Friday, March 12, 2010

10 natural and homemade remedies for coughs and colds - safe for pregnancy and toddlers

L'il B and have had a bad cough for almost 2 weeks now and it has turned into a nasty cold, so I went to the health food shop and fruit market yesterday to collect some supplies. Today has been all about combating the sickness and getting rid of it once and for all. Here are some natural remedies that help us out in times of need.

1. drink plenty of fluids
We’ve heard it before, but drinking lots is the best way to flush that cold through your system
Some excellent choices include: purified water, vegetable broth (low-sodium) and soup, freshly squeezed juice, herbal tea (thyme, chamomile and ginger with added manuka honey are all excellent choices for coughs and colds), hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice
2. ecoMILF’s immune boosting soup
Soup has been used throughout history as a healing food. It's easy for the body to digest while supplying us with high amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients and helps to flush out the system. When cooked slowly on a lower heat, the nutrients are retained in a soups broth, which is why broths are so potently beneficial.
Benefit of Each Ingredient

Garlic- high in anti-oxidants and is also highly anti-bacterial
Ginger- is also high in anti-oxidants and helps to soothe achey stomachs, and aids the body with digestion
Carrots- high in beta-carotene and vitamin C, carrots are used in Chinese medicine to improve long-term coughs
Shiitake Mushrooms- also used in Chinese medicine, they contain an active compound called lentinan which boosts the immune system
Swiss Chard- high in vitamin C
Herbs de Provence- (usually a mix of dried thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary (and others)) thyme possesses expectorant and bronchial antispasmodic properties, oregano is high in anti-oxidants and is also found to be antimicrobial
Orange juice and zest- the zest acts as an anti-inflammatory and the juice is high in vitamin C
Tofu- easy-to-digest, fresh protein is essential, as the body needs extra protein to fight an illness, but doesn’t want to work with hard-to-digest proteins like red meat
Borlotti beans- another simple protein source and are high in a number of minerals and vitamins
Cinnamon- has antibacterial and cough relieving properties

3-4 tbs olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 sm brown onions
1/2 block organic tofu
2 lg carrots, chopped into small pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
3-4 shiitake mushrooms (I used dried (soak for 20 minutes in advance until soft), but preferably fresh), stems removed, chopped into small pieces
3-4 leaves swiss chard, stems removed, chopped finely
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
zest and juice from 1 orange
1 tbs herbs de provence
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 170˚C
Put an oven-friendly pot on the burner at medium heat
Add onions, garlic and ginger and saute until soft
Add carrots, celery, mushrooms and swiss chard, stir and leave for 2-3 minutes
Add vegetable stock, water, orange juice and zest, herbs, cinnamon stick and salt and pepper
Bring to a boil
Turn heat off and add barlotti beans, stir
Put pot with lid on in the oven for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are soft


3. Cinnamon Toast

Cinnamon has antibacterial and cough relieving properties
Mix 1 tbs ground cinnamon with 1 tbs cane sugar and sprinkle over buttered toast
4. Fresh Pineapple
Pineapples are high in vitamin C and also contain bromelain which is a natural cough suppressant- and loosens mucous
5. Homemade Vapour Rub
Pour sweet almond oil into a small vial and add 3 drops eucalyptus or peppermint oil**, rub into chest and back in the morning and before sleep.
As any Australian will tell you, eucalyptus oil vapor is a decongestant

6. Handkerchiefs
Soaked in warm water with 2-3 drops it of lavender oil** in it to wipe sensitive noses
7. Homemade Cough Syrup:
Mix 1 tbs apple cider vinegar and 1 tbs manuka honey*, drink 2-3 times a day
Apple Cider Vinegar- is a natural bacteria-fighting agent that contains many vital minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon and fluorine
Manuka Honey- is a natural antibiotic and soothes a sore throat

8. Homemade Cough Drops (made with honey and thyme tea)

see here for recipe, add sticks for younger children to hold to reduce choking hazard.
9. Slice a large brown onion in half and place it next to the your bed or the little one’s cot. I can’t swear by it myself, but it’s an old wive’s tale that has been tried, tested and proved effective.
10. Get a little bit of fresh air and sunshine. The temptation is to stay inside in your PJs all day, but the vitamin D we get from the sun is an essential immune system regulator, and every Grandma will swear a little fresh air is the best remedy for anything.
Of course you should also get lots of sleep/rest/and cuddles in. Allow the dirty dishes to pile up, enlist help in the form of spouse, grandparents and friends, have a nap instead of mopping the floors.
**Many health professionals advise against the use of essential oils during pregnacy as there has been little research in this regard. Some oils have been found to stimulate mild uterine contractions. Do your own research, talk to your doctor and use your commonsense. Sexual intercourse and physical activity also cause uterine contractions and if you are having a normal pregnancy and have no history of miscarriage all of these things should be fine.
*Honey occasionally contains a spore of the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum which can cause a rare form of food poisoning (botulism) in babies. Although this is very rare, health professionals advise babies under one year of age should not be given honey.
Disclaimer- Please note that I am not, and do not claim to be a health professional. These remedies were concocted based on my own experiences as a mother, and are based on research and consultation with naturopaths and other alternative health professionals. If you or your young one is sick with a high fever or a consistent cough or cold please see you doctor for medical advice and treatment.


Cath @ chunkychooky said...

great post, very timely. Thanks for making the effort that went into writing all of that down.

Kristi said...

You are such a wonderful wealth of information. After all those years living in Pineapple country I have never heard that pineapples were a cough suppressant.

Katy said...

Oh you are such a wealth of information! We also always put a peeled onion in a bowl in our rooms as apparently it gathers all the germs from the room. Thank you for all the info....I think this post will go on the fridge for this winter!

Erin said...

I just found you over at Che & Fidel and I'm glad I did. You have a beautiful blog :) And this post is wonderful ... chalk full of good info.
Much Peace.

faerwillow said...

~plum full of goodness you always have...these are wonderful and will be saving...and putting to use! brightest blessings and well wished for you and yours~

Sandrine said...

Wonderful post loaded with really good informations...I did not know about the pineapple eather! In Provence we live on garlic, thyme and honey and I still remember making lemon, thyme and honey "tisane" at the first sight of a sore throat, still do! :)

angelina said...

i am a firm believer in garlic, ginger, and honey. as much as i love the vampires, they just won't visit me...(thanks for these wonderful recipes!)xx

Debbie said...

I've tried the onion (a regular white one) and it works great! My mom suggested it several times and suddenly I caved. I guess there is something to these remedies.

Stephanie G. said...

I always see this little sidebar when I visit your blog. I've got a rockin' summer head cold so I thought I'd actually click on it and see what I could find. I think a bedtime snack of cinnamon toast and hot water with lemon and honey will help my homemade vapor rub work all the better. Thanks for all the comprehensive info!

Stephanie :)

Jhell@How To Get Rid Of A Cold said...

Drinking hot tea can also help you on how to get rid of a cold fast. Tea brings a soothing relief to your sore throat as well as melts the mucus in your nose by inhaling the steam.

Rochelle's Lenz said...

We are nearing the end of spring and our weather has been warm and cold. Great for breeding germs! And the pollen is out in force so I am not sure if I have a sinus infection, cold or hayfever. I do know that your soup is going down so so well and I may devour all of that which I have made. I must try the onion in my daughters rooms too. I have failed with garlic socks with them, giving them little burnt feed! Oh dear. Thanks, as always I love you writing and sharing.
Arohanui x

Kim Benson said...

My mom swore by this if we had a sore throat and believe me it works.. Take a slab of really fatty Bacon and let sit on the counter until room temperature. Next put it in a dish towel and coat it with lots of black pepper, attach to the throat when they are heading to bed and leave on all night. In the morning take it off sore throats gone. Warning though animals will like the smell of Bacon and also it will be making noises as if you were cooking it...

Kim Benson said...

My mom swore by this if we had a sore throat and believe me it works.. Take a slab of really fatty Bacon and let sit on the counter until room temperature. Next put it in a dish towel and coat it with lots of black pepper, attach to the throat when they are heading to bed and leave on all night. In the morning take it off sore throats gone. Warning though animals will like the smell of Bacon and also it will be making noises as if you were cooking it...

Bec Blurton said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you! <3


Anonymous said...

I've read several sources saying thyme is bad in pregnancy... Ironically enough! Make sure research is thorough before taking anything in (as you've said) :) Thanks for the other tips though!

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