It’s well and truly here – the cold, cough, flu, fever, sniffles and all round ‘sick’ season. And as anyone with kids knows, it can sometimes become a bit of a revolving door, or should that be sick bed, at this time of year. No sooner does one person get better, then the next one is down for the count.
This year the flu season has hit us hard and early with no-one in the house being spared. I really don’t like using too much medication and avoid anti-biotics at all costs, particularly for the kids. As a result, I’ve slowly built a repertoire of cough and cold remedies that seem to work well and give some relief. Sometimes, there could be a placebo effect going on, but if the end result is the sickness passes quickly without the need for drugs, it’s a good thing.
One thing to note is that there are several fantastic friends in kitchen when it comes to natural cold remedies – onions, garlic, ginger, honey, citrus fruits and chilli. Don’t use them sparingly – even if the house does become a bit smelly – it’s a case of the more the merrier when it comes to beating nasty winter bugs.
Homemade Cough Syrup
We all know how onions can make us cry. Well in this recipe, the very same fumes from the onion that make us cry are captured in sweet, sticky honey to make a very effective cough syrup.
Method: To make the syrup, peel and roughly chop an onion, put it into a bowl and cover with runny honey (preferably raw honey – lots more goodies in this type). Sit the bowl in a warm place for 6-8 hours and let the two combine. To finish, strain the onion from the syrup into a glass jar and store.
Dosage: Adults – 1 tablespoon every couple of hours. Children – 1 teaspoon every 2 to 4 hours.
As it is so cold in my house at the moment and I struggle to find a ‘warm place’, I actually heat the oven on low (60C) and then turn it off and sit the bowl in there. During this time the honey actually liquefies more (something to do with those wonderful fumes I suspect) so it is easy to strain.
Nighttime Cough Remedy
This one is really easy and involves the wonderful onion again. We have been using this for year and it always works. If someone is coughing during the night, particularly kids, this can be easily done without the need to wake them.
Method: Cut an onion in half, put into a bowl and place beside the offenders bed. That’s it!
Sore Throat Remedies
This is an oldie, but a goodie that comes from our Poppa – Pickled Onions. Have a jar on standby during winter and when there is complaint of a sore throat start serving up pickled onions. For children, it can sometimes not be so easy but I have found cutting them up into smaller pieces can help.
Good old-fashioned Honey and Lemon Tea is great for sore throats – and don’t skimp on the honey.
Method: Squeeze lemon juice into a mug throw in the lemon skin, pour on boiling water and let it all infuse, then stir through some honey. Allow to cool before drinking. The warmth of the tea, combined with the lemon and honey is very soothing for young and old throats.
Flu Fighting Tea
This tea is more of an immune booster than the honey and lemon tea. With garlic and ginger included, it comes with lots of extra flu fighting properties.
Method: Chop a clove of garlic, a knob of peeled fresh ginger and place into a ‘tea ball’ or ‘tea infuser’ (mine is pictured). Place into tea cup along with the juice of 1/2 a lemon (or lime) and the skin, plus 1 tablespoon of honey. Let it all infuse for 10 minutes or so, remove the tea ball and lemon skin. Drink up!
Some chilli or cayenne pepper could also be added to this tea for an extra ‘hot’ boost.
I hope you don’t have to use these recipes, but no doubt you will at some stage – we’re only human after all! And of course, the best remedy of all is to fuel your body with great food during the colder months so focus on that, and hopefully the winter bugs will pass you by.
If you have any winter remedies you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them so please leave them in the comments section below. Plus, don’t forget to share them with your friends (click the buttons below)!