February might be short in calendar days, but it can seem like the longest month of all. And with the Winter festival season over, but the cold dark days ongoing, the last thing you need is a stubborn cold!
Opinions are mixed when it comes to pharmaceutical medication for colds, with many advising to just tough it out with painkillers.
Luckily, our tried and tested natural remedies should compliment whatever route you’re taking …
Ginger is one of my favourite home remedies, I use it to cure nausea, period pain and ease my throat when I have a cold. I recommend finely chopping a good chunk of root ginger, removing the skin and letting it steep in boiling water until you have a warming pot of ginger tea.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger root will work to reduce swelling in your throat and airwave passages. Ginger may also discourage the production of harmful bacteria, which can result from complications in viral infections.
Salt Water (for gargling)
As a bunged up child, when my aunt made me gargle with salt water, I thought she was mad! I assumed the crystals would scratch my already painful throat. In fact, gargling with warm salt water instantly relieves the pain of a sore throat and can temporarily ease a chesty cough.
The salt draws excess fluid out of the throat, which reduces painful swelling. It also acts as a natural disinfectant.
Ingesting garlic is thought to both reduce the likelihood of getting colds, and shorten the time that one spends unwell.
These healing properties can be accessed quickly via garlic pills. But, as a garlic fan, I prefer ingesting the bulbs the old-fashioned way. This may result in being sickly and bad-breathed but the strong flavours may be just what you need!
A lesser known, but no less valuable, member of your natural tool kit, is mint.
I prepare mine as fresh mint tea, which is delicious whether sick or not. You could also invest in peppermint oil to dab on your chest – an alternative to chemically-based rubs.
Mint will help open up your airwaves as menthol reduces the thickness of phlegm and aids respiratory function. Like ginger, mint eases nausea, which can be a relief if you’re unlucky enough to be twice afflicted!