The secret to a good life: laughter, friendship, food and awesome music.
Published June 3rd 2012
The common cold is caused by a virus; the most common strain being rhinoviruses. And with over 200 viruses out there it's almost impossible to avoid colds altogether this winter. However, there are many natural ways to help prevent catching a cold, or at least alleviate some of the symptoms for a speedy recovery.
Please note that if you are pregnant or taking medication, it is best to check with your doctor first before using any of these alternatives.
1. Trikatu - a powdered mixture used in Avuryedic practices to fight off colds. It is made from an equal combination of long pepper, black pepper, and ginger made into a powder. Another alternative is to use equal combinations of cardamom, ginger powder, black pepper, and cinnamon, and grind into a powder using a spice grinder. Consume with honey and/or warm water.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar - an antibiotic and antiseptic whose properties fight off bacteria and viruses. My fellow friend and writer, Emile, swears by it and has written an article all about its different health benefits, 'Apple Cider Vinegar: A cure for all'. Have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in water. You'll either enjoy the taste or shudder at the taste of apple cider vinegar. Undistilled apple cider vinegar is the most beneficial.
3. Honey and lemon juice in hot water really works wonders, particularly when you first begin to feel your throat ache. Honey is a decongestant and cientific studies have also shown that honey has anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. To get the maximum benefit, it is best to consume between 50-80g of honey. Lemon contains vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps boost the immune system. Another popular alternative is honey and lemon tea as tea contains caffeine, which is also an antioxidant. However it also dehydrates the body so remember to drink plenty of water too.
4. Another option for a sore throat is gargling rock salt dissolved in warm water. Salt is an excellent antibacterial, especially sea salt which contains additional trace minerals and nutrients, such as potassium, iron, manganese, calcium, and zinc.
5. Garlic - An all-round healing food that is not only used for preventing colds, but preventing a range of unwanted diseases and illness. An antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antibiotic. One of the best ways to prevent a cold or procure a speedy recovery. If the idea of eating raw garlic makes you squirm, try thoroughly crushing it with salt, using a mortar and pestle, and mixing it with some canned hommus or tahini for a tasty dip, or use in a salad. If you're worried about garlic breath, try some fresh parsley afterwards.
6. Ginger is another antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and decongestant. It helps promote healthy sweating which in turns helps detoxify the body and rid it of mucous. Use freshly-cut pieces of ginger in warm water to soothe your throat. For an extra immunity boost, add ginger to honey and lemon tea.
However it is best to take a holistic approach to avoid catching, or recovering from, a cold this winter; regular sleep, avoiding moving between very cold and very warm areas, washing your hands regularly—particularly before eating, or after blowing your nose or coughing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
If you have your own cold and flu concoction, please share them as we'd love to know!