The holidays may be over but unfortunately, the cold and flu season is not! It’s hard enough returning to work, starting your resolutions, and getting back into the swing of things when you don’t feel ill! It’s almost impossible to be productive when you are down and out with a head cold and sore throat! Instead of fighting through the pain or relying on expensive and sometimes addictive medications to alleviate your symptoms, try these natural remedies! These drinks work in different ways to help support your body in fighting off the symptoms that make sleeping, breathing, and daily living so difficult during a bout of cold or flu.
The power of warm drinks
Warm drinks themselves do wonders for congestion because of their ability to lightly steam your sinuses. Sipping a warm beverage 3-4 times a day helps to soften and loosen mucus, soothe your membranes, and allow you to breathe easier and less painfully. Making an effort to consistently drink also helps hydrate your body, relieve the strain on your immune system, and flush out the sickness. Here are some helpful teas, drinks, and broths to be using and a little bit about why they are so helpful.
The Native American herb Echinacea is one of the most popular medicinal plants used today. It contains active substances that work to support your immune system to shrink the duration of the cold. In one particular study, people with early symptoms of cold and flu who drank Echinacea tea every day for five days felt better sooner than those who didn’t (1).The plant further helps by relieving pain, reducing inflammation, lowering fevers, and can even help your body fight viruses! There are some studies that show that it helps reduce the outbreaks of those pesky viral cold sores, so this is a great drink to include if you are prone to them (2)!
Not the fluffy stuff you put on s’mores, marshmallow root tea (made with the roots and leaves of the marshmallow plant) can help treat a sore throat. Marshmallow is a mucilage, which means it helps to coat dry and irritated membranes to alleviate throat pain. Sipping the tea can be a delicious and soothing option for your throat and stomach. Marshmallow in tincture form is also a great delivery method to relieve sore throats and a dry cough.
Ginger is a powerful plant with antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and pain relieving properties. Used by many, especially expecting mothers to treat nausea and upset stomach this medicinal root works wonders while being very gentle. Ginger also stimulates the opening of nasal passages for easier breathing and acts as a cough suppressor. Ginger also has a great flavor so it’s a great thing to add to soups, teas, wassails, and other foods when you’re feeling under the weather!
Broths made from simmering animal bones (for hours to days) are rich in nutrients found in marrow namely amino acids, calcium, magnesium, and other helpful nutrients to help give your body a boost when you’re sick. Bone broth is especially high in the amino acid cysteine which helps your body breakdown mucus. The combination of hydration, electrolytes, and protein found in bone broths perfectly support your immune system when you’re sick.
Honey and Lemon
This combination is both delicious, but nutrient packed to help your body fight off sicknesses. Lemon juice is very high in vitamin C, a nutrient that helps shorten the duration of a cold. Lemon juice also helps support your immune system by fighting inflammation and acts as an antiseptic to fight off the cold virus directly! Inflamed, irritated membranes will also benefit from a dose of honey. Honey is one of the best inflammation fighters and has been used for healing for many years. There are also infection-fighting enzymes found within honey that further work against the cold virus. No wonder drinking a combination of these two foods speeds up recovery when you’re sick!
Don’t worry next time you feel that dreaded tickle in your throat! Use these remedies as soon as your first symptoms arise and you will be back to work (and play!) before you know it! To get you started, try these throat-soothing recipes below!
1. Frank LG. The efficacy of Echinacea compound herbal tea preparation on the severity and duration of upper respiratory and flu symptoms: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study. J Comp Alt Med. 2000;6(4):327-34.
2. Ghemi A, Soleimanjahi H, Gill P, Arefian E, Soudi S, Hassan Z. Echinacea purpurea polysaccharide reduces the latency rate in herpes simplex virus type-1 infections. Intervirology. 2009;52(1):29-34.