What a winter it has been for coughs and colds! I think almost everyone I know has suffered from some sort of nasty lurgy. I’ve seen people on Facebook sharing all sorts of remedies, both traditional and slightly more eccentric – I think my favourite was rubbing Vic’s Vapour Rub into the soles of your feet before bedtime! Um, can’t say I tried that one myself! My partner in crime writing, Julia, cannot take any cold remedies as she has an allergic reaction to something in their ingredients so, apart from taking paracetamol, she just has to grin and bear it! This year, she had a stinker of a cold and ended up trying a couple of natural winter tonics to see if they helped. Here, she shares them with you. I hope you manage to escape cold-free, but if not, you might want try some of these.
“Whenever I had a cold as a child, I always remember my mother making me sit hunched over a bowl of very hot water with a towel draped over my head forming a lovely warm tent of steam. I think she used to put Friar’s Balsam into the water and it was a great way of clearing a blocked nose. I tried this again a few weeks ago, minus the balsam, and the effect of the steam and the generally lovely warm cocoon did make me feel a bit better. I also got a free facial, which was quite soothing!
My foraging friend from Wales who knows a huge amount about natural remedies, sent me a recipe for Ginger & Garlic Soup. This certainly woke up my senses, big time! This recipe is referred to as ‘medicine in a cup’. The mix of ginger and garlic should help protect you from cold, flu, sinus infections and many other diseases that can be easily caught during the cold winter months. I will be a little more cautious with the chilli next time!
Garlic & Ginger Soup
- Two cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
- Four spring onions, also finely sliced
- Seven cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 50g of grated root ginger, finely sliced too
- And last but not least… one finely diced hot or medium-hot chilli
- Chopped or whole mushrooms (optional)
- Put the Garlic, onions, mushrooms (if you are using them) and the ginger in a big pan and put it on low heat for a few minutes, and sauté them.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil.
- Turn to a simmer and stir gently, until all of the ingredients become soft.
- Last add the chopped chilli, and stir for another 5 minutes. Then you can serve the soup while it is warm. Combine it with lemon water and crusty bread. This will provide more anti-bacterial effects and improve your digestion too.
The final remedy I tried was a Winter Tea. Herbal teas are good for all sorts of things and boost our physical and mental health. Fresh herbs are full of antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation. Keeping yourself hydrated when you have a cold is important, I loved this and found it very soothing.
- 300ml water
- ½ a lime
- ½ a lemon
- 3cm piece of ginger root, sliced
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- I sprig each of fresh mint, thyme and rosemary
- ½ a cinnamon stick
- Honey to taste
- Boil the water in a saucepan.
- Squeeze the lemon and lime into the pan, then lob the whole pieces of fruit in as well.
- Add everything else – except the honey. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add honey to taste before straining to serve.