It’s Coming, the Season of Ick!
You know what I’m talking about. First, your friend gets a sniffle, then your brother says he has a sore throat, then it feels literally like the first episode of “The Walking Dead”! You’re hiding out in your house not letting anyone visit for fear of getting whatever cold, flu, or virus they have. Because you are definitely not Down With the Sickness! So how do you confidently traverse the fall and winter and all the germiness it brings? Herbal home remedies.
But why would you choose herbal remedies over commercially available medicines? One of the biggest reasons is bad reactions to medication. Many of the cough or cold remedies available over the counter can’t even be used by children under the age of 12. Not to mention the fact that they may contain unwanted ingredients like added sugar.
Best Herbal Remedies for This Time of Year
These herbs may help shorten sickness when taken at the first signs of illness. They may also help boost your immunity to prevent you from getting ill. You may notice many of the herbs on the list are commonly used in our holiday foods. Coincidence? I think our ancestors were smarter than we give them credit.
Preventative (Good for immune support)
- Garlic- There are a lot of ways to use garlic to boost immunity. One of my favorite ways to get some garlic in is to just put it in more of our foods. Or to put it in my immunity boosting lemon, chicken soup.
- Cayenne- This herb is another one you can just add a dash to any dish to help boost your immunity. Some people make fire cider and have a good amount of cayenne added to that. It stimulates blood flow and secretions. You know that nose clearing effect spicy food has on you. Use gingerly if you aren’t used to anything with heat.
- Cinnamon- Adding cinnamon to a hot cider or any sweet dish can help with immunity and may help prevent infection.
- Ginger- With it’s antimicrobial and anti-nausea abilities ginger is always great to have on hand during the winter months. It is great in ginger ale (I like homemade), candied ginger, or added to season certain dishes.
- Cloves- Can be added to elderberry syrup to help boost immunity. It is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It’s also good to have cloves on hand for tooth pain. I like them best in gingerbread cookies.
- Thyme- Thyme is a great antimicrobial and antioxidant as well. You can steep it as a tea to help prevent illness. Or my favorite as a seasoning on Thanksgiving turkey. It can help with fevers, digestion, and coughs.
Treatment (for helping ease the illness)
- Elderberry- I’m sure you’ve probably seen many recipes around that incorporate elderberry. Whether it’s in suckers, gummies, or syrup elderberry helps as a cough suppressant and lessen the length of any cold or flu. Elderberry syrup is the best herbal way to handle an illness especially if there is a cough involved.
- Honey- This amazing antibacterial can be used in so many ways. Who doesn’t love honey added to a nice hot cup of tea? Bet you didn’t know it was good for you too! I always recommend people buy local honey because in the spring it can help you build up a resistance to your local airborne allergens. Honey is also really great for sore throats and it also helps with sleep. Remember honey is not recommended for children under the age of 1 year.
- Oregano- This herb is a powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal. It also tastes amazing! I know it might sound odd but it can be used in tea to help lessen the effects of colds or flu.
- Lemon or really any citrus fruit- Vitamin C! Mom was right vitamin C is vital to not only help your immune system prevent illness but also lessen the duration of them. I always like to stock up on mandarins this time of year because it’s when they come into season and they help me get my vitamin C. Lemon is also great with honey and hot water to help soothe a sore throat.
- Rosemary- Rosemary is another great antiviral and antibacterial. Steep in some hot water and if you don’t care for the taste add some honey.
- Bone Broth- Add some chicken or beef bones to water in a crockpot and cook on low for at least 8 hours. You can add thyme, oregano, and rosemary to boost its effect. Drain off the broth and store in a jar in the refrigerator. Not only is it yummy but it soothes the throat and tummy.
- WATER ( I know it’s not an herb, but staying hydrated while you’re sick is super important in aiding the healing process.)
Generally Good Advice
Whenever we approach the fall and winter months it’s just a wise idea to avoid the things that cause us to get sick. Avoid others that are sick. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid sugar (I know it’s hard during the holidays). Wash your hands regularly. And of course, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. But it’s good to know we have this amazing arsenal of remedies that God has given us for when we’re not feeling so hot.
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