My top remedies for when you feel unwell
We all know the feeling… scratchy throat, snuffly nose, sore muscles...
Yuck! No one wants to feel this way for long ... thankfully there are some amazing herbs, spices and remedies that can literally stop a virus in its tracks, reduce your symptoms and reduce the duration of your illness, so let’s get into it and kick those symptoms to the curb!
At the onset of a cold or flu:
At the onset of a cold or flu you want to be using herbs that stimulate the immune system. Three main herbs I use for this function are Elderberry, Echinacea and Ginger.
I’ve mentioned this wonderful berry before but it’s worth repeating! Elderberries can shorten the duration of a cold or flu and reduce your symptoms. They contain the protein ‘hemagglutinin’ which inhibits the ability of a virus to penetrate a cell wall, which in turn stops the virus’s ability to replicate. How cool is that?!
Elderberries are also immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. What’s more, they taste delicious in syrups, cordials and herbal teas. You can grow them easily yourself or purchase them dried.
Ginger is a potent antimicrobial and has many helpful applications for colds and the flu. Ginger’s volatile oils stimulate the immune system to fight both bacterial and viral infections. It’s wonderful for upper respiratory infections. Ginger (especially dried ginger) is very warming, so this is a great spice to use if you’re experiencing coldness or the shivers.
Echinacea has almost become the cold and flu herb in recent years however, despite what a lot of marketers would have you believe, it was never traditionally used for this. Historically it was used for everything from infected wounds, acne, boils and septicaemia to warts, venomous bites and fevers. Even to this day herbalists use Echinacea to treat infections – especially recurring boils, acne or other types of skin abscess.
While Echinacea is truly wonderful at helping prevent colds or flu, it really only works its magic at the onset, so consider keeping it on hand for times of need rather than using it for the duration of a cold or on a regular basis.
Echinacea is available in tablets, tinctures, teas – you name it!
Cold + Flu Armour tea
Cold + Flu Armour is the tea I drink at the onset of feeling unwell. It is brimming with Elderberries, Ginger and Echinacea (as well as Astragalus, Cinnamon and Rosehips) and really packs a punch! Think of this tea like an army going into battle for you; best at the onset but less effective for long term use. It is like the canon ball being hurled over the castle wall. Once it’s made its impact, send in the other troops….
My special DIY Lemon & Ginger tea with a twist
(the other troops!)
OOOh you’re going to love this remedy! In addition to the above (yes I drink a lot of fluids when I’m unwell) I make a fresh herbal tea from the following (and don’t worry about copying and pasting, I’ll have a lovely PDF for you at the bottom of this page)
Ginger: 2cm knob of fresh ginger (grated or thinly sliced)
(Nutritional benefits discussed above)
Turmeric (preferably fresh) 1-2cm (grated or thinly sliced) otherwise 1tsp of Turmeric powder
Turmeric is best known for its anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant properties. It also assists to regulate our immune system. When Turmeric is consumed by itself its nutrients are not easily assimilated so it’s best to combine it with a fat. That’s where coconut oil comes in…
Coconut oil (about 1 tablespoon).
Coconut oil is considered a superfood in its own right, but when you combine Coconut oil and Turmeric they’re a match made in heaven. They bring out the best in each other by unlocking more nutrients. We mix these two ingredients before adding in the others.
1 Lemon juiced
Lemons are very rich in Vitamin C so they are brilliant when you’re unwell
Lemongrass – 1-2 stalks (I use the leaf but you can use the root too if you want a stronger flavour). Lemongrass helps to prevent infection, relieve anxiety, lower cholesterol, and relieve pain. I use Lemongrass as I love the refreshing taste and it’s health properties are a bonus.
Honey to taste
Raw honey is wonderfully soothing on the throat and also helps to kill bacteria - great for a sore throat.
Firstly, combine the coconut oil and turmeric in a small bowl and stir. If the coconut oil is hard add a little boiling water to the bowl. Let it sit for a minute or two while you prepare the other ingredients.
Add the turmeric mixture, ginger, lemon juice and lemongrass to your teapot and fill with boiling water (about 90 degrees). You don’t want the water to be hotter as it can reduce the nutritional value of some herbs.
Brew for about 10 minutes, then strain tea into your cup and enjoy!
Some other great options:
Bee Propolis – for sore throats and tonsilitis
If you experience sore throats propolis is a must-have (in my opinion). Bee propolis is a special substance bees make to line the walls of their ‘bee nursery’. Propolis protects the baby bees from pathogens as they grow. Propolis is therefore completely natural and very powerful at killing off bacteria in your throat. I first heard of propolis in an interview with the CEO of Beekeepers Naturals – a Canadian company that goes to great lengths to ensure their bees are properly cared for and collecting pollen from strictly organic sources. Check them out here: https://www.beekeepersnaturals.com. Their propolis throat spray has seen my family through many sore throats and it certainly reduces the pain and duration of the soreness.
Throat + Cough tea – for sore throats and irritating dry coughs
If you are prone to getting sore throats or persistent dry coughs I recommend giving my Throat + Cough tea blend a try. The herbs I use in this blend help to kill bacteria in your throat, ease irritation and reduce swelling. They also assist in alleviating irritation in the respiratory system and are useful for both bronchitis and dry coughs.
The key flavour is Sage. Throat + Cough tea is naturally sweetened with Licorice Root, making it super smooth and delicious. Exactly what you need for some relief!
Ahhh one of my favourites, not just when my family or I are ill, but also to keep us well. We add it to porridge and soups, we add it to the slow cooker when cooking meat or casseroles, and sometimes we just warm it up and drink it straight. I love consuming it this way, especially after a long day when I feel depleted. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, trace minerals, chondroitin sulphates, and glucosamine. Broth is very healing for your gut and is easily digested, making it a wonderful remedy even in the most restricted of diets.
The beauty of making bone broth is that you can add any veggies, herbs and spices you like. I add Astragalus Root to mine as this herb helps to strengthen the immune system. Coriander seeds, thyme and rosemary are all great options too. Where possible try and use organic ingredients, especially the bones – these should be pasture fed and finished also. Remember – the better the quality, the more healing your broth will be. I’ll go into more detail about bone broth and share my recipe with you in my next blog as it deserves a post of its own!
Last thing – above all, remember to rest. Nothing gets rid of a cold or flu faster than complete rest!
Recipe download: Lemon & Ginger tea with a twist