Feeling a little under the weather? At this time of year, you’re not the only one. It’s amazing how something as innocent and common as a cold can make you feel like you’ve been run over by a freight train. Symptoms like chest or sinus congestion and a sore throat can really put a damper on your week. And running to the pharmacy is the last thing you feel like doing, right? Well, the good news is that you probably already have everything you need to cure your cold, right in your kitchen cupboards. And the best part is that most of these cures have been around for generations, proving our mothers really do know best!
As cliché as it sounds, chicken soup really is a powerful weapon against the common cold. It has actually been proven to have medical benefits. Apparently, the soup helps to slow down the movement of white blood cells in the body, allowing them to stay longer in the area needing healing, such as the upper respiratory area when you have a cold.
Also, hot liquids, in general, help nasal mucus to move, so it can be cleared and studies showed that hot chicken soup did a better job of this than hot water did.
Adding fresh vegetables to your soup also adds vitamins. Find a recipe at www.allrecipes.com.
Garlic is known for its bacteria and virus-fighting powers. Making a bowl of soup using as many cloves as you can brave will not only help you fight your cold, but it will help protect the rest of your family against catching it too. As an added bonus, it will also keep the vampires at bay while you’re nursing yourself back to health.
Find a huge collection of garlic soup recipes here.
Honey and Lemon Tea
Make a cup of your favorite tea and add honey and lemon for a double whammy of effective relief from your cold symptoms. Honey naturally has many antibacterial qualities and has been shown to be an effective cough suppressant, while the acid in the lemon will help fight off bacteria and viruses.
Salt Water Nasal Rinse
For severe nasal congestion, continually blowing your nose can be very irritating. A better way to handle it is to irrigate your nasal passages using either a bulb syringe or a neti pot. Combine 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Add 1 teaspoon of this mixture to 8 ounces of lukewarm distilled or previously boiled water and use it to irrigate one nostril at a time. Be careful to use only sterile water and not water out of the tap, as you don’t want to introduce additional bacteria into your already compromised nasal area.
Salt Water Gargle
Another very simple solution to congestion is the time-honored method of breathing steam. Simply fill a bowl with boiled water and lean over the bowl while covering your head with a towel to help trap the steam. Breathe in as deeply as you can and let the steam unblock your sinuses.
Adding eucalyptus oil can create a more effective decongestant, but keep your eyes closed if you have anything other than water in your bowl, to avoid irritation.
Speaking of old-school solutions, here’s one from our grandparents’ day. Make a mustard plaster by combining 4 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of dried mustard and lukewarm water. Smearing the paste on your chest creates an odorous decongestant and the heat increases blood circulation, to promote respiratory healing. Leave the plaster on for no more than 20 minutes and remove immediately if the skin turns red.
Wear Wet Socks To Bed
Okay, I’ll admit this one looks strange and seems contrary, but by all accounts, it’s an effective cure for congestion and cold symptoms. In this method, you wet the foot part of a pair of cotton socks with cold water. Heat your feet up in a warm bath, put on the wet cotton socks and then cover the cotton socks with a pair of wool socks before getting into bed. Keep your feet covered all night for an effective cure. When you wake up in the morning, your socks will be warm and dry and your cold symptoms will be much improved.
These remedies are great for curing a cold you’ve already caught, but ideally, if you can avoid a cold in the first place, you’ll be much better off. An effective natural preventative measure against colds is zinc because of its immune system boosting powers. So, increasing your daily intake of zinc during the winter months is a great first step to protecting yourself against those nasty cold symptoms. Foods that are high in zinc include seafood, beef and lamb, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, cocoa, pork and chicken, beans, and mushrooms.
So, instead of heading to the pharmacy this winter, just start snacking on oysters and listen to your grandmother, and you should pull through this cold season like a pro!
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