1. Fresh Ginger
Spicy, fragrant and inexpensive and full of anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties fresh ginger is my all-time favorite for use as a cold cure. Why? Because it works!
Buy fresh ginger (preferably organic) and cut a piece about an inch long. Peel the outer skin from the piece of ginger and thinly slice it. Either put the slices straight into your cup or into a tea strainer. Pour fresh hot (not boiling) water into the cup. Let it sit for five minutes in the strainer or leave the slices in the cup of hot water. Remove the tea strainer, and squeeze the ginger with a spoon to get a bit more of the ginger juice into the cup. Flavor with a spoonful of sweetener of your choice and a slice of lemon or lime. The anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals in ginger will help to relieve a sore throat quickly, and they also kill rhinoviruses, which causes a cold in the first place. Drink three or more cups daily until you are feeling better. You can also use this tea just to warm yourself on a cold winters day.
Can be made for children but you may need to reduce the concentration so it is not too spicy.
2. Eucalyptus essential oil
If you are suffering from congestion, and your nose feels like it is stuffed with cotton wadding, reach for the eucalyptus oil, extracted from the eucalyptus tree, this oil has a number of health benefits including, powerful anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti septic, astringent, anti-spasmodic , analgesic (pain killing) and expectorant properties. It also has immune boosting properties, which help your body react to infections more efficiently.
Fill a large bowl of boiling water, drop three to five drops of eucalyptus essential oil into the bowl of water. Drape a towel over your head, and bend it over the bowl. Breathe in the vapors. It is essential that you inhale the vapours through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This will help reduce the inflammation of your mucosal linings, expel the phlegm built up in your airways and help make you breathe easier. Do this for approximately five minutes. Eucalyptus essential oil is nature’s greatest decongestant. As you breathe the vapors, you will feel your sinuses opening up. Do this as many times as you need. The eucalyptus vapors will also get deep into your chest, and can help to open up congested bronchial tubes.
3. Turmeric / “Turmeric Milk”
Traditionally, turmeric milk has been used for colds, congestion, headache, and sore throats. Turmeric is a depression-fighter as well. Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Curcuminoids are the phytochemicals that give turmeric its effectiveness and in recent years there has been numerous studies conducted to investigate the healing possibilities Turmeric has to offer. Turmeric is available in powder form as a spice, which can be used for soups and other meal ideas, or it can be taken at more medicinal doses in capsule or tincture form. (A tincture is an extra potent herbal dosage, usually extracted in alcohol).
I prefer to take it as a milk tea (non dairy milk of course), making this milk tea is extremely simple. I use ginger for flavoring in this mix to mask the bitterness of the turmeric and it brings great-added health benefits as well.
Make your turmeric infusion with half ginger:
How to make:
These little medicinal berries are traditionally concocted into a syrup and consumed during times of cold and flu. Rich in Vitamin C, Elderberry helps to boost the immune system and lowers inflammation too. Some medical research suggests elderberry may reduce swelling in the mucous membranes to help relieve congestion. One small study found an elderberry extract called Sambucol could shorten the duration of flu symptoms after a person gets sick by about 3 days. That would be similar to precription antiviral medications.
Elderberry may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties and also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body's cells. In fact, elderberry outranks blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries in terms of total flavonol content.
The best way to take Elderberry is in a tea, you can add the dried berries to hot water make a tea, or more commonly cook them with a liquid sweetener of your choice to make an elderberry syrup that can also aid a sore throat.
Beware: eating elderberries raw can make you sick. Raw or unripe elderberries, as well as other parts of the plant, contain a toxic compound related to cyanide. If the berries are not cooked thoroughly they can be poisonous.
5. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits might not cure you completely, but the soft white layer of skin found on oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes does contain flavonoids, which can help boost the immune system and are great for speeding recovery.
Plenty of citrus fruits can help keep your immune system in optimal condition to help your body stay healthy. While there is no evidence that vitamin C prevents the common cold, research suggests that vitamin C may have a modest effect on shortening the duration or lessening the severity of a cold. During cold and flu season it is best to up your intake of vitamin C, which is especially high in citrus fruit. Just one medium orange provides more than 100% of your daily vitamin C needs. But mix things up and increase your vitamin C intake by snacking on citrus varieties like navel oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, and many more also, consuming vitamins, minerals and other nutrients through whole foods assures an optimal balance of nutrients, rather than running the risk of excess through the use of supplements.
Make yourself familiar with the winter seasonal citrus fruit varieties that are available and be sure to get plenty of them in your diet.
This portable, petite, easy-to-peel fruit is popular among all ages because it is seedless, sweet and juicy. One mandarin equals ¼ cup of juice. There are two mandarin varieties: Clementines (available November through January) and W. Murcotts (available February through May). Tangerines are also a variety of madarin.
The outer peel ranges from pale yellow to pink, with pulp ranging from white to deep red. Peak season from November through April. A half a grapefruit is equivalent to 4-6 ounces of juice.
In addition to eating citrus fruit and other fruit and veggies as part of a healthy diet, remember these other important tips to stay healthy:
Although we are surrounded by junk and fast food, eating healthy has never been easier.
If you want to know more about the importance of nutrition and the correct foods to eat contact the GrassRoots Health Nutritionist.
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About the GrassRoots Health Blog
The Grassroots Health blog is written by Dean and Joanne. Joanne's passion is vegan raw food, nutrition and wellbeing while Dean likes to explore the real science behind health.
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