The last two months of the year bring many good things–Thanksgiving, Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, depending on your religious affiliation), New Year’s. Unfortunately, the fall and winter months also bring colds, the flu, bronchitis, and infections. There’s no reason to let these ailments dampen your holiday spirit, however. What’s more, you may not need to rely on prescription or over-the-counter drugs to treat them. Here are a few natural remedies that you can use.
Please note: before using any of these treatments, you should seek the opinion of your doctor or health provider.
Mustard can help ease chest congestion caused by colds and the flu. Make a paste with some warm water, one tablespoon of dry mustard, and four tablespoons of flour (add just enough water to make the paste a little runny). Spread the paste on a clean piece of cloth, cover it with a similar piece of cloth, lie down, and apply it to your chest. Make sure that the cloth is thick enough so that the mustard paste doesn’t seep through. Remove the cloth if you feel burning or discomfort.
Ginger helps clear mucus out of your respiratory system. You can make a tea by steeping half a teaspoon of ginger in one cup of boiling water. For a little extra flavor, you can add some cinnamon, which is also an effective natural expectorant and helps with digestion as an added bonus. Ginger tea helps soothe sore throats as well (add some lemon to enhance that benefit).
Not only do onions make an excellent expectorant, but they also help kill off viruses and bacteria. If eating raw onion doesn’t sound appealing to you, try chopping it up and adding a little honey. You can also boil an onion in water, let it cool, take the onion out and drink the water with a teaspoon of honey. This will also help soothe a sore throat. Another good option is to make an onion soup with some oregano and garlic, which is also a fantastic natural remedy.
Almonds are rich in magnesium, which have proved effective in treating respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. You can just eat them, use a little sweet almond oil as a substitute for salad dressing, or drink some almond milk.
Making your own almond milk is fairly easy. Soak some skinned almonds in water overnight. On the next day, strain the water, put the almonds in a blender with some fresh water, and blend until the mixture is almost smooth (some recipes recommend blending for two minutes, adding some more water and blending again). After that, strain the mixture and drink. You can store homemade almond milk in the refrigerator for about four days before it goes bad.
Sweet bay leaves have also been effective in treating respiratory illnesses. You can make a tea by tearing a leaf and steeping it in a cup of boiling water. You can also ground the leaves and add them to a soup or stew. Don’t eat the leaves whole, however: they can cut the inside of your mouth and throat.
Other little everyday actions can help you work through the illnesses that hit around this time of year as well. The steam from a hot shower can help with nasal congestion. Drinking warm liquids and sleeping with your upper body at a slight incline can also help clear your nasal passages. These simple treatments can get you healthy so you can focus on celebrating another year of life with your friends and family.