Art by Calita Hin
In the middle of the winter, you often find yourself tired, blue and accompanied by an irritating cough. The majority of people turn to over counter tablets that they eat like candy or better yet, ignore any kind of a cold they have until it becomes too late to treat it with gentle and natural components. There are a few (but very useful) products that we basically have all year round, however, using them during the colder season can profoundly impact your immune system and make those annoying coughs and sore throats go away.
The most popular and widely used natural products for the immune system are ginger, lemon, honey and cinnamon. I bet you can find all of these ingredients in your cupboard and if you run short on cinnamon or ginger isn’t stored in your fridge, you can easily find them at your local grocery. Now, here’s what you need to do to make their magic work.
Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in China. Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few. So if digestion isn’t your problem during the wintertime, use ginger as a medicine to fight colds or to fill your body with the vitamins. Slice or shred some ginger, mix it with one tablespoon of honey (again, using fresh is the best way) and one to two slices of lemon. For additional taste or vitamin, preferences sprinkle some cinnamon. Pour hot, but not boiling, water over it and drink at least twice a day. Also, make sure to enjoy this drink before flu or cold hits you, as it works best at prevention.
Honey is one of the best natural remedies to cure the irritating cough. Studies say that taking two teaspoons of honey before going to sleep can reduce your cough immensely and you’ll not only get a good night’s rest (which is very important for staying healthy and getting over the flu or cold) but also soothes your throat. Honey is believed to be as effective as the common cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan. If you are not into consuming two whole teaspoons of plain honey, heat up a cup of milk and mix it in. Hot milk will not only soothe your throat it will also relax you, leading to a calmer night.
First of all, lemon is rich in vitamin C, which is vital for your immune system. Lemons can cure fevers, cold and flu by increasing perspiration. You can squeeze some lemon juice in your tea or pour hot water over two slices of lemon and enjoy it. As lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies, get into the routine of drinking warm lemon water every day and you’ll be able to fight off those viruses that are running around you.
Cinnamon is an excellent warrior against the common cold. However, be clever, there are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon, known as true cinnamon and Casia cinnamon, the common kind which is used basically in every pastry or the commonly referred to “cinnamon.” Ceylon cinnamon is way better for you than Casia cinnamon, as using the latter in large doses can be harmful. However, finding Ceylon cinnamon is not that easy. If you’re buying dried fruits with cinnamon, read the ingredients to make sure it contains Ceylon cinnamon. Use cinnamon in your teas, sprinkle some in your coffee or even a hot chocolate! It is the tastiest and easiest to use spice. If you’re making pancakes in the morning, add some on top or mix in with your yoghurt. Get creative to stay healthy and happy!
In order to avoid flus and viruses, stay fit and eat well and try out natural products. I sound like your mom but eat a lot of vegetables, fruit and carbohydrates and don’t forget to drink water. Get enough of sleep and don’t wear yourself off too often. Wash your hands frequently, as catching bacteria from touching infected surfaces or people who are ill, is the easiest way.
After all, learn how to take care of yourself and adopt this kind of lifestyle. It will not only make you feel better but you will also get to enjoy the fun the colder season brings and you won’t miss out on family or friends gatherings!