After all that frantic seasonal partying, bitterly cold weather, and a diet of chocolate and cheap champagne, there is one inevitable result: man-flu. This article looks at some home remedies for colds. They’re a lot nicer than certain brands of powders and pills, and don’t involve staggering up to the supermarket in your weakened state.
To quote someone else: “If you don’t feel like getting out of bed, you have a bad cold. If you can’t get out of bed, you have flu.” Man-flu falls neatly into the “bad cold” category, but that’s not much comfort to those of us suffering with it. [N.b. It is my firm belief that women get man-flu too: it just doesn’t prevent them from doing the washing up ]
Male readers will be pleased to hear that we’re going to spare them a round of man-bashing. Suffice to say, sometimes girls need a few days off to lie on the sofa playing computer games too.
First, the usual note of caution. If you or a member of your family are very ill, ensure that you are confident it’s just a cold. The threat of Swine Flu is still present, and conditions like Meningitus have some flu-like symptoms. Check with your GP, a Pharmacist, or use a service like NHS Direct (in the UK).
1 – Honey and lemon drink
The time-honoured treatment for a cold is a warm honey and lemon drink. The honey soothes the throat and can break up mucus. The lemon is detoxifying and a great source of vitamin C (which boosts the immune system) – it also smells wonderful, which shouldn’t be underestimated! The water is vital to keep you hydrated, which should help ease your headache. Simply put a spoonful of good honey and the juice of half a lemon in a mug, and add hot water. If you don’t have honey to hand (or you’re vegan) then syrups (like golden syrup or maple syrup) work well too.
Using this drink as a basis, you can get creative with whatever else you have in your cupboards. A couple of slices of root ginger can be left to infuse in the drink, which is warming and thought to be helpful as an anti-inflammatory. Echinacea is another popular ingredient which is renowned for boosting the immune system: you can buy this herb as a tincture from health-food shops if you don’t have access to the plant. Other fruits like Grapefruit, Oranges, Apples or Cranberries can liven up this drink, or you could try infusing some seasonal spices like cloves, cinammon or aniseed.
2 – Chicken soup
The other time-honoured remedy is soup. Usually Chicken Soup. This is a great way of getting fluids and nutrients into a very ill body. Rather than digging some ancient tin of soup out of the cupboard (yuck!) it’s easy to make your own soup. Boil around 500ml of water for each serving in a pan (you might want to boil 2l and make enough for four servings). Add some stock powder according to the directions on the packet (it doesn’t have to be chicken), or make some real stock if you feel up to it! As a base for your soup, add some crushed garlic cloves, some chillis or cayenne pepper powder, chopped ginger root and/or a couple of sliced onions. Garlic and Chillis are both antiseptics, so they’re both traditionally used in combatting colds and flu (garlic may help with nasal congestion).
To give your soup a bit of substance, you could add some chicken or left-over turkey, and/or some mushrooms and noodles. Shiitake mushrooms in particular are packed with nutrients. Adding shellfish (a few prawns), pumpkin seed oil or legumes will provide some zinc, which is known to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms (along with vitamins C and A). You could also experiment with adding some of the many “superfoods” that we buy from time to time (we all have a sad-looking packet of kelp or goji-berries lurking in the back of the cupboard: they didn’t change our lives, but they can make good soup).
3 – Eucalyptus oil
For those of us who got into aromatherapy a few years ago, give some thought to finding your Eucalyptus oil. A few drops of this oil (perhaps with Rosemary or Lavendar to help you sleep) can work wonders in a hot bath, or on a cloth tucked inside your pillow. For those of you new to aromatherapy, remember to treat essential oils with respect: most of them should not come into contact with the skin (they should be mixed with a base oil, or added to water) and a few of them are not safe for children or pregnant women.
4 – Salt water
Some old-fashioned nurses’ advice is to gargle with salt water twice a day. The salt kills any bacteria in the throat.
Finally, the advice given here is not intended as a replacement for conventional medical advice. Remember to keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and get lots of sleep. There’s no shame in having some aspirin or paracetamol if you need it, and seek the advice of a medical professional if you are at all concerned about your symptoms.
Author Bio :
Dishing out health and beauty advice to women is what Ms. Winters does best. She enjoys creating her own home remedies based on ancient traditions and modern science. Whenever she isn’t brewing up something new she’s usually at the beach soaking in the sun.