With cold and flu season upon us, it almost seems inevitable that you’ll catch something this time of year.
From pesky sniffles to sore throats, to feeling so ill you don’t even want to leave your bed, a virus can really take a toll.
You might see your doctor, but antibiotics can’t be prescribed because they only work against illnesses caused by bacteria, and colds are caused by viruses. So you could turn to the array of over-the-counter decongestants, sprays and syrups – which may seem to take forever to work.
Why not try something different this season and, better yet, more natural to get you feeling like yourself again? These tips may seem a little out of the ordinary, but believe me, they will have you feeling better without some of those side effects that cold medications can bring, like drowsiness and dizziness.
RELATED READING: When your body needs an energy boost
Combat the onset of a cold with wet socks
Your best line of defense is to fight a cold with cold – cold, wet socks! This treatment is easily done and not just great for cold prevention, but also clearing up any congestion. Here’s how it’s done:
Take a pair of socks and soak them in cold water. Put your feet in and overlap the wet socks with a dry wool pair. Enjoy a good night’s rest under a warm blanket, and you should wake up feeling better.
Skeptical? Well, let me explain why this treatment works.
Wearing cold socks on warm feet works similar to immune-enhancing hydrotherapy treatment. Hydrotherapy uses all forms of water (steam, liquid and ice) to help heal injuries, and boost circulation and blood flow. An increase in blood flow means nutrients can be carried more freely and toxins can be pushed out, therefore creating a healthier you.
As Leslie Solomonian, a naturopathic doctor at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, told Best Health magazine, “Cold socks stimulate the body to increase circulation to the feet, relieving congestion from the head, regulating immune response and aiding in the elimination of waste. By the morning, socks are usually bone dry and feet wake up toasty and warm.”
Clear congestion with a hot dog condiment
What’s better than the summertime and some mustard on a hot dog? Well, the popular condiment can help you get through cold and flu season. Nothing is worse than a cloudy chest making it hard to breathe, so try this remedy to clear up congestion.
What you’ll need is some mustard seeds and water. Grind the mustard seeds and add some water so you create a paste. Rub the paste on your chest and let the mustard aromas take over and help you breathe easy.
This paste offers a one-two punch: The strong smell works to clear up your sinuses while the heat increases your circulation, clearing up the congestion. Although effective, this is not something you can do for hours. Don’t leave the paste on longer than 15 minutes, and to prevent any irritation you can apply petroleum jelly on the skin first.
If you find you’re coughing up quite a bit after the paste is removed, this is a good sign – it means the mucus is starting to break down and is trying to come out.
Another option is a mustard foot soak, with mustard powder and hot water. Mix one tablespoon of mustard powder with two liters of water, and let your feet soak. This mixture draws blood to your feet, boosting circulation and relieving congestion.
RELATED READING: 5 old wives’ tales put to the test
Suppress a cough with this bulb vegetable
Besides a runny nose, nothing is more annoying than a cough that just won’t go away, especially when it keeps you up at night.
Onions are a great way to get that cough under control (yes, you’ll likely cry when you’re cutting them, but it’s worth it)…
Onions are packed with nutritional benefits, from vitamins C and B6 to sulfur, which can cleanse the liver. But the true healing power is the amount of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant which is found in large amounts in the humble onion.
Studies at the University of Maryland Medical Center have found that quercetin supports healthy cholesterol, can reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension, and can act as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
There are two methods you can try: First, simply cut up a red onion and leave it near your bedside. The strong vapor that is released can stop coughing. Or make a cough syrup by cutting up a red onion and placing it in a jar. Pour honey over it and let it rest for eight to 12 hours. The syrup is your natural cough suppressant, and it tastes better than it sounds!
Bring down a fever with this spice
The aromatic smell of cinnamon is enough to captivate just about anyone (grate some over oatmeal or add some to homemade muffins)! Given its benefits, I think this spice should be a staple in everyone’s pantry.
The U.S National Library of Medicine has praised cinnamon for its ability to treat muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections and even the common cold. It’s also been found to help regulate glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
With all these merits, it’s no wonder cinnamon can even help you break a fever. The solution is simple: Put some cinnamon powder in hot water or your tea and drink up. Mix in some honey and ginger, and you’ve created a powerful cold-fighting tonic.
Some people, however, have allergies and sensitivities to cinnamon, so be sure you don’t fall into this category before consuming.
Get back to a healthier you, naturally
Don’t let cold and flu season get the best of you! With these natural remedies, you can get back to enjoying all that fall and winter have to offer.
Also, these tips are great if you’re worried about your medications interacting with those over-the-counter ones, which is a very real concern. These tips are safe, natural, and you probably already have the ingredients in your home right now!
Related Reading: Right remedy for the right bug: 7 types of cough