Throughout January I have been suffering with illness. Having contracted the influenza virus, which there is nothing that modern medicine can do for, I then contracted bronchitis which needed treating with penicillin, and once that was over the common cold joined the party! This has caused me to look at the practice of home remedies.
‘Nature itself is the best physician’ – Hippocrates
- Ginger: Used for thousands of years in Asian medicine to treat stomachaches, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
- Honey: Helps soothe a cough and ease a sore throat due to its potent antibacterial effects and high amount of antimicrobial compounds. Local honey can ease hay fever symptoms as it is made from the local pollen. Don’t give honey to an infant or a toddler younger than 1 as there a risk of a rare kind of food poisoning that could be dangerous for them.
- Mint: Peppermint oil eases gut conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and constipation. As well as being good for headaches and nausea.
- Garlic: Used for centuries for its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal effects, which means it fights bacteria and viruses, and stimulates the immune system helping you avoid illness and recover faster when you get sick. It can also lower the risk of certain types of cancer, and lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
- Tea: Hot tea acts as a natural decongestant, helping clear the sinuses of mucus (not too hot that it irritates the throat). It contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and even some anti-cancer effects. Tannins are a type of polyphenol that are antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. Black tea can inhibit the bacteria growth in the throat, and echinacea tea may shorten the length of the cold or flu.
- Green tea: Contains powerful antioxidants that protect body cells from damage and help fight disease. It lowers the risk of heart disease and certain kinds of cancers.
- Coconut water: Provides the fluids, glucose, and electrolytes you need to stay hydrated while sick. It helps re-hydrate after exercise and mild cases of diarrhoea. It contains antioxidants that fight oxidative damage, and may also improve blood sugar control, but it can cause bloating.
- Bananas: These are a good source of nutrients and soluble fibre, which can help relieve diarrhoea.
- Yogurt: This is a good source of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals, and is easy to eat. Some contain probiotics, which can help strengthen the immune system, so you get sick less often and get better faster.
- Oatmeal: This is a good source of nutrients and easy to eat. It stimulates the immune system and improves blood sugar levels. It contains beta-glucan (a type of fibre) that decreases inflammation in the gut, relieving symptoms such as intestinal cramping, bloating, and diarrhoea.
- Fruit: Many fruits contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that fight viruses and bacteria, and stimulates the immune system. Anthocyanins inhibit common viruses and bacteria from attaching to cells, while stimulating the immune system. The best sources are strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Berries have excellent anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-boosting effects.
- Vegetables: Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, as well as being great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. They contain beneficial plant compounds too that act as antioxidants, which protect body cells from damage and help fight inflammation.
- Salmon: This is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, which fights inflammation and boosts the immune system.
- Hot bath: This soothes muscles, bones, and tendons, easing the effects of arthritis, back pain, and joint pain. Warm water stimulates blood flow to areas that need comfort. Gently stretching while in the bath will also help to relieve symptoms. Steam from a hot bath helps stuffy noses and bad coughs. Congestion is caused by inflammation of nasal passages, and steam improves blood circulation, which helps the immune system to flush out viruses. It also loosens any mucus. Don’t make it too hot, especially if you have a skin condition, with the ideal temperature between 33 – 37 degrees Celsius.
Easy decongesting bath infusion: Add 1 cup of sea salt, 1 cup of Epsom salt, and 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to warm running water, mix well and relax.
Note: Please talk with your doctor or pharmacist before trying any home remedy, especially if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications, because some can affect how drugs work.
‘The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind’ – Paracelsus