I don’t know anyone who enjoys getting a cold. Not only do you feel lousy, but a cold is also inconvenient, energy-draining and mind-numbing. The best scenario is to avoid getting them altogether, and luckily there are many ways to increase the immunity odds in your favor. I talk about a few of them here on a previous blog. But even with the best self-care, most of us will succumb to the sniffles every now and then (which, ugh, just happened to me last week!). That’s the time to pull out all the stops and get back to feeling healthy as fast a possible. I thought you might enjoy learning about some of my favorite cold fighting strategies.
| Elderberry Syrup
This is the first thing I reach for when I feel even a hint of a cold coming on. I credit it (along with eating really well, keeping stress to a minimum, and getting plenty of rest) with keeping my colds infrequent and the symptoms mild when I do get one.
Why it’s helpful: Elderberries have been used for centuries as a way to boost immunity as well as providing other health benefits. If you’re interested in learning more you can read about it here.
| Neti Pot
Another essential go-to when you’ve been out in crowded public places during cold season, and when you feel any congestion at all in your sinuses. Using a neti pot can take a bit of getting used to since the sensation of water up your nose can be disconcerting, however it can make breathing much easier so it’s well worth trying.
Why it’s helpful: Flushing nasal mucus can relieve sinus pressure, and if you combine it with a saline/xylitol flush like Xlear it can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits. And because it pulls moisture to the cell surface, it inhibits bacteria from sticking.
| Homemade throat and cough syrup
My kids affectionately call this fire water because of its hot and tangy flavor. I have to say I’ve grown rather fond of it and usually make a double batch.
To make it combine the following:
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 T water
1 T honey
½ tsp minced fresh ginger (or try ginger juice found at health food stores)
¼ tsp cayenne
I take a tablespoon a few times a day. Store in the refrigerator and I’m sure it would keep for at least a week or two although mine is always gone long before that.
Why this is helpful: Apple cider vinegar helps to alkalize the body which strengthens the immune system and helps to fight off viruses; cayenne pepper aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus; ginger is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and acts as an antihistamine and decongestant; honey has antiviral properties and has been shown to soothe coughs and sore throats… all of which make this mixture a cold-fighting powerhouse.
| Hot lemon and ginger water
This is a gentler version of the fire water mixture and has the added benefit of being warm and soothing on your throat. I place 2 T of lemon juice in a mug along with 1 tsp of ginger and a pinch of cayenne (optional). Pour 8 oz of boiling water into the mug and sweeten with honey to taste. Drink this throughout the day.
Why this is helpful: Not only does it contain many of the same cold fighting properties as "fire water" (see above) but it also is very comforting to sip on and it helps to increase liquid consumption which aids in flushing out unwanted toxins from the body.
Hopefully it will be a very long time before your next cold, but at least now when it happens you will be ready to wage a full on attack!
Do you have your own favorite ways of soothing cold symptoms? If so I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!
Note: These are intended as suggestions for aiding in symptom relief only and are not meant to be replacements for medical advice from your health care provider.