Keeping colds at bay is an occupational hazard for most of us.
Air conditioned shops and offices, children picking up every bug going at school and keeping your home sealed up for warmth all contribute towards those little cold and flu bugs going forth and multiplying. Take a trip to the chemist and you are confronted by a mind boggling array of lotions, potions and pills all promising to provide instant relief (and most will certainly relieve your purse of a small fortune).
However, your own store-cupboard may provide almost all you need to see you through the cold season relatively unscathed.
As old fashioned as it sounds, there is evidence that homemade chicken soup can improve the function of the hair-like cilia, which fight against germs trying to enter the nasal passages. It can also protect the white cells that fight infection and inflammation. So when your roast is done and dusted, boil up that carcass and make a hearty broth!
Thyme, rosemary, ginger, chilli and horseradish are all excellent natural decongestants. Spice up mealtimes through the winter months and breathe more easily. Garlic has long been touted as an excellent natural remedy; however, the major benefits come from eating it raw, so you may not have your cold for long but you probably won’t have many friends either!
Infuse sage and lemon in boiling water and let it cool. Strain and use as a soothing gargle for sore throats. Alternatively, try lemon and ginger tea, hot with a spoonful of honey added to relieve sore throats and clear that 'heavy headed' feeling. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help ease cold symptoms, and although perhaps not the most palatable of nightcaps, turmeric and ginger mixed into a glass of hot milk can aid a more restful night.
Onions and leeks
Add them to your chicken soup to aid the fight against bacterial infection, unblock sinuses and act as a natural expectorant for coughs.
Oranges and lemons
The benefits of Vitamin C have, in the past, been slightly over rated as far as a 'cold cure' is concerned. It is widely accepted that there IS no cure for a cold. However, studies have shown that increased Vitamin C intake can lessen the symptoms and duration of a cold, particularly in children.
There is obviously a lot to be said for a couple of Paracetamol, a warm drink and a cosy bed when the bug hits, but incorporating cold fighters into our daily lives will give us a fighting chance when warding off those germs in the first place.
Finally, if it's all too late and you are in the throes of suffering, perhaps this traditional Canadian remedy may be of assistance:'
Place your hat on the table and drink well from a large bottle of whisky, until you see two hats. Get into bed and stay there'.