Tuesday, June 10, 2014

how to cure a head cold

Mid last week I woke with a razor blade throat and it pained me to swallow. I admit, I knew it was coming; I was run down, a little anxious about work and the sudden onset of winter was a bit of a shock to the system.

The dreaded head cold seems to be doing the rounds in a few households so I thought I'd share a few remedies I've used over the past week to keep the symptoms as mild as possible. The following concoctions have been comforting and restorative and I'll make sure I have the ingredients on hand (at all times) for the remainder of winter.

chicken broth - a meal in itself (and the basis for so many wintry recipes) I always make sure I have a freezer full of chicken broth, especially beneficial when sickness strikes as it strengthens and supports the immune system. I tend to make a batch every week and freeze it in glass containers or recycled Bonne Maman jam jars.

The easiest and most frugal way to make broth is to use the leftover carcass from a roast chook. I place the following ingredients in a deep pot, bring to a light boil and then turn the element to low and let the broth simmer for seven hours.

1 organic chicken carcass
1 organic garlic clove (generally a lot bigger and more pungent than the non-organic variety)
2 brown onions
a handful of celery leaves and stalks 
2 carrots
a slug of apple cider vinegar
a few bay leaves
a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
a handful of flat-leaf parsley (or a bit of rosemary, some thyme etc)
enough water to just cover the ingredients

Once the broth has cooked and cooled I strain the liquid through a sieve and into various glass containers. This is the basis for the most amazing chicken soup (especially if you use leftover roast chicken, potatoes and carrots). I eat it with lots of cracked pepper and fresh herbs when I'm sick.

eucalyptus balm - I've been rubbing this on my chest three times a day for the past week and occasionally inhaling it straight from the jar when I was feeling heavy headed. It has really helped my breathing at night, too.

citrus juice - Oranges and lemons (straight from the neighbour's tree - lucky!) and ginger freshly juiced to create a potent vitamin C shot.

soothing tea - when I have a sore throat I immediately seek cold drinks but it's warm, spicy tea that is the most beneficial. I regularly sip tea made with fresh lemon juice, sliced ginger, a teaspoon of turmeric and raw honey (I have a cup on my bedside at night to sip when coughing wakes me).

epsom salt baths - one of the most efficient ways of absorbing magnesium, make sure you pour the salts into the bath while the water is running and stay in for at least 30minutes. I add a few drops of lavender oil to relax and soothe. 

lemon and eucalyptus oils - I recently purchased a doTerra oil diffuser and love it. I use it every day and have been diffusing eucalyptus, lemon and doTerra's "on guard" oils to kill germs and clear the air. Beeswax candles also do wonders for clearing the air and minimising allergens in the home (I burn them every night at this time of year). 

salty water - an oldie but a goodie; gargle salty water three times a day to relieve a sore throat. Swallowing a teaspoon of raw honey also works.

What's your fail-safe remedy for the dreaded winter cold?


35 COMMENTS

  1. I hope you feel better by now. My favorite home remedy for a bad cold is the lemon juice and honey version. Lemons are full of vitamin c and honey has an anti-inflammatory effect. My mum swears by pure vitamin c powder but not every stomach tolerates it.

    Kati from black.white.vivid.

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  2. It spread through our household just last week. We had everyone take a spoonful of manuka honey before bed. I also swear by olive leaf extract (mixed in a little juice for kiddies who may find the taste too bitter on its own). In a moment of desperation, I actually ate two whole raw garlic cloves... It was awful! Take care and hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Olive Leaf Extract works a treat, doesn't it. I actually don't mind the taste of raw garlic (it's far better than most of the herbal tonics I've had over the years) x

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    2. We pickled some garlic last year and it's kind of in between the taste of raw and roasted; though I also don't mind the taste of raw garlic. Artemis Virogone on the other hand...effective, though I immensely dislike the taste! http://artemis.co.nz/virogone.html

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    3. We haven't used Olive Leaf Extract much - we have a little spray bottle of it to keep on hand for use out and about, but I must look into it further. Our Naturopath recommended the best way to take raw garlic is to swallow whole - unpeeled, the tiny cloves you find in the middle (you can trim off the tiny tail and base if you think it will be too difficult to swallow like that). They are like little capsules then - no garlic after effects of garlic breath and no bad garlic taste as you take them. You do have to be conscious of how many/much you take as they are quite strong and can be very powerful. But we love to include these little raw garlic bombs in our healing regime!

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  3. I just love your blog! do I put a whole roast chicken in? cooked or with chicken off?

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    1. EB - We normally use the chicken carcass left over from a Roast Dinner. It's a frugal way to make great use of a whole chicken. When the carcass is done boiling you can pick it over to remove all the tender meat unlocked through the stock making and use it in a little chicken and vegetable soup.

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  4. I eat more garlic or take low odour capsules! Also love a hot toddy of an evening (whiskey, lemon, honey & cinnamon) - in fact had this all day at my wedding when I had a bad cold!

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    1. Oh I've not had a hot toddy - but saw them in Matthew Evans' "Winter on the Farm" and they look so deliciously and wonderfully Wintery! I notice a dew readers have commented about them here! Even if I can't drink them (breastfeeding) I might have to make them for friends this year at Solstice! ;)

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  5. For for all germs we eat tons of garlic, onion and thyme, oh and elderberry extract (good eneough for my old American Indian nana good eneough for me, and I'm stupidly interessted in the healing properties of food, so now I know she was right all along) but he best sore throat cure I have used(kicks the soreness right out ) tea steeped normally with cloves and a good amount of raw honey add a table spoon of coconut oil and sip as usual... The clove is a natural pain reliever the honey soothes and coconut I will kill the germs (honestly look up the benefits of coconut oil, it's amazing) my son, who will be six next month even asks for it when his throat hurts because it works right away and after a day of it the soreness is gone (my little agrees) you can use any tea but I think c

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  6. I swear by a hot toddy, thought I think it's more a placebo than anything :)

    Knob of ginger
    1 tsp honey (or more to taste)
    Juice of 1/2 a lemon
    1 shot brandy (optional!)

    Place all in a large mug. Muddle the ginger and then top with boiling water. Sip slowly.

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  7. Great post Jodi. This will sound completely weird to some readers but here it is: at the first sign of a cold cut an onion in half and place it near your bed or your child's bed, the onion releases sulphur which is detoxifying. Really it works! X

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    1. I was going to mention the onion thing too! My 13 month old & I have been fighting head colds these past few days & I swear the onion helps. Everyone I've told about it over the past year swears it works too. So simple & easy but oh so effective :)

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    2. We too do the onion thing - we just poke holes in the onion with a skewer and put it in a bowl though. We find they are so beneficial to keeping the air purified in a home of healing folk.

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  8. Such a useful, informative post. My cold turned into a chesty thing and is still lingering - I have been adding citrus and fresh ginger to all my teas - I do the same as you at night with a jar (or mug) of tea by my bed. We got this tea at work for the winter season - it's pretty strong but great http://www.tleaft.co.nz/anti-cyclone-herbal-infusion.html . I've got to locate some Epsom salts soon for sure.

    Also you know I'm already sold on the benefits of broth! Enjoy feeling better xx

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  9. Also - in terms of boosting immunity before a cold hits, taking an occasional zinc supplement can be quite effective particularly for people who don't eat a lot of meat (beef and lamb are zinc-rich).

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  10. As I said above I totally agree with the cut onion in your room at night. I'm breast feeding at the moment so I really need to be rid of my head cold quick smart. Along with the onion this is what I've been using -

    Soup - chicken stock, lots of veggies , rice noodles all topped with an omelette
    Garlic, horseradish & vitamin C capsules
    Olive leaf extract
    Honey & lemon hot drinks
    Lots & lots of water
    Vaporiser with eucalyptus oil

    Hope your on the mend soon :)

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  11. Apple cider vinegar gargle! Takes away the sore throat in a day. I do it every two hours.

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    Replies
    1. oh yeah, ACV is a cure-all. love the stuff!

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  12. eucalyptus oil is IT for me. i like to add a few drops into filtered water and put that in a humidifier {if you don't have a humidifier, i've found boiling a large pot of water to be just as effective in getting mositure into the air}.
    thank you for sharing all these other tips, i'm particualrly fascinated with the epsom salt soak. i knew that it was effective in reducing aches and muscle soreness, but i had no idea that it draws out magnesium though it makes sense now. i love natural remedies and homeopathy - so cool!

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  13. I swear by this gorgeous lady's remedy http://kathleenmurphy.com.au/recipe/recipe-garlic-oxymel/

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  14. Hope you're feeling much better this week. I'm making a big batch of this now! x

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  15. i swear by this and now so do all my friends: http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Singhas-Mustard-Bath-8-Ounces/dp/B00016WU6A ...and thanks for sharing your tips!

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    1. des, was just going to say mustard bath! so good.

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    2. WOW - I've not heard of that, it looks fantastic - thank you. It seems easy to make up with ingredients already at home as well. Thank you :)

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  16. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention elderberry syrup! safe and so easy to get into little ones, too.

    http://www.yourfonderheart.com/2012/12/make-your-own-elderberry-syrup-i-did.html

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    1. Oh Emma, I've only just recently realised how wonderful elderberry syrup is for immune building. We made all our berries into jam this past season so we're just using that either as a spread or in a glass of water to make a drink this season - but next season we're definitely making big bottles of the syrup to have on hand for therapeutic use in the cooler months.

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  17. Thank you for this amazing post Jodi. Thyme tea with a dash of raw honey has been just the thing in this house this past week. Hope you recover soon.

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  18. I am all about cod liver oil taken everyday as a preventative! And high doses if you get sick. I do the onion by the bed trick that some people have mentioned, but recently I saw someone recommending half an onion held against your foot in a sock, worn to bed and thought I'd try that next time someone in the house is sick. Kellie xx

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  19. Jodi - thank you so much for this post and thank you to everyone for their additions in the comments - I'm about to go through and read them all now! Amidst our time of heavy heads, it was most appreciated to have you jog our memory of a few remedies that had slipped my mind.

    Rather than write an essay here in your comments - I put together a post on some of the other remedies we always love to use and have had our benches strewn with over the past few weeks as we've been cleansing out built up Summer mucus and waste. http://anotherday.com.au/natural-health/healing-winter-remedies/

    Hope you're all feeling better xxxx

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