make a simple herbal tea
Herbal teas are a great way to treat cold and flu symptoms: not only do you get the medicinal benefits, but they’re also soothing, warm, and relaxing. The following method works with almost any herb.
- Pour boiling water over the herb, steep at least 20 minutes, and strain. You can also use a cafetière, preparing as above and pressing after 20 minutes.
How to make a simple infusion
Infusions usually use more herbs than regular herbal teas and are steeped for longer. A cafetière is probably the best method of infusing and the easiest way to strain. Otherwise, any glass jar and a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth can be used.
- 50 grams of herbs or 2 generous handfuls of a dried herb
- 1 pint of water (add more water, if needed until the herb is completely covered)
- Steep for 4–10 hours or overnight
- Strain, warm and enjoy
Basic cold & flu tea
Use any tea as a base and then try adding some of the other ingredients below. It’s good to keep in mind that garlic can irritate the stomach, so if you’re drinking this often, you may need to adjust the amount of garlic or eliminate it.
- 3-4 slices fresh ginger with skin
- One clove chopped garlic
- Cayenne powder
- Tea of choice (black, green, oolong, herbal)
- Honey to taste
- Milk/milk alternative (optional)
- Bring 3-4 slices of fresh ginger and one clove of chopped garlic to a boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
- Use the ginger water to steep tea.
- Add cayenne powder – as hot as you can take, the idea is to induce sweating.
- Honey to taste, or add milk or dairy alternative (almond, soy or other).
- Drink 3-4 cups per day. Try drinking before bed and bundle-up to induce sweat.
If you have your own home remedies for cold and flu then please do share with us!