7 Natural Ways To Fight The Dreaded Winter Cold
The cold season is upon us again. Whether you live in a warmer climate that is seeing a lot of rain, or a colder climate that has already seen a snow storm or two, there's no doubt that the temperatures are dropping and the weather is changing. With weather changes comes cold and flu season as our bodies adjust to the weather outside our doors. It's important to know how to protect your body and your immune system during this time of year, especially if you are prone to colds in the first place. We've collected a variety of natural and holistic cold remedies that you can do with little effort. In fact, most of the ingredients can be found in your average household!
What Is a Cold?
A cold is a virus. As a virus, it is possible to have up to 200 variations. Because the common cold has so many variations in its structure, there's no possible way to make a vaccine for it. I know, I know: there is a flu vaccine. The flu is not quite the same virus as a cold; the flu doesn't have nearly as many variations and none nearly as diverse. This makes it possible to effectively make vaccines to prevent the flu.
Back to colds: when you catch a cold, the virus can attach itself to your nose and throat's mucous membranes, hijacking the cells that live there and forcing them to spread the virus further. When you get right down to it, it's quite scary. Your body catches wind of this and begins to fight it off. This is when the symptoms show up, such as coughing, sneezing, sore throats, fever, and fatigue.
Often times, people seek the comfort of prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. For those of us trying to avoid that method, there are natural alternatives available to kick that cold.
1. Hot Ginger Tea
With this, you'll be able to relieve congestion, inflammation, boost your immune system and help soothe a sore throat.
- 6-8 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
- A dash of cinnamon, turmeric, lemon juice, and honey
- 4 cups freshly boiled water.
Combine the ingredients and pour the water over. Stir and enjoy once it cools.
2. Eucalyptus Steam
Steaming out a stuffy nose is a common practice. You can do this by boiling a pot of water until it has a generous amount of steam (a hot shower works too.)
Put in 5-10 drops of eucalyptus and/or tea tree oil. Lean over the pot with a towel draped over the back of your head to capture steam. Gently breathe in. The steam should not be so hot as to burn you. If it is, turn down the heat and wait a few minutes.
3. Garlic Tea
Ignore the complaints about garlic breath. Combine these ingredients and pour over the desired amount of warm water. Drink up 2-3 times per day until your symptoms subside.
- 1 medium-sized clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp honey
- Warm water
4. Herbal Simple Syrup
This isn't the sugar and water combination you may think it is. If you have some dried herbs around, this will be easy to prepare.
- 1/4 cup Licorice root
- 1/4 cup Marshmallow root
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 6 Small cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 cup organic raw honey
- 4 cups cold water
- Jar with Lid
Combine the licorice root, marshmallow root, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger all in a saucepan with 3 cups of cold water. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced by half. Strain the herbs over another container and pour the liquid back into the pot.
Turn your heat to the lowest simmer and stir in the honey. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the heat. Bottle the syrup and date it. This syrup will last about a month in the refrigerator.
Take a maximum of 1-2 tbsp, 3 times daily to relieve cold symptoms.
5. Essential Oil Bath Salt
Everyone loves a great bath, especially when they're not feeling so hot. Here's how you can make an essential oil bath salt.
- 1 cup Epsom salt
- 3 drops eucalyptus oil
- 3 drops peppermint oil
- 3 drops lavender oil
- Glass jar or other sealing container
- Small mixing bowl
Pour the salt into your container. In another container, blend your essential oils. Slowly, add the essential oils to the salt and stir with a spoon.
Fill your bathtub halfway, add 2-3 tbsp of the salt mixture and then continue filling your bath. Seal the jar for later baths, and enjoy!
6. Heat It Up
This is fairly straight forward. A lot of people drink chicken or vegetable broth when they're sick to help get liquid and nutrients into their system. What if you could add a natural cough expectorant to that? Well, here's how to do it:
- Chicken or vegetable broth of choice
- 1 hot pepper
Add the desired amount of broth into a saucepan and heat it to a low simmer. With gloves on, finely chop the pepper and add it to the broth. Let it simmer and infuse for a few minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy!
7. Sage Gargle
Sage is an amazing anti-bacterial herb and acts as an astringent. Combined with the other ingredients, it's sure to kick your cold's butt in no time.
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 tbsp dried OR 8 tbsp fresh sage
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup boiling water
- Glass jar
Place the sage into a mug and cover with the water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Pour in the vinegar and salt. Strain the sage and gargle at least 3 times daily.