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  • Writer's pictureToni Kenyon

Home Cures for the 'Common Cold'

The cold doesn't seem quite so 'common' any more--especially when we're living in a lockdown/pandemic world.

The 'common cold' used to strike fear into the hearts of entire populations. It hasn't been like that for the western world for some time, but the proliferation of Covid has made most of us sit up and take notice again.

Anyone who has a scratchy throat, a slight fever, or a sniffle (welcome to pollen season here in New Zealand) will be wondering whether they should be getting in the car and going for a Covid test.

Covid Lockdown in New Zealand August 2021

The vast majority of the people tested over recent days have (or will be) negative and their symptoms will be a seasonal cold or the onset of allergies due to the pollen in the air. I don't know what the pollen count is where you live, but pollen is sitting in rings around water bowls in my back garden at the moment.

Tried & True Cures for Winter Ailments

So, winter ailments don't always happen in winter.

In fact, I find myself that early spring is the time that 'winter ailments' seem to hit me the hardest. With Covid on the loose, every cough, sniffle or scratch in my throat makes me take notice. I then do the mental gymnastics of stringing together my symptoms and go looking for something foul smelling--just to check that I can actually still smell things!

On to tried and true (?) cures for winter ills:

Atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down...” Goes the old nursery rhyme.

With modern technology and more prosperous living conditions, most of us will not find the common cold fatal, as was the case a number of years ago for children and the elderly.

Some of us (pick me!) may not be so enamoured with air-conditioning, central heating and antibiotics (amongst other things) – but these have reduced the amount of deaths which would certainly prevail if we did not have these modern amenities.

As we are discovering in the time of Covid (a 'relative' of the common cold) and as we also know from many years ago, “plagues” can arrive in the guise of devastating forms of influenza.

Grandma didn’t want to have to cope with “curing” a cold, so she had to rely on solid nutrition to combat the “cold” season. No McDonalds around in those days and (amusingly) none around during Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand.

Here’s a list of old remedies (& some new) which many have relied upon to help with the symptoms of the common cold:

  • Honey & Lemon (& ginger) if you enjoy fresh ginger

  • Gingered beer – ginger mulled in beer (also improves sleep)

  • Eucalyptus – use as an inhalant in hot water

  • Hot milky drinks – may aggravate catarrhal conditions. You may like to read “Don’t Drink your Milk – The World’s most overrated nutrient!” by Dr Frank A. Oski & Dr. David Phillips (The Pythagorean Press)

  • Onion soup

  • Chicken soup

  • Garlic (personally, I love onion soup with garlic bread on the side when I’m sick)

  • Cayenne – half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper added to 150 ml of warm liquid is very warming (an understatement!) Make sure the cayenne is well dissolved or it may be more warming then intended. – Tried this once, I think I’ll have to be REALLY SICK before I try it again!!

When my (now adult) sons were children and got a cold, I'd bundle them into bed with a hot lemon and honey tea, liberally laced with a host of herbs from the garden (which I let them pick themselves – within reason). It always amazed me that they would choose herbs that they naturally needed to fight their symptoms.

Something to be said for educating the young. They were usually up and about and fighting with each other again within days.

Colds were not a common thing in our household (and they're still not) and I attribute this scarcity to me and my sons taking Garlic and Echinacea during the winter. My dearly beloved is not so convinced, so he's usually the one going down with the worst cold symptoms.

Something that I'm pleased to report is that even while my sons were out flatting (or living on the other side of the world) they have both continued to take herbs during the winter to maintain their immune systems.

The last word though has to go to members of the medical profession who note:

“If I prescribe for a patient a cold will be cleared up within seven days and if I do not it will hang around for about a week” . Meaning: “Nature heals, the physician takes the credit.”

Love & Lettuce,

Toni xx


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