Lately I’ve been doing a lot of researching. Random researching, about a lot of different things. I look stuff up on the internet, I read site upon site, I look at actual books on whatever subject interests me at that specific moment but then, I’ve realized, I don’t actually use all this research that I do. After a few weeks (or, more rarely, months) of research I’ll declare myself satisfied with my expertise on the subject and I’ll promptly allow myself to forget everything without ever having tested my knowledge in the real word. All this is basically a colossal waste of my time.
So now I’ve decided to try and put this research compulsion of mine to good use, or at the very least to some use, I’m going to share it here so that I at least have a reference to go to when invariably I start wondering about that thing I researched six months ago and forgot about.
So some of the things I’ve been researching a lot recently are home remedies to common ailments. Luckily, I caught a cold the other day so I actually managed to put some of this research to good use, and generous soul that I am I’ve decided to share my knowledge with you!
First of all, the disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. I figured I had to specify it in case it wasn’t clear from the first paragraph. All the information written here comes from the internet, or my grandmother, or folk knowledge, it could be true or it could be total hogwash I have no idea so proceed at your own peril.
Another important thing to note, once you catch a cold, you’ve caught a cold. There are no miraculous cures. All you can do is allay the symptoms and speed up your recovery, and here’s me helping you to do just that, so this is what I do if I catch a cold:
1. Take a pain reliever. Do I even remotely look like a martyr? I like ibuprofen, it gets rid of my headache and relieves the muscle tension that always accompanies my colds.
2. Cayenne Pepper is my BFF. When the cold is accompanied by a sore throat I gargle with a cup of warm water, 1tbs salt and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. I won’t lie, it burns your tongue and lips but the sore throat goes. I promise. I don’t know if the pepper anesthetizes my throat, if it scares the bacteria from reproducing, if my immune system goes into overdrive as a defense mechanism from the burning torture, but it works I’ve tried this repeatedly. I usually start gargling as soon as I get that scratchy throat feeling and I do it as often as I can, like every half hour for at least two hours. And the sore throat disappears. It helps to eat a tsp of honey when you’re done gargling cause it gets rid of some of the heat in your mouth.
3. Steam. I boil water and stick my head under a big towel over the steaming bowl until it stops steaming. It clears my sinuses right up, and my sinuses are assholes. I’ve tried steaming with a variety of different things in the water: baking soda, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil… but what works best in my opinion is a splash of apple cider vinegar (or just regular vinegar) it’ll get you breathing through your nose in no time. Beware: it stings your throat and eyes at first, but stick with it your nose will thank you.
4. Drink. Not alcohol, but tea. My go to recipe for a cold is this:
½ lemon & ½ lime (rind and all, just wash them well), 1 cinnamon stick, 1 inch long piece of fresh ginger, 1tbs honey and a some fresh herbs, like fresh mint and fresh lemon-thyme, or herbal tea if you don’t have the herbs. Add a generous amount of honey and drink up! It’s yummy, and it helps, it just doesn’t keep, the lemon and lime rind make it really bitter if it sits around.
5. Vit C and zinc. Some research says this works, some says it doesn’t. I always have some sitting around and figure it can’t possibly hurt, though I don’t take mega-doses as some docs suggest I usually try to keep it around a 1gram capsule of vit c twice a day. I’m pretty sure that too much of any vitamin can’t be good.
6. Hot shower. In my opinion there are few ailments a hot shower or bath can’t improve. Just forgo the hair washing unless it’s really necessary and stay warm after.
7. Honey and garlic. Yeah, I know, this sounds really gross. Mix 2 cloves minced fresh garlic and 3 tbs raw honey and let it sit for a couple of hours. Take a teaspoonful three times a day, and try not to breath right in anyone’s face for a few days.
8. Gargling. I’ve mentioned gargling with cayenne, but if you can’t stomach that just plain salt will do just fine. In fact, I was reading that even gargling with plain water everyday reduces one’s chance of getting a cold.
9. Nose flushing. I use these saline sprays from the pharmacy but I don’t know if they sell them everywhere. I’ve also heard Neti pots are easy to use as well as a simple bulb syringe filled with saline (or plain salt and water, just don’t make it too salty). It’s important to be gentle, but regularly flushing out the nose helps sinus infections from occurring (supposedly).
10. Sleep. So now you have an excuse to sleep more, it’s for your health!
11. Real chicken broth. And by real I mean homemade, with chicken bones and stuff. I now always have some ready in the freezer, I’ll post the recipe for this within the next few days. But seriously, it’s so worth the effort it takes to make, because it’s good for so many things. And I promise, mine doesn’t smell gross and it won’t take you forever to make!
12. Lots of fluids. (And you know I don’t mean soda and alcohol, right?)
There ya have it. I used to get colds ALL THE TIME, now I don’t so much. Or maybe the cayenne kills them before they have time to get annoying, I don’t know, either way I've had plenty of chances to test this stuff. Plus all the stuff I mentioned has no side-effects (other than possibly your friends or partner staying away from you cause you smell garlicky or getting annoyed at you for sleeping to much). So it’s worth a try, right?
Do you have any tried and true natural cold remedies? What do you do when you get sick?
Also, if you don’t start feeling better soon or have a high fever, call your doc, don’t listen to me!!
Last thing, I just realized that number 1. isn’t really a natural cold remedy. Oops.