If you find yourself under the weather, there are a number of natural home remedies you can draw upon to alleviate your symptoms and keep your suffering to a minimum. If you can’t stomach the cures in our Stinky Edition, no fear: we’ve got more ideas that are a bit more pleasant for everyone around you!
Before you turn to your medicine cabinet, why not give these sweet-smelling natural home remedies a chance to work their wonders first?
Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Baths: Quiet, Please!
Especially during the first days of a cold, you can minimize your symptoms by taking hot baths. The water’s warmth increases circulation in your mucus membranes, stopping viruses from multiplying.
Adding essential oils to your bath water can amplify the warm water’s effects to help you breathe better – add a few drops to eucalyptus oil to a spoonful of olive oil before introducing it into your bathwater. It’s important to relax in peace after a hot bath, making it an excellent bedtime ritual. Even if you’ve been sick for days, a hot, relaxing bath can still be an effective home remedy. Do not take hot baths, however, if you are feverish.
Infusions with Ginger, Sage, and Thyme – natural Cold Remedies
Hot tea – and a lot of it – is an essential partner in cold and flu season. Because there are so many herbal remedies that can be infused into tea, it’s a beverage you can easily vary depending on the symptoms of the day.
Ginger is a classic for sore throats and upset stomachs – it’s a healing herb in the Indian Ayurveda tradition. Ginger is used as a home remedy to stimulate digestion and circulation, as well as reduce viral reproduction – the perfect cure for all stuffy noses. Anyone who’s had ginger tea before knows it’ll make you sweat – this tea really heats you up, from the inside out!
It’s super easy to make your own infusion. Grab a fresh ginger root and slice off a bit the size of your thumb, then peel and chop it finely. Peel the root as close to the surface as possible, as the area directly under the peel is especially powerful. Either simply scrape the peel off with a spoon, or leave it on entirely if you’ve purchased an organic ginger root.
The smaller the pieces, the stronger the flavor of the infusion. If you like it intensely gingery, you can puree the ginger with a hand blender first. Place the chopped pieces or your puree in a large mug and add boiling water. Let it steep for a few minutes and add honey or lemon to taste.
Another helpful herb in cold and flu season is sage, which is a common herb in many home gardens. In the home pharmacy, sage is used to reduce sweating. It has antiseptic and anticonvulsant properties and is disliked by viruses and fungi alike. Pick leaves directly from your garden or buy some fresh at the market to drink as an infusion, or use the water for gargling.
You only know thyme as an herb from your cooking? Thyme is a fantastic home remedy against coughing – it expands and disinfects the lungs, breaking up congestion. Thyme oil can also be used as a mouthwash against sore throats.
You can add honey to any of these infusions. Only add it once the liquid has cooled a bit. Honey loses its healing properties if exposed to high temperatures. To access its soothing relief for scratchy throats, you can also eat honey directly from the spoon, allowing it to melt slowly on your tongue.
Cold Remedy for everybody: Salt Water
Table salt is a small miracle worker when it comes to colds – that’s why you’ll find saline nasal sprays next to the cough syrup at your local store. Nasal sprays and washes, however, are easy and cheap to make yourself. Dissolve 1/2t salt in a glass of lukewarm water. Ensure you have 10-12 oz of liquid in your glass to make the right concentration, then pour over your liquid into a clean spray bottle.
Salt water is also perfect for home inhalations. Dissolve 2T of salt in 4.5c of hot water in a pot. Place a towel over your head, ensuring you cover the pot completely and inhale carefully over the steaming pot. This ensures that the healing vapors best reach your mucus membranes. Exercise caution, because the steam at the beginning is very hot – ensure that you leave enough space between your face and the pot so as not to burn yourself. Don’t forget to have tissues nearby – inhalation will cause your nose to run something fierce!
Utopia sends you our wishes for a speedy recovery!
By Victoria Scherff
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