This year, try nipping any colds in the bud with a bit of pre-planning. But rather than stocking up your medicine cabinet, look to your pantry. You likely already have several powerful, health-enhancing remedies on hand. Honey, garlic, ginger, cayenne – all have proven healing powers to alleviate the discomforts of a common cold. And the best part of all, they are inexpensive, easy to use and really work.
Honey has long been known for it’s healing properties. Overflowing with immunity-boosting antioxidants, honey is also thought to have valuable antibacterial and antiviral qualities. Although the true healing powers of honey are not yet fully understood, a recent study done by pediatricians at the Penn State University medical school indicates that enjoying a spoonful honey before bed effectively reduces the severity and frequency of a nagging nighttime cough.
Before climbing into bed, sip a warm cup of water mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of honey. Or keep it simple and have the honey straight from the spoon.
A word of caution: children under 12 months old should not have honey.
Like honey, garlic has long been a popular AND effective home remedy for the common cold. The cold-fighting compound allicin not only gives garlic it’s distinctive taste but it also provides known health-enhancing antibacterial properties.
Garlic’s healing properties are at their most potent when eaten raw. But biting into an uncooked garlic clove is a bit more than most of us can handle. Next time you are feeling under the weather, trying adding a couple finely chopped garlic gloves to a warm bowl of broth. Also, make garlic part of your preventative care. Allow your chopped garlic to sit for 10-20 minutes before cooking and avoid high heat. By doing so, you retain more of the allicin’s healing powers.
Often used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat the common cold, ginger has long been a preferred home remedy for stuffy noses and sore throats. Its various plant compounds include powerful anti-inflammatories that help to reduce the discomfort of a sore throat. When steamed, the spicy aroma is thought to clear congestion and sooth irritated nasal passages.
Add 4 quarter-sized pieces of peeled ginger to 2 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Discard the ginger and enjoy the warm flavored water with a bit of honey and lemon.
Rich in capsaicin, a known natural expectorant, just a little bit of cayenne can go a long way towards easing unpleasant and uncomfortable congestion. When consumed, this healing compound immediately starts breaking up congestion in the throat and nasal passages while flushing out any potential infection-causing irritants.
Add a bit of cayenne to ginger tea or warmed lemon water. It is also a delicious addition to broth-based soups. But start small. Cayenne packs quite a punch. You can always add more if you are looking for a bit more heat.
Be well. Stay healthy. Eat life whole.