Winter is around the corner, and we all know what that means. It's the season of coughing and scratchy throats. Colds and flu cases are the norms for most people during the cold months, and so is the provisional stocking of pills and cough syrups, but it doesn't have to be that way.
The Hopsack is here to help you with a rundown on natural remedies as well as a few tips on how to deal with the typical cold weather diseases and viruses so that you can be better prepared over the next coming months.
Cold weather exposure increases the risk of contracting a common cold or a virus such as influenza (flu virus). The risk is higher because your immune system is made weaker by the cold temperatures, thus leaving your body more vulnerable to germs. And the more people are infected, the quicker the viruses spread about.
YES! Prevention is the key here.
Having a well-sorted pantry full of natural sourced remedies to prepare yourself for the cold will allow you to live your life through cold months and not being stuck inside, able to enjoy the fresh and healthy outdoor air.
But before going through natural remedies, don't forget the basics to avoid a cold or flu:
Antibiotics aren't an option to cure common flu or cold and will only increase the antibiotic-resistant bacteria exposed to it, so stay clear of them and opt for natural remedies.
The following items are proven to combat colds and flu with the added benefits of being natural, tasty and interchangeable for delicious recipes.
Before being a trick to avoid vampires, people have been known to use garlic to fight common winter ailments. Stories of applying garlic in one's throat to alleviate scratchiness go back as far as the 1500s, and more relevantly, recent studies have confirmed that popular wisdom was right and garlic really is a natural remedy for the common cold.
The antibacterial and immune-stimulating element in garlic is called allicin and is released when a clove is crushed. Garlic's properties work even better in raw form, so instead of cooking it in a stew, per example, consider rubbing a clove in a toast for quick and fresh garlic bread.
Ginger is an excellent option for all the common conditions resulting from cold weather but where it stands out is at stopping runny noses and helping expel phlegm. Its versatility makes it a must-have on your larder for this winter.
Ginger is also an excellent remedy for tummy aches and reducing nausea or sickness. It is as easy to prepare as slicing some fresh ginger, adding supplements if so you wish and pour some boiling water. And there you have it; you have just prepared a fantastic curative tea.
Another popular tip is to leave half an onion on your bedside or place it on the soles of your feet with socks over and for as crazy as it may seem it comes from a truthful background.
Onions are capable of soaking in all the toxins and bacteria from the air if left to it. And though it isn't very welcoming for other humans, it will be for bacteria and viruses such as influenza.
While related studies are scarce, its antibacterial properties come from the same allium family of plants as garlic and many people vouch for its abilities to combat the cold weather diseases.
This is one of the most popular remedies for cold and flu in existence and for a good reason. Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and also act as a decongestant for your nasal canal, reducing phlegm.
Grab some slices of lemon or lemon peel or even a good lemon cordial, pour some organic honey and just a tad bit of brandy or whisky and make a tea with it for a more than proven way to clear your congested, runny nose.
The perfect partner to Lemon, Honey and its sweet taste can make any warm drink a delicious treat for those locked at home days. Honey is a demulcent - that is, it creates a sticky film coating to your throat – soothes it and alleviates the pain of swallowing.
However, don't fall for the old mistake of just taking too many spoonful’s. Sure, taking a teaspoon and letting it melt may be delicious and soothing, but honey is high on sugar and calories levels. Also, we advise against giving it to little children.
Here at The Hopsack, along with our delicious raw and organic honey, we have also available a select type of honey sustainably sourced from beehives in secluded and immaculate areas of New Zealand that is generally considered as one of the most beneficial types of honey in the world - Manuka Honey.
All over India, residents already know this secret for ages, and now it is your turn!
Turmeric spice's main ingredient is curcumin, a renowned anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. The fantastic thing about it is that you can sprinkle turmeric on almost any dish since it doesn't alter the original taste that much while helping in your recovery.
As an extra tip, add some black pepper to your spices as it helps the absorption of turmeric in your system.
Recipe tip: Turmeric Paste
Mix ground turmeric powder (couple teaspoons) with your honey until you get a thick paste and then store in a jar for winter. Now you have at hand a natural remedy which goes as follows – take a teaspoon of the paste directly in your mouth once every four hours for an excellent traditional mixture for aiding with your sore throat. As a bonus, you'll have a bright yellow tongue to show your friends!
The ancient Cinnamon spice has various antifungal as well as antioxidant characteristics to help with your cold and flu condition but also your overall health.
If you suffer from nausea when under the weather from a cold or flu, cinnamon is a must-have in your cabinets. Cinnamon is also truly easy to implement in your diet since its powdered form can go on pretty much anything: snacks, fruit or even soups, stews, curries and, of course, hot drinks.
This one is not for the mild palates out there, but for those who enjoy "that kick" you get from spicy food, it may be a life-changer when it comes to recuperating from flu. A Blocked nose can be cleared quickly with a touch of spice in a soup or stew.
Echinacea shrub, weather in herb or root form, has been a remedy used by Native Americans for more than four centuries. Although research hasn't yet fully proven how it prevents infections, echinacea is rich in flavonoids, known to boost the immune system and reduce inflammations.
Echinacea should be taken as soon as the first symptoms appear and is best enjoyed as a homemade tea or in echinacea lozenges, both great for sore throats.
Fruit from the Elder bush, Elderberries are well known for preventing and healing common colds and flu. They are high in vitamins A, B and C and antioxidants as well as acting as a stimulant for the immune system.
We would advise taking Elderberry daily as a preventive action, which we believe is where it is at its strongest. But, when the infections appear, Elderberry is also immense as an antiviral to attack the upper respiratory tract and ease inflammation.
This natural remedy came to the world's attention by the Greeks. Greece has long been using Oregano Oil as a cure for winter diseases since it carries high levels of antimicrobials and antioxidants to support a strong immune system. Naturopathy doctors are currently recommending Oregano for aiding in respiratory problems, among which sinus conditions.
For those dealing with cold or flu, adding some drops of oregano oil under the tongue can alleviate the symptoms. But be aware, oregano oil does not taste the same as oregano leaves, not even close. It has actually been dubbed as the "Satan's urine"!
Zinc is a mineral that has been tested plenty of times and has come back with stunning results when it comes to combating flu or cold. Zinc regulates immunity and should be taken at first sight of symptoms.
You can find Zinc in naturally rich ingredients such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, cocoa and wheat germ.
Present in many fruits such as berries, citrons, papaya, carrots, red peppers or broccoli, to name a few, is vital to fight infections such as colds or flu. Having a soup prepared with some of these ingredients and a fruit portion afterwards will do the trick!
Another essential to the metabolic system, Vitamin D helps to regulate your immune system, and it is as easy to get as spending 15 minutes a day in indirect sunlight.
For even healthier and nutrient-richer items, go for organic products and improve your natural remedies' ability to cure your cold or flu. And if you haven't stocked before catching the bug, you can also purchase them without leaving your blankets, just order them from our online organic health food store, the best place to source your organic products in Ireland and the best aid for your recovery.