Think coughs and colds only arise in the winter? Now that it’s spring, they seem to be popping up again. With the arrival of spring, we’d like to think that we’re free and clear of all illnesses, when in fact this is when lots of people get sick.
Here are some simple, natural cold remedies to fight those pesky viruses and help get your immune system into tip top shape, just in time for you to enjoy the warmer weather:
Honey: I am a big fan of raw, unpasteurized honey for soothing sore throats and calming coughs. Research has shown honey to be a more effective treatment of night time coughs in children then over the counter cough suppressants. Just remember, honey can not to be given to children less than 1 year old and we always want to respect the bees. You can take a spoonful a few times per day, or add a teaspoon into a cup of warm tea. This is one of the easiest and tastiest natural remedies we can give our children (and grown-ups!) with very little complaints to be had.
Garlic: A nutrient-dense plant, garlic has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of illness and disease. Research shows that people who eat 1-2 cloves daily get fewer cold symptoms, and when they do get sick, it’s for less time. If eating it raw is too much for you, try adding it to salad dressings, into bean salads or quickly minced and add to greens. This is one food item that is worth getting your taste buds used too.
I highly recommend making a honey-garlic cough syrup next fall, letting the garlic infuse in honey for a month. It’s a perfect DIY home remedy that works wonders for coughs and is so easy to make.
Herbal Teas: There are so many beneficial herbal tea blends that can minimize those nasty cold and cough symptoms.
Sage is a wonderful herb (and safe for kids) that can dry up runny noses and wet coughs. Just be cautious in nursing mamas as it can dry milk up too.
Slippery elm is a demulcent and very soothing. It’s great for coating an irritated throat.
Thyme, a well known kitchen herb, is excellent for soothing deep-rooted coughs. Its antiseptic properties kill germs, but it also reduces coughing spasms and helps dispel mucus.
Chamomile is a household favorite of many. It calms a spasmodic cough and settles the nervous system promoting a restful sleep.
All these teas can be steeped in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. You can mix in a little honey for two remedies in one!
Ginger: This spicy herb is a strong antioxidant with antibiotic-like properties providing it with potent anti-microbial benefits. The heat induced by ginger allows for the movement of blood flow and congestion internally, helping to ease cold like symptoms. Ginger has also been touted for its wonderful anti-inflammatory benefits. Try making a cup of ginger tea by grating some fresh ginger into a mug of boiling water and add some raw honey and lemon to taste.
Zinc lozenges: Zinc is an essential mineral found in almost every cell in the body. Its antioxidant effects have been shown to resist infection, shortening the duration of illness by decreasing virus’ ability to grow. There are a variety of zinc lozenges to choose from, I just recommend you buy one that is free of sugar, as sugar is a sure-fire way to depress your immune system.
Happy spring! Hope you manage to stay healthy until next winter.
About the Author
Rachel Schwartzman, ND, L.Ac, Birth Doula
Rachel is a licensed naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and birth doula. She is also a mother to three little one. She has a general naturopathic family medicine practice with a special interest in women’s health, fertility, pregnancy and pediatrics. www.rachelschwartzman.com