Natural cold remedies from the pantry

Last month was pretty much the busiest month I've experienced in my life. I was so busy, I was getting up at five and going to bed at one, or two, or three, every night.

Day after day, night after night, I worked, and rubbed my stinging eyes, and coughed up dust from the renovations that were also going on around me. Mr B start a new job so he also was ridiculously busy. We barely saw each other except to sigh and to say "This life is crazy!" as we passed each other, bleary-eyed, in hallways at dark hours when ordinary people should be sleeping. The house became filthy. I can't even begin to tell you how filthy. 

And, not even remotely surprisingly, I caught a cold that I couldn't shake. 

When the symptoms just wouldn't let up, and I was denied the best remedy of all (sleep!) I put out the word on Instagram to see what other people recommended when it came to natural remedies for sore throats, stuffy noses, sinus headaches and general funkiness.

The advice was so helpful (I'm all better now!), and entirely achievable with a handful of ingredients from the pantry, that I thought I'd share some of the remedies with you, and painted some little illustrations to show them some love. There is nothing toxic in here, and no brand names, just nature's own cold-busters and immunity-boosters. 

@michellecrawford suggested a Turmeric Tonic by Meghan Telpner: juice together ¼ cup of fresh ginger root, ¼ cup fresh turmeric root, one peeled orange, and one peeled lemon. Mix 30ml (1oz) of this mixture together with a cup of hot water. (Keep the rest for later). Stir in raw honey, ghee or coconut oil, and sip. Repeat every two hours.


@ohmabeldreams suggested a mixture of honey, lemon, and apple-cider vinegar


@plantivorousrex said sopa de ajo (Spanish garlic soup) was the way to go for a cold-fighting meal. I found this recipe on SBS. 

@plantivorousrex also recommended making an onion poultice to relieve congestion. I found this recipe from Sarah on The Healthy Home Economist: Chop and lightly saute two onions and in a splash of water. The onions should be lightly cooked, but not browned or caramelised. If you want to, add in ¼ cup of grated ginger. Carefully drain the onions (and optional ginger), and spread them out in the middle of a tea-towel. Fold the long sides of the tea-towel over the onions, then fold the ends over that (wrapping it "burrito style," Sarah calls this).

Making sure it is not too hot, place the onion poultice either on your chest, or on the souls of your feet, and leave it there for 20 minutes. Productive coughing should follow. The poultice can be gently reheated in the microwave and reused throughout the day, with a fresh one made every 24 hours or so

@rhibe said to eat raw garlic mixed with honey. "It is rough but always works for me."  Similarly, @justordinaryfolk recommended chopping up a raw garlic clove, then swallowing it down with a drink

@lydiaswildlifeart made hot orange drinks to fight colds: squeeze two oranges in a cup with two teaspoons of honey, then add hot water

@finevandewinkels suggested a mixture of freshly-grated horseradish and honey

Another recipe from @finevandewinkels was a drink made by mixing ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and honey with warm milk 

@beekeep.visitingwildflowers suggested mixing ginger, lemon and honey with a pinch of cayenne pepper. I'm not sure from there how it should be taken, either down in one gulp, or stirred into a hot water drink. Your thoughts? 

@dottyteakettle said "I swear by the curative properties of a powerful veggie thai green curry - hot as you can stand - made with lots of garlic, ginger and chilli." Here is a recipe from Jamie Oliver

@ofsimplicity suggested grating fresh ginger into a cup of tea, or just hot water, and adding a squeeze of lemon

@a.little.adventure shared a mixture that she said was disgusting, but helped: Mix cider vinegar, grated ginger, chopped chilli, garlic, and lemon juice together, then drink as shots

@onething_atatime shared her family's traditional recipe for a cold tonic. "My mum is Sri Lankan... this tonic was from her grandfather and best when drunk at that first tickle in the throat," she advised. Into a dry pan put 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, three cloves, and a one-inch piece of fresh ginger. Roast them over medium heat until the oils begin to release and the spices become fragrant, but do not burn. Now add another one-inch piece of ginger, this time finely sliced, and about 300 millilitres (just over one cup) of water, and boil vigorously for a minute or two. Strain the tonic into a cup, and add honey to taste. 

If you make a double batch you can top up the spices with boiling water and let them steep for the next time you need them, refreshing each batch about four times with water. The steam vapours are also good for clearing out the nose. 

@nadaelfaham recommended this practise for a sore throat: squeeze a lemon onto a tablespoon of honey without water. Do not swallow it right away, but try to keep it still for two seconds on your throat to make a fine coating. @nadaelfahm also suggested a ginger-lemon infusion - let it cool before adding honey. 

How about you? What is your go-to natural remedy for colds?