Several friends and family members (including me) have battled a virus/cold in recent weeks. According to my doctor, it wasn’t COVID-19 because none of us lost our senses of taste and smell; it was “just a regular flu virus.” Maybe so; but, my version lasted over three weeks and involved one of the worst coughs I’ve ever had – not to mention feeling like I’d been run over by a semi and being so tired I could barely move. The duration varied; however, everyone reported coughing, aching, fatigue, and congestion.
It began with a mild headache, sore throat, and a dry cough; the fatigue and body aches hit a few days later along with a deep, congested cough. Over-the-counter medicines weren’t providing any relief; I couldn’t sleep. I had to do something.
I decided to turn to the tried-and-true home remedies that have been handed down for generations. Bear in mind that just because they are natural doesn’t mean they are completely safe. Many foods and herbs interact with medications; some can trigger allergies. If you have any doubts, consult your physician or pharmacist before trying them.
My two favorite cough remedies are lemon juice in my water at all times and honey in hot tea several times a day. Honey has been proven to loosen congestion and is easily digested; but, it should never be given to an infant under one year old. Lemons contain vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s also good for digestive issues.
Another of Grandma’s “cures” and one I swear by to this day is chicken soup. Grandma’s homemade version was better; but, when you’re sick and don’t feel like cooking, the canned variety is an adequate substitute. Science has proven that it is effective on many levels - it breaks up congestion, soothes sore throats, is easy on an upset stomach, and provides valuable fluids to prevent dehydration.
My fourth go-to for lots of maladies isn’t a food or herb. It’s mentholated petroleum jelly. This time-tested concoction is good for relieving sinus pressure, congestion, headache (rub it on your forehead), body aches (consider using with a heating pad), and I’ve even used it on sores or cuts when antibiotic ointments aren’t available.
I want to add a caution about pain relievers because I learned the hard way. The only “safe” OTC pain reliever is acetaminophen. Long-term use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can lead to kidney disease and/or damage. Short-term use of these drugs should be safe enough for those who don’t have such issues. Check with your physician if you have any questions. Acetaminophen will reduce fever and ease pain just as efficiently with less danger of side effects.
Other homeopathic remedies I’ve used successfully for years include ginger and hot peppers. Ginger has long been acknowledged as a treatment for nausea. I find it helpful to relieve the aches and pains of arthritis. A pinch of powdered ginger in hot tea with honey will settle an upset stomach quickly. Ginger ale made with real ginger works, too. Don’t use too much as it can be harmful in large quantities.
I began using red peppers and pepper-based sauces when I learned that they were a source of capsaicin, used to treat arthritis. I, also, found it helpful to soothe sore throat and cough. This isn’t for anyone who has gall bladder trouble or a tender stomach.
Lastly, I have a tip to improve your sense of well-being. A few years ago a friend issued a Thanksgiving challenge. I urge everyone to accept this challenge: Every night for the rest of this month, before you go to bed, take a few minutes to count the blessings of that day. It may be a beautiful sunset, a call from someone you love, or a meal you enjoyed. The point is, it doesn’t have to be something big; it can be anything that gave you pleasure. Just say “Thank you.” You will go to sleep feeling better and with less stress. Perhaps, like me you’ll want to continue giving thanks for many years to come.
“Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
This article originally appeared on Evening World: Afterthoughts: Miraculous Oatmeal