Living in the modern-world with busy lifestyles, our first instinct is to run to the pharmacy or to the doctor to get some prescription medicine to treat our common colds and coughs. However, these pills and syrups can leave us feeling drowsy, tired and nauseous. What you might not realise is that the best cures to treat common colds and coughs are often found in our own kitchens. So, next time you suffer from the sniffles, run to your kitchen and try out some of these natural, home remedies; you might be surprised at their miraculous healing powers!
The World Health Organization has cited honey as a potential remedy for colds because it coats the throat and relieves irritation (which is what usually triggers a cough). It also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which help fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Do not feed honey to infants younger than one year of age.
Experts on herbal medicine, suggest a formula that is worth taking two or three times a day for a cough. Add 2 teaspoons of organic lemon rind, 1 teaspoon of sage, and ½ teaspoon of thyme to boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Then add the juice of half a lemon and 1 tablespoon of honey. Remember to use organic lemon rind because the pesticides used on citrus fruits are extremely hard to wash off.
Ginger acts as a potent natural anti-inflammatory herbal agent. Most people use ginger tea as a way to soothe their painful throats, although fresh ginger from the produce section of your local supermarket is also good.
It’s rich in chemical compounds that help inhibit cough-causing viruses in the respiratory tract, says pediatrician Stuart Ditchek, MD. Garlic is a wonderful natural antibiotic that can assist in fighting off colds and common upper respiratory infections. “Extracts of aged garlic can be used as well,” he says. Try to eat two to four garlic cloves daily, Dr. Ditchek says. Or use garlic supplements, following the directions on the label. But avoid garlic supplements for 7 to 10 days prior to any surgery. Using these supplements can increase the risk of bleeding, especially when used for long periods of time, he says.
Sage is one of the very best sore throat and cough remedies. The leaves can be chewed and the juice swallowed to soothe a sore throat; swallowing the healing and anesthetic juice numbs the unpleasant soreness and helps speed healing. Sagelemon tea is an excellent drink for treating colds and flu, especially if you add some thyme for extra antibacterial action.
Eating chicken soup helps you stay hydrated, improves your immunity, provides antioxidants that your body needs to help fight the virus, helps clear mucus from your system, and reduces inflammation. In a study by researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, chicken soup reduced the movement of the neutrophils in blood, which they think lowers activity that causes inflammation and cold symptoms in the respiratory tract.
Inhale steam to ease your congestion and drippy nose. Hold your head over a pot of boiling water and breathe through your nose. Be careful. If the steam burns your nose, breathe in more slowly. You can buy a humidifier, but the steam will be the same as the water on the stove. Moisture from a hot shower with the door closed, saline nasal spray, or a room humidifier is just as helpful to ease congestion.
Place 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper in a teacup, fill with boiling water, cover with a saucer, and let steep for 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of Bee Honey, and drink the peppery tea. The black pepper stimulates circulation and doubles as a decongestant. The mildly antibiotic honey soothes the throat and relieves coughing.
Gargle with warm salt water. Gargling can moisten a sore or scratchy throat and bring temporary relief. Try a half teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water four times daily. To reduce the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle -- such as tea that contains tannin -- to tighten the membranes. Or use a thick, viscous gargle made with honey, popular in folk medicine. Steep one tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before gargling.
Apply hot packs around your congested sinuses. You can make your own hot pack at home. Take a damp washcloth and heat it for 30 seconds in a microwave. Test the temperature first to make sure it’s right for you.