If you’re like most people, you don’t really think about getting sick until you are sick.
The moment you start feeling like a train hit you, you’re replaying the last cold medicine commercial you watched and forgetting grandma’s sage healing wisdom. Way before there was Tylenol Cold(TM) or NyQuil(TM), your grandparents had to use natural remedies.
It turns out those are still the best – for fighting a nasty cold or flu you’ve been slapped with as well as improving your immune system to keep future bouts of sickness at bay. The over-the-counter stuff just hides your symptoms, allowing you to keep going, but it’s not very effective at getting rid of your cold or flu.
What would Nana do?
Here’s how to fight a cold with 5 simple and natural remedies, just as effective as over-the-counter medicines, that help fight that cold and boost your immunity simultaneously:
1. Hot Liquids – Hot herbal and fruit teas are packed with good stuff. According to new research studies by Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre an effortless hot fruit drink reduced common cold and flu symptoms.
A simple mixture of apple and blackcurrant cordial can offer immediate relief of coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, and general aches and pains. Adding cinnamon or raw honey to any of the remedies below will boost the effects since both have antibacterial and anti-viral properties used for centuries. Who needs OTC drugs?
- Apple and Blackcurrant Cordial Tea – In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water, 4 whole allspice, 2 tablespoons blackcurrant leaves, and 1 cup of apple juice or cider to a boil. Allow to steep for 10 minutes then strain and sweeten with honey to taste. Nettle Tea – Add 1 tablespoon of dried nettle leaves to bottom of mug. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over leaves, cover, and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey to taste.
- Honey, Lemon, and Ginger Tea – Fill a kettle or small pot with water. Add 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Stir in three tablespoons of honey. Strain and serve. Elderberry Tea – Add 3 teaspoons of dried elderberry flowers to 1 cup boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten with a bit of honey.
- Slippery Elm Tea – Add 1 cup of boiling water to 1 tablespoon slippery elm bark (powder) as well as a dash of cinnamon. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten to taste with honey or molasses.
2. Elderberry Syrup and Echinacea Tincture – A spoonful of syrup with a dropper of tincture every hour at the first signs of a cold will slam the initial siege of a cold out of your body quickly and painlessly. Add rest and plenty of fluids and that cold isn’t going to ruin 3-5 days of your life! Elderberry syrup is easy to make at home.You need 1 cup of fresh or dried elderberries, 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of honey. Add berries and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for half an hour. Smash up the berries and strain. Add the honey then bottle and store in the refrigerator. It should last several months.
3. Garlic and Spices – Just like vampires, colds and flues can’t stand the natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects of garlic. Have you ever wondered why homemade chicken noodle soup is considered the cure-all for a cold? In my house, chicken noodle soup is packed with antioxidant-rich red and green veggies, fresh crushed garlic, lots of chopped onions, and as much heat from chili peppers as I can stand. Take all that and add in the heated broth and steam? Yeah, all the cold care you need in one bowl.
4. Ginseng- Used regularly in Asian culture and cuisine, ginseng has always been shown to boost immunity and increase stamina. Now researchers are finding that it helps you kick a cold faster and tone down the awful symptoms during your sickness as well! Ginseng tea consumed regularly before you show signs of cold and flu can stop illness before it starts.
5. And lastly, make sure to hydrate and rest – no matter which remedy works best for you, you’re not going to get better if you push yourself (I call it “pretending I’m not really sick”). Your body won’t heal without rest and plenty of fluids. Green teas, hot herbal teas, and fruit/vegetable juices are excellent…but don’t discount the powerful healing ability of sleep and water!