How to cure a cold

Yesterday I got up with some serious post nasal drip and could already feel the itchy-scratchy starting at the back of my throat. It has been a tough winter for colds and flus, with more of my friends and family members getting infected and staying sick for longer. I have been lucky to not get sick again after the horrible three weeks I was down and out before Leia’s birth. Well, I decided, as I got up, that I was not about to let this slight infection get a holdfast on me and immediately started dosing myself with herbal teas and medicines. This is a diary of what I did, all natural, to try and get myself better:

Day 1
Winter Immune Tea
1 tsp Stinging Nettle Herb
1/2 tsp Echinacea Root (or 1 tsp Echinacea Herb)
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Drink 3x daily – morning, midday and evening

I cannot remember where I originally got this tea from, or if it is a brew I made up on my own, but I’ve been advocating it to everyone mentioning colds and decided that I’d better practice what I preach. The tea is not the best tasting herbal brew I’ve had, but its definitely also not the worst. The stinging nettle gives it a earthy grounded taste, while I think the echinacea is mainly responsible for the bitterness. The cayenne adds a pleasant dash of heat. All in all the first sip might catch you pulling your face strangely, but the second and third sips ‘acclimatise’ you and the rest will end up going down with only a slight twinge in your eye 😉

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is one of my favourite herbs – it is a blood tonic and contains vitamin C . Of course, Echinacea (Echinacea spp) is commonly accepted as an immune boosting herb. Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) is also a tonic herb and high in vitamin C and has been quoted as incomparible in warding off disease.

I also gargled with salt water at night before bed and dropped a few drops of OLBAS Inhalant Oil (a commercial mixture of Clove, Cajuput, Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, Peppermint, Terpentine and Menthol Oil) on my pillow.

Day 2
I woke up already feeling differently – the post nasal had definintely eased up a lot since the day before and my throat did not feel as sore, although it was still very scratchy.

Besides the immune tea, which I actually grew fond of, especially because of the slight tingle the Cayenne leaves on my sore throat when I drink it, I also made a cup of Thyme & Plantain Tea which I had around midday.

Thyme & Plantain Tea
1tsp Thyme
1tsp Plantain
2 slices fresh lemon
1tsp Honey

This recipe is adapted from one in “Health through God’s Pharmacy” by Maria Treben. This tea is by far worse than the Winter tea – thyme may be delicious cooked in food, but it does not make for a refreshing brew at all! The lemon and honey made up a bit though and it was also not impalatable in the end.

Thyme (Thymus spp) is highly antiseptic and antibacterial and thus just the thing to fight a throat infection. Plantain (Plantago spp) is decongestant and expectorant and noted for throat and mouth infections.

As I got ready for bed, I gargled with salt water again and added a fresh set of OLBAS drops on my pillow.

At the end of day two I was not 100% better (yet), but also felt no worse. To be honest, I probably felt better than I had the night before. I believe that I had already arrested the spread of the infection with my herb teas and that I was making headway in getting rid of it alltogether.

Day 3
Besides getting up a bit more tired than usual, I had not gotten worse overnight! The post nasal drip completely cleared and although my throat was still itchy and scratchy, I did not feel too bad at all.

The day’s regime included a winter immunity tea, gargeling with salt and a Rooibos, Lemon & Honey tea for bed.

Rooibos, Lemon & Honey Tea
1 teabag of Rooibos Tea
1/2 lemon (juice of)
1 tbsp honey

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a powerful antioxidant and naturally caffeine free, making it the perfect tea. Lemons (Citrus Limon) are almost synonymous with winter ailments, being antibacterial and high in vitamin C. Its astringency is also of benefit to sore throats. Honey is also not only in the mix to sweeten this concoction, but it has its own curative properties for sore throats.

I still wanted to herb up my salt gargle with an infusion of sage, but never got that far….

Day 4

Woke up feeling much, much better, just a bit scratchy in the throat still. Decided to skip all remedies for the day to give my system a break and for it to fully absorb and adjust to the herbs I’d given it.

Day 5
Woke up feeling like a charm. Unfortunately though at around lunchtime I had a coughing fit of note and worried that the infection might try to sneak back into power, I took a quick dose of Echinacea tincture, and had two doses of rooibos, lemon and honey tea.

Olbas drops on the bed, humidifier on and going to bed with some more rooibos, lemon and honey. If this thing is not gone all the way by tomorrow, I’ll start the immune building tea and cough tea again.

Day 6
Only some residual coughing, but I think that is just my system clearing out the last bit of ick. I’m sure I’m 100% better!

No antibiotics, no over the counter meds, and my immunity a bit stronger for it, I like to believe at least.

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