I was inspired to compile this post whilst lying in bed all night, unable to sleep, with a suddenly swollen rough sore throat, sinuses bunged up through my head to my popping ears (although my nose has managed so far to keep small passages open to breathe a bit), gritty watering red eyes, a wheezing chest with a mucus cough and swollen glands in my neck (obviously fighting off the germs invading me). Otherwise known as a common cold.
The following list of natural, and mostly homemade remedies, is compiled from many years of suffering, over many generations!
Firstly, and very important, YOU DON'T NEED ANTIBIOTICS. They are only required if you get an infection that your body can't fight off naturally, such as sinusitis or bronchitis. They will not affect your common cold, which is a VIRUS. And there are many of them.
It's not just some old wives tale your Granny used to waffle on about. Nor some kind of witchy cleverness. Elderberries are in fact an easily accessible, locally growing Superfood!
Elderberry cordial or syrup is well known as a cold prevention remedy, as well as helping to knock it for six once you are are afflicted.
This recipe includes cloves, which are another amazing preventative and curative natural aid to combating colds and flu.
I use an old ginger tea recipe that I think my Great Aunt gave me, but I can't remember exactly. Needless to say I've used it forever - and it seriously works. Especially on the sore throats.
The website below has exactly the same recipe and process, and it is presented very clearly.
If you are REALLY sick and want it extra strong, just add more ginger !
3 Gargling with Raspberry Leaves and Salt
If you have a sore throat, this is the way to go. There are various old remedies you can use to gargle your sore throat away...
Gargling with salted water (use natural sea salt) moistens your throat and brings temporary relief to the symptoms. The salt will also help to kill any germs and nasty bacteria sticking to your throat.
Use half a teaspoon of salt, dissolved in 8ozs of warm water. Do this 4 times a day for the best results.
To reduce that really annoying tickle, try an 'astringent' gargle. Use tea that contains tannin, that's black tea; this will tighten the membranes. Or use a thick gargle made with honey or honey and apple cider vinegar mixed.
Alternatively, soak 1 tablespoon of raspberry leaves (or lemon juice but its not as potent) in 2 cups of hot water, soak for at leaves 15 minutes maybe more; stir in 1 teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before gargling.
4 Drink Loads of Water
This is vital to help keep your body hydrated, especially as you may have a slight temperature while your body's immune system battles with the cold germs.
It could also help keep the mucus in your nose and sinuses thinner, and therefore make it easier to remove it when you need to blow your nose.
5 Vitamin C
There has been a fair amount of research to back up this old wives tale, and as is usually the case, our grannies and the local 'healer' knew their stuff.
More natural ways you can add vitamin C to your body is via the food you eat. Everything from oranges, lemons and grapefruits, to peppers and chillies. Eat masses of fruit and a good variety of vegetables. If you can't eat much as you feel too ill, then make a smooth soup from a wide selection of the vegetables, or a pure juice drink by juicing a selection of fruit.
Nowadays the easiest way to take vitamin C is by dissolving a tablet in water and drinking the fizzing concoction that results. You need around 1000mg to 1500mg to help fight off the cold. Vitamin C does this by aiding your immune system. It can also help get rid of your cold faster.
6 Chicken Soup
I had no idea why this works, but I just knew it did ! So I did some research...
Apparently the fumes that come off the hot soup, contain cysteine - that's the stuff that you can or cannot smell, depending on how stuffed up your nose is - that help to release the mucus, at the same time thinning it, so aiding the process whereby your cold goes away faster.
It also helps the body to fight the virus, and contains many needed nutrients if well made.
Crush 2 cloves of fresh garlic and put into a small glass of water - drink it fast and you won't notice the taste if you are lucky !
If you are pregnant, don't use more than 1 garlic clove.
Garlic is a natural antifungal, antibiotic and is antibacterial. It is a very powerful plant.
Cinnamon, like garlic, is an antibiotic and is antiviral - and remember a cold is caused by various viruses.
Stir 2 tablespoons of cinnamon power into 2 teaspoonfuls of good quality honey and a little warm water. Take half of this straight away, and the rest in a few hours. You can always make another lot after that, if you still need it. This will help to reduce your cough, help keep your temperature down and help with any congestion.
9 Yarrow Tea
You can buy yarrow tea or tea bags from your local health food store - unless of course you are lucky enough to have the wild plant handy nearby.
The tea is very bitter, so sweeten it with honey or stevia, and maybe mix it with a berry tea such as blackberry, raspberry or rosehip.
10 Rest Yourself
This is not as obvious as it seems.
Rest is important when you have the cold virus, as in order to let the body's immune system do it's thing, you need to let it rest. This helps the healing process along quicker.
*The above article/blog post is in no way designed to take the place of medical advice. It is merely my own personal experience. If you are at all worried, or your symptoms are not going away after a week or so, you should consult a medical professional.