With winter finally making an appearance in Australia, Cold’s and Flu’s beginning to run rampart. I’ve had a few of my close friends and family asking me for home remedies and advice so I thought I would type up a blog post in case others are looking for the same thing.
A Note on Antibiotics
In Australia, antibiotic resistance is rapidly gaining momentum. The discovery of antibiotics revolutionised medicine; saving thousands of lives from illness’ that were once incurable. Antibiotics are one of our most powerful weapons to cure people of infections – if antibiotic resistance becomes widespread we won’t have that weapon anymore and antibiotic resistant bacteria could spread and make a lot of people very sick.
In our country doctors prescribe antibiotics for a wide range of things – including colds and flu’s. This is a problem for a number of reasons 1. both of these are caused by a virus which antibiotics don’t work on (‘biotic’ means bacteria) 2. antibiotics aren’t selective and tend to wipe out all bacteria (including the good bacteria in your gut which helps your immune system function effectively and digest your food) 3. antibiotics might stop working as well for you and this could be an issue if you ever get something serious enough to warrant antibiotics (eg. pneumonia).
The good news is that you can absolutely cure a cold or flu easily by yourself without antibiotics. All you need is a few things out of your kitchen pantry.
Source: Clinical Naturopathy by Jerome Sarris and Jon Wardle.
Where Do I Start?
The basics to curing a cold or flu include getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of water and eating decent nutrient dense food (think fruit and vegies).
It’s important to remember that no medicines will ever really work if you haven’t got these basics first.
Identify the Symptoms
Do you have a cough, a runny nose, are you really tired? This tends to change each year as the virus changes. One year everyone might get a runny nose whilst the next year everyone has headaches. Identifying the symptoms that bother you the most will help determine the best herbs to use.
Once you get the hang of this you’ll start noticing the signs that your body throws up before it gets sick. These signs are different for each person and can include things like itchy ears or nose, tickling throat, cold sores, etc. If you can do something at this point it could prevent you from getting sick altogether which is a much better way of overcoming a cold.
* Onion, Garlic and Honey Remedy: Prevention
Chop up 1 onion and a clove or 2 of garlic. Put all this into a wide mouthed jar then cover in honey. Make sure the honey hasn’t been heat treated – the enzymes that are present in raw honey are important to this process. Ideally you need to leave this for a few weeks in a warm place but overnight will suffice if you need it quickly – shake often. Strain out the liquid and discard the onion and garlic (you could put this into a stir fry if you don’t want to waste food). Take a tablespoon of the liquid twice daily during winter to prevent a cold or flu or drink 2-3 tablespoons 3 x daily if you already have it.
* Apple Cider Vinegar, Thyme and Honey: Great for a Cough
Bring 1 or 2 cups of ACV and lots of chopped up thyme to the boil (please cover as the steam can sting your eyes), simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and allow to cool.
Once cool add equal amount of honey until it becomes a syrup. Take a tablespoon or two to sooth a cough.
* Honey, Ginger, Lemon Tea: Tickling Throat and Congestion
Chop up Ginger root to taste. Put into a pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes (make sure it’s covered). Strain out into a mug, add a slice of lemon and honey to taste. Add cool water to allow you to drink it faster if you’re impatient or sit with it and inhale the steam (this is a great way to remove congestion).
* Eucalyptus Oil Steam: Great for Chest Infection and Congestion
Boil water and pour into a large bowl on a steady surface (preferably a table). Add 10 drops of Eucalyptus or Tea Tree oil into the water, cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam. Add more oil if needed.
* Yarrow, Elder Flower and Peppermint Tea: Prevention and Congestion
I sell this tea in therapeutic quantities but you can find it reasonably easily – it’s very effective at reducing the formation of mucous and helping a fever resolve itself. It’s commonly called YEP tea.
If you are the kind of person who finds themselves sick a lot of the time maybe it’s worth making a few changes to your lifestyle. Drinking alcohol, smoking, a lack of sleep, a lack of a proper diet (nutrient deficiencies), dehydration and other things can really take a toll on your immune system.
It’s also important in any case to talk to a trained professional such as a herbalist or naturopath – especially if you have reoccurring colds.