Even though it’s nearly spring (fingers crossed!) there are still some dastardly colds and viruses going around. Read on for our favourite ways to combat sniffles and coughs.
Besides the delightful fact that it’s both sweet and spicy, ginger is an excellent remedy for everything from a sore throat to an upset stomach. One of its main compounds, gingerol, is an anti-inflammatory that can help relieve inflammation in the nasal passageways and sinus cavities.
While you can buy ginger tea in bags, we prefer to use fresh ginger root which you can get at basically any grocery store. Simply peel the skin off a small section, slice it up (try to capture all the juice you can) and pour boiling water over it. You can add some honey and lemon for more flavour. Aren’t you feeling better already?
While it won’t necessarily provide instant relief, zinc does support a healthy immune system and make your cold symptoms less severe. There are loads of zinc-based remedies bobbing around, though we usually stick to the basic tablets.
When you’ve got the kind of cold that makes your head stuffy and your chest tight, there’s nothing better than taking a steamy shower or bath. If you don’t have the time or energy to do that, though, you can create a smaller version with similar effects.
Find a large, heat-safe bowl and fill it with just-boiled water. For more effective decongestion, add some sage leaves or a few drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil. Hang a towel over your head (it’s ok to feel ridiculous) then lean your head over the bowl and use the towel to trap the steam. Take lots of deep breaths.
It’ll do wonders for your pores too — just make sure the water isn’t so hot it gives you burns.
We know, it sounds icky: but it’s an instant remedy for a stuffy nose and aching sinuses. We highly recommend using a neti pot (you can snag one from Chemist Direct for less than £15) and nasal wash, but you can make do in a pinch with non-iodized salt and any small container with a spout.
All you’re doing is clearing your nasal passageways by pouring water into one nostril and letting it flow out the other. Once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll feel pretty accomplished. You want to start with filtered water that is warm, but not hot, and dissolve the salt or nasal wash into it (if you have a neti pot, you can do this directly in the pot).
Then lean your head forward over the sink, and tilt it slightly to one side: you want your head to be an angle, so that one nostril is sort of on top of the other. Slowly pour the water mixture into the top nostril. You might have to adjust your head’s position by tilting it more forward or to the side. It will feel a bit funny, but you’ll be able to tell when the water is flowing from one nostril to the other. When you’ve finished one side, blow your nose, then do the other side. Presto! You can breath through your nose again.
What? Whiskey kills germs! According to the British Journal of Nutrition, moderate alcohol consumption can boost the immune system: at the very least, it’ll help you sleep. And there’s a whole history of warm soothing alcoholic beverages, from grog to hot toddies.
While we wouldn’t recommend taking shots, we do know that you can make a killer cough syrup by mixing together one tablespoon each of whiskey, honey and lemon juice. Maybe keep it out of the hands of any young children, though.
What are your go-to cold remedies?