Home remedies for the common cold
Ah, the common cold. Recently I came down with a bad one, and it got me thinking about home remedies. Here are the things I do when I feel a cold coming on. These are in no way intended to be a substitute for a medical doctor’s opinion–these are just my tips and tricks to share!
1. Gargle with apple cider vinegar. Yes, really. I know you are recoiling in disgust right now, but–hang on. This really works. Start with about 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and maybe dilute it with warm water. As you get used to it, you can increase the concentration of the vinegar. You may even be able to swallow a few sips. This is my favorite remedy, and I go for the vinegar the minute I start to feel that scratchy throat coming on. Some people like to gargle with warm water and salt, which is fine, but that only soothes the throat. Apple cider vinegar helps heal because it contains natural anti-bacterial properties.
2. Drink hot water with lemon and honey. Remember that old saying, “starve a fever, feed a cold”? Yeah, me neither! What I do know is that your body needs lots of liquids to fight off a cold virus. This can be challenging when your throat is really sore. Try this: squeeze a quarter of a lemon into your mug, add hot water, then stir in a little honey. It is wonderfully soothing, and it helps you stay hydrated. You can vary the amounts of lemon juice and honey, of course, and some people even recommend limes instead of lemons. The lemon juice helps with congestion, and the anti-bacterial agents in honey help reduce swelling.
3. Soak in a hot bath with epsom salts. When I get sick, it feels like my core turns to ice, and I can’t get warm no matter what I do. (Once, when I was staying at a hotel, I actually slept with my coat on.) A hot bath with plenty of epsom salts will do wonders. The magnesium in the salt absorbs into your skin and draws out impurities. If you’re getting body aches, an epsom salt bath with help you feel better quickly. Alternatively, if you have access to a sauna or steam room, try sweating out the virus.
4. Use the neti pot. I love my neti pot. Here’s what you need to keep your sinus passages clear: distilled water, ionized salt, a neti pot, and Nasya oil. Warm up the water (I use the microwave) then stir in the salt and a few drops of Nasya oil, which helps lubricate and soothe the nasal passages. The sinus rinse keeps everything clear, and the Nasya oil can actually prevent irritants and viruses from attaching.
5. Try turmeric. If I’m still feeling achey, I reach for the turmeric capsules. Turmeric helps reduce inflammation. When I can’t get into an epsom salt bath, turmeric is the next best thing.
These are my five favorites for treating a virus. What are yours?
P.S. While these home remedies are a great place to start, sometimes a girl needs Sudafed and Robitussin, or a doctor’s visit and antibiotics. Just like modifications in a yoga practice, you’re the only one who can decide what type of care is best for you.