Show Cold Season Who's Boss

Image from Connecticut Valley Biological.
We're coming into the time of year when runny noses, sneezes, and chest congestion are the norm and summer days are a thing of the past. While experts agree that colds can't be cured, they can certainly be shortened. Click here for lots of amazing information about how colds fundamentally work.

Studies suggest the majority of colds are "caught" not through the air, but by touching something (light switch, surfaces) and then touching the face. Keep that in mind, and wash your hands accordingly!  Also be sure, as always, to get plenty of sleep and keep your body fit with regular exercise. If you do end up with a bad case of the sniffles, here are our favorite immune-boosting recipes for scaring away all the germs of Autumn.

The Power of Water
From Mother Earth News
When you come down with a cold or the flu, your respiratory tract works hard to expel the invading viruses along a veritable “Slip ’n Slide” of mucus. Rather than drying those mucus secretions with an over-the-counter antihistamine, it’s better to accelerate the healing process by thinning them, thus making it easier to expel them.

The best way to thin mucus secretions is to add water to your system by drinking warm liquids, especially herbal teas and soup broth. If you have access to a steam shower, use it. If not, bring a quart-size pot of water to a boil, remove it from the stove and place your face a comfortable distance from the steam, then cover your head with a towel. Inhale through your nose if you’re stuffy, or through your mouth for chest congestion.

You can augment the power of steam by adding a handful of decongesting, antimicrobial herbs to the boiled water, then covering the pot and allowing them to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Great herbs fort his are eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary and peppermint.

Homemade Decongestant
, as posted at Titus 2 Homemaker
This homemade decongestant is good for breaking up chest congestion so you can clear it out. Anyone old enough to eat honey can take it.
  • 1 c. honey
  • 1 c. lemon juice
  • 5-7 radishes
  • 1 sm. red onion
  • 6 garlic cloves (If my cloves are super-small, I use a couple more.)
  1. Wash, peel, and trim the vegetables as appropriate, and cut the onion into 2-4 chunks.
  2. Dump everything into the blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Strain.
  4. Refrigerate between uses, for up to a week or so.
  5. TO USE:
  6. Adults take 2 Tbsp. once a day, or more as needed/desired.
  7. Children take 1 Tbsp. once a day, or more as needed/desired.
  8. Should begin expelling within 24 hours. (We have typically noticed it kicking in within the first couple hours.)
Tomato Tea

This gem was passed along to us from a neighbor. We—and everyone else we've since recommended the recipe to—swear by it. 

  1. Heat up a mug of tomato juice (with or without a bouillon cube) to boiling. 
  2. Add 1 fat clove of crushed garlic.
  3. Stir.  
  4. Drink two a day (morning and late afternoon) for 10 days.
This concoction will supposedly start to work within three to five days. Can't stand tomato juice? Just use broth or water with bouillon in it. 

Three Words: Apple Cider Vinegar
From Yahoo
A shot of apple cider vinegar will cut through your congestion. It does taste awful, but the benefits of swigging down a shot of vinegar are amazing. Vinegar kills bacteria, and cuts through the congestion helping you to breathe better. Do not over do it, just a small amount works wonders. Repeat this process every six to eight hours, not before, it will give you an upset stomach if you drink too much of it.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.