Your Natural Medicine Cabinet : Home Remedies for Coughs and Colds
Honey, I have the sniffles.
To be fair, there are as many home remedies for coughs and colds as there are sniffly noses in the world.
By no means are we going to cover them all today. I doubt you have eight straight reading hours to devote to Crunchy Betty.
These just happen to be a few of the remedies that I turn to first when there’s a cough or a cold looming in my house. They’ve served us well, and now it’s time to share the love.
For the record, other than an emergency flu medication that Fiance threw in the cart on a quick stop to the store before flying to California last year, I have made no traditional cough or cold medicine purchases in three years. That’s a long time. It’s, like, half of Justin Bieber’s life.
Do I feel like my cough and cold symptoms are worse because I’m not breaking out medications that kids use to get high?
Of course not.
And, not saying this is correlated, but I haven’t gotten sick NEARLY as often in the last two years, either. Hm. Funny how that works.
So here are my personal favorites in the cough and cold remedy department. Use them wisely.
(Please note, unlike other cough and cold medications, there is nothing in these that will be effective in a meth-making operation. Sorry.)
Crunchy Home Remedies for Coughs and Colds
Eucalyptus and Peppermint for Stuffy Noses
Easiest. Trick. Ever.
Combine equal amounts of eucalyptus essential oil and peppermint essential oil in a small bottle. Shake well. You can either inhale this directly by holding your nose over the bottle, or you can place a few drops in the palms of your hands, rub them together, and cup your hands over your nose and inhale deeply. I prefer the second way. It’s much more potent. Or, if you don’t want to run around smelling like natural medicine, you could drop a few drops on a paper towel and inhale from there.
It clears the sinuses immediately. And you can breathe again.
Licorice for Coughs
It seems people are either wildly in love with black licorice, or avoid it like the plague (funny, considering our topic). I happen to be in love with it. Don’t use this remedy unless you’re at least slightly tempted, occasionally, to buy a box of Good ‘n’ Plenty.
To use, you could either get yourself some licorice root (pictured below) or some licorice tea (also pictured below). Either way, just make a strong tea out of the stuff and drink it two or three times a day.
Licorice soothes throats that are sore and battered by coughing, and it also helps break up phlegm both in the throat and in the lungs.
(It should be noted that licorice isn’t recommended for people with high blood pressure.)
For The stuff in front is licorice root.
Make Your Own Sage Honey for a Sore Throat
I snagged this idea from the book Aromatherapy: Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate, and Heal by Valerie Gennari Cooksley, R.N. Between it and the elderberry syrup (below), I feel like we’ve got most of our sickness remedies covered. It’s been a lifesaver for moments when a sore throat creeps up.
It’s also really hard to keep around the house, because it’s so delicious that I put it in almost every cup of tea I make. Even when I’m not sick.
How to make it: Place 1-1/2 c. raw honey in a pot and add 1/4 c. fresh sage leaves. Stir slowly and heat on a VERY low temperature until sage leaves start to look “dry.” This means the healing properties of the sage have infused into the honey. Pull out the sage leaves and bottle in a clean, sterilized jar. This will keep in the cupboard for a year.
How to use it: Add one or two teaspoons to a cup of tea whenever your throat is feeling sore.
What it does: The honey is antimicrobial and antibacterial. The sage is soothing, disinfecting, and really effective against sore throats.
Use a Quick Honey/Lemon Gargle for Throat Pain and Congestion
I’m sure we’ve all used a saltwater gargle while suffering from throat pain, but you can take this idea one step further and help get rid of congestion in the throat, as well.
Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp honey to warm water. Mix well and allow to cool until tepid. Gargle with the mixture for 20-30 seconds, just as you would a saltwater gargle.
Elderberry Syrup for Treatment and Prevention
For those of you who are just joining us, there’s a vlog/recipe over here about how to make your own elderberry syrup.
I highly recommend you make some and keep it in your house over the winter. Just do it.
To recap how to make it (and please go to the post for more instructions), boil 1/2 c. dried elderberries (or 1 c. fresh) in 3 c. water for 20 minutes. Strain. Add the liquid back to the heat and reduce to 1 c. of liquid. To that, add 1/2 c. honey and 1/4 c. cherry brandy (optional). Stir well and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Take 1-2 tsp daily for prevention, and 3-5 tsp spread out over the day when you’re sick.
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you have any tried-and-true home remedies for coughs, colds, and sore throats that you can’t live with out?
Lemme have ’em, and I’ll feature them on the next episode of Your Natural Medicine Cabinet.
To be continued …
In *cough cough* crunch!