I don’t get sick. I normally scoff at any discussion of “flu season” and sail through the winter without so much as a stuffy nose. On the rare occasions I do catch a cold, I may have a few, mild symptoms that clear up in a few days.
Because of my seeming invulnerability to them, I never thought colds were a big deal. Sure, I knew people might do some coughing, a little sneezing, but they also got to take time off work and watch movies on the couch; a fair trade-off, as far as I was concerned. And when I got a cold, I wouldn’t really do much for it. I’d try a little vitamin C and echinacea in a half-hearted attempt to ward it off, or add a little ginger or lemon to my tea, but that’s about all I ever did. No cough drops or syrups, no humidifiers, no fussing around.
I was surprised then, when last week, I got a cold that dug its sharp little teeth into my jugular and wouldn’t let go. One that woke me up coughing once an hour every night, making my ribs sore and my head ache. A cold that forced me to drop my cocky attitude and look for remedies. With a new-found sympathy for others who have suffered in this way, I tried pretty much anything anyone suggested.
I’m getting better now, thankfully, and I’ve learned a few things in my adventures into the land of the nasty cold. In honour of cold and flu season, I thought I’d share some of my favourite remedies with you all. So, without further ado, I introduce:
Blackberry Honey’s Top 5 Cold Kickers
1. The Neti Pot
This is one I’ve resisted for years on the simple premise that it seemed so gross. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the neti pot, it’s a small tea-pot with a lid that seals tight. You put luke-warm water and a saline solution in it and bend forward over the sink. Next, you put the spout of the tea pot in one nostril and tip your head to the side until the water runs out the opposite nostril. Gross, right? Except, I’ve discovered that it’s amazing. It’s helped me sleep longer in the night and breathe more clearly during the day. And it’s not really that hard to do. There’s a tiny bit of discomfort (like when you go swimming and get water up your nose) but the results are well worth it.
2. DIY Humidifier
I don’t own a humidifier, but started wishing I had one after my fourth sleepless night of itchy, scratchy coughing. So, when my wise husband suggested we try this, I didn’t argue. We boiled water in a kettle, poured it into a regular, mid-sized kitchen pot, added 4-6 drops of a decongestant oil mixture (menthol, eucalyptus, cajuput, mint and clove – you could probably use any one of these) and set it by my bed. That night, I only woke up once. Sweet, steamy joy.
A colleague suggested this one. Add about a teaspoon of turmeric and some honey to whatever tea you’re drinking. I recommend ginger tea, since the flavour blends well with the turmeric. Choose your tea wisely, I can see it going terribly wrong with an inappropriate tea choice. This took the edge off my poor sore throat. And turmeric has also been found to prevent cancer, ease depression, help weight management, treat arthritis and more! Best to use a dark-coloured mug with this one, though, because the turmeric can stain.
4. Effervescent Vitamin C
This comes in little packets. You add it to your water, making it a little bit bubbly and full of vitamin-C goodness (usually about 1000 mg). I have found this useful in preventing colds in the past. And this time around, I’ve just loved having it as an alternative to plain water and tea. I found myself craving vitamin C in a way that no juice could remedy and this was perfect. I would recommend finding a brand that uses natural sweeteners like stevia instead of aspartame.
This seems too basic to even mention, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of the basics. In my often over-stimulated, iPhone-addicted life, I don’t always allow myself to just sleep when I need it. I think I need stimulation all the time, so I’ll opt for reading in bed or watching a movie on the couch to rest. But I found that turning off the TV, putting down the book and allowing myself to sleep in utter silence was really what I needed.
So there you have it, my home-remedy treasure-trove. If you have a cold, may you get better soon! If you are healthy, may you enjoy good health always! What are your favourite home remedies? Share them here! And while you may be doing some shopping this holiday season, don’t forget to tell us about the best money you’ve ever spent!