We keep on about the benefits of keeping keeping fit and boosting your immunity, but unfortunately despite our greatest efforts we will all get a cold at some point this winter. But worry not, it needn’t be the end of the world and you don’t have to spend a fortune at the chemist.
Just have a good root around your kitchen cupboards and you are bound to find the makings of some of the best natural cold remedies around. Not only are they natural and save you money, but some of them taste delicious as well.
All these remedies taste very different, but all seem to be based on the same major constituency – hot water. This is because the steam is one of the best thing you can do for helping to clear a cold. One of the best remedies for a cold is old fashioned inhalation. Fill a large bowl with warm water and inhale the steam. You could try adding various oils to aid the clearing process, but doctors say that plain old water works just as well.
Hot honey and lemon drink
Experts at the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University’s have shown that hot honey and lemon helps to reduce the effects of a cold. Simple to prepare, but very effective, boil chopped lemons & honey in water, add a couple of paracetemol. Strain & drink warm.
Of course you could add whisky to your honey and lemon and make a hot toddy, but whether this apparently works is debatable. Some say that it is just the alcohol making you forget your cold, but other say that thins the blood increasing circulation and by increasing circulation you are helping the body’s organs to flush themselves of the bacteria/virus faster.
However, whatever the reason, it isn’t advisable to get roaring drunk because you will only end up with a stinking hangover that is worse than the original cold.
Chicken soup is an old remedy and recipes are often passed down from mother to child, but it seems that there are some real benefits to a good bowl of chicken soup.
Again, some say that it is only the steam that is of real benefit. Also the added spices are a well known natural remedies and if you add garlic and pepper, which supposedly can be used to treat respiratory conditions they will help with thinning the mucus.
However there does seem to be scientific support for the beneficial effects of chicken soup. Stephen Rennard, M.D., chief of pulmonary medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha suggests that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory. He says that chicken soup can help control the production of the white blood cells (neutrophils). This helps because coughs and congestion, are often caused by inflammation produced when neutrophils migrate to the bronchial tubes and accumulate there.”
Also Irwin Ziment, M.D., pulmonary specialist and professor at the UCLA School for Medicine, has suggested that there is an amino acid released from chicken during cooking chemically which is similar to the drug acetylcysteine, which prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
Chilli peppers used to be used by the ancient Aztecs as a brilliant all round medicinal plant. It was used to strengthen the immune system, improve circulation and equalise blood pressure. Chillies contain a heat inducing compound called capsaicin that triggers endorphins that release of the body’s natural painkillers, clears a stuffy nose, and can reduce blood pressure. In fact the only downside is the taste.
The best way to take chilli pepper as a cold remedy is in warm water with apple juice, honey and ginger, but do only take small sips, as it can be very hot!
Failing this, if you can’t face the taste of this, you could just order yourself a good hot takeaway curry!
Ginger is another ancient remedy and is used In both ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. Apparently ginger contains a dozen antiviral compounds and scientists have isolated several chemicals (sesquiterpenes) in ginger that may help fight cold viruses. Also it can help relieve a fever, chest and pains, suppress a cough and can help us to get a good night’s sleep.
Of all the cold remedies so far this is my particular favourite simply mix fresh ginger with dark chocolate, fresh ginger and a dash of alcohol. The alcohol seems to be a matter of personal choice, I have heard of this recipe using either Drambuie, Cointreau or rum. They all seem to work, so take your pick!
This remedy sounds like a delicious way of ridding yourself of a cold. Take some fresh elderberry juice steeped with ginger and cinnamon. Stir in raw honey and add 1/4 volume of brandy.
If you can’t find any elderberries you could always use blackcurrants of blue berries. As they all rich in vitamin C.
…and if you are feeling really brave…or desperate you could always try some of the more unusual remedies. An old wives tale was to have half an onion in the sick room as it was believed that it would absorb the germs. Ok, this might sound daft, but apparently there is evidence that this works!
Alternatively you could always make some good old-fashioned French Onion soup.