Natural Cold Remedies
I woke up with a hoarse/sore throat the other morning. I thought it’d maybe go away, like it was dry from sleeping or something, but it didn’t. Now, it’s all tickle-y, and triggers dry coughing bouts every now and then. Luckily, I’m not stuffed up, nor am I coughing up mucus, although my head felt a little heavy on Tuesday (I think because I was tired). My voice is all raspy and I truly thought I was going to lose it completely. I have it in the meantime, but it’s still hoarse. It’s funny, because I’ve actually had people tell me that they like my voice like this, but the same cannot be said when I’m stuffed up. That just doesn’t sound good on anyone! I’m glad my body is rocking the sexy voice and not the stuffy, mouth-breather voice though. Hopefully, it doesn’t get to that point. Fortunately, I rarely get sick anymore and when I do come down with something — usually a cold — it doesn’t last very long.
By the way, I’m pretty sure I picked this up at school. It’s my second week back after nearly three weeks off, so I’m coming into contact with a lot more people and germs. It’s also just the nature of things this time of year.
Anyway, I definitely have some go-to remedies when it comes to colds. Here’s what I rely on, in addition to a healthy, nutrient-dense diet:
- Lots of water and hot tea, especially ginger and green tea: we all know the importance of fluids when we’re sick, so drink up! A little raw honey mixed in the tea can also help soothe the throat. If you have time, you can even make homemade lemon ginger tea. Click the image below for a simple recipe.
- Bone broth: loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals, this traditional elixir has even been referred to as, “Jewish Penicillin.” For more info on bone broth and a simple recipe, click here. Also, if you don’t want to drink the broth straight up, make a pot of chicken soup to ward off your cold or flu. Add extra garlic too, which strengthens the immune system. Cayenne is another great addition because it can help move congested mucus.
- Gargling with salt water: I always use this tactic at the onset of a sore throat. It’s known to draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, which makes it hurt less. It’s also beneficial during a full-blown cold because it helps break up mucus. Be sure to use warm filtered water and sea salt, not iodized table salt.
- Coconut water: more fluid with a generous dose of electrolytes! Plus, it tastes good too.
- Neti pot with goldenseal: I’ve been using a neti pot with sea salt for several years now, but it wasn’t until last winter that my naturopath told me about adding goldenseal to the solution. You don’t need to add much, just 2-4 drops. Goldenseal is a natural antimicrobial, so it helps kill off bugs, while treating irritated and inflamed mucous membranes. You can find goldenseal tincture at Whole Foods, natural health stores, New Seasons, etc. I bought mine from my naturopath’s clinic here in Portland. Also, be sure to use warm, filtered water in your neti pot and always use sea salt, not iodized table salt!
- Homeopathic medicine: I like Hyland’s Sinus or Boiron’s Coldcalm tablets. Both of these tablets dissolve under your tongue and are completely natural, safe, and don’t contain any harmful additives or ingredients. They both contain a tiny amount of lactose, but I’ve never had a problem with either because it’s such a minute amount. These are even recommended as a cold remedy for those complying to the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet), which as you may know, is a variation of paleo.
- Kombucha: fermented foods help boost the immune system by supplying beneficial organisms, which promotes the growth of healthy flora. Other fermented food sources include pickles, sauerkraut, kimchee, etc.
- Rest: give your body what it needs, slow down and take it easy. I don’t think I need to elaborate here.
What are some natural or homemade remedies that you turn to when you have a cold? Do you eat or drink anything special?