Gesundheit! (thank you)
We are sick. Nothing dramatic, just the Common Painintheass Cold. The whole household. My husband and I have it the worst. And he’s horribly busy at work, and I’m entering the toughest week of the year with the longest hours, so “sick days” aren’t really an option. (Besides, we have kids. No sick days for parents.)
No one has time to cook, no one wants to cook. Or shop. And we’re both fairly alt-med and aren’t big on most of the over-the-counter meds, since they don’t seem to work anyway. So we are going into our default mode:
Traditional Medicinal Teas: Throat Coat and Cold Care PM. The Traditional Medicinal line of teas is awesome, and we have about seven different boxes in our drawers–but these are the two we come back to again and again. The Throat Coat has licorice, slippery elm, marsh-mallow, wild cherry, and fennel–with some cinnamon and orange peel for flavor. I actually really like it, and it’s the absolute best ever for healing a trashed voice. (I had to sing a church service this morning, and between the Throat Coat and Dr. Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges, I did not disgrace myself.) The Cold Care has elder, linden, chamomile, yarrow, eucalyptus, and more licorice, with a few other things–good for relaxing, decongesting a bit, building up the immune system, and such. When both of us are sick, it’s easy–we just brew a pot at a time, sometimes with two tea bags of each of the two teas, and just slurp them down. (Key is brewing them as instructed–15-20 minutes, and keep the tea covered while it’s brewing!)
I’m also a fan of liquid echinacea, a few drops in some juice or water several times a day. I’ve taken to making my own tinctures, and have an “immune booster” tincture of echinacea root, lemon balm, yarrow, lavender, chamomile, and a few other goodies…but you can easily buy it or something like it at Whole Foods or other natural stores.
At night we spray our pillows with a eucalyptus essential oil spray. I used to actually use a diffuser more often, to keep the essential oils in the air–they are actually one of the best “room sanitizers” you’re ever going to find, if you put the right blend of oils in there. Nature’s Gift has some really good anti-germ blends that are great diffused through the house or office. I haven’t been doing it lately for the deep philosophical reason that I never found the box with my diffuser in it after we moved a year and a half ago. Coincidentally, I’ve been sick a lot during that year and a half. Hmm. But the eucalyptus is good for clearing our sinuses out a good bit a night and helps us sleep.
We are also huge hot soup fans, even if the kids won’t eat it. So tomorrow, since no one will feel like cooking, it’ll be crockpot mushroom and barley soup:
- Chop up an onion and some celery and a few carrots and throw them into the crockpot
- Quarter a few small golden potatoes, toss ’em in too.
- Chop up half a pound of mushrooms, any kind
- Add a cup or so of barley
- Over it all pour 6 cups mushroom broth, or a little more, or a little less, whatever
- Cook on low all day, maybe 8 hours. Season if needed with garlic, tarragon, salt, pepper…
- 20 minutes before serving, if desired, toss in some chopped frozen spinach
Hard to beat this. And it’s one of many soup possible variations–the crockpot was invented for soup, as far as I’m concerned. And we’ll eat this stuff for days–you can add new things to the leftovers, add more broth, add more veggies, and it’s like The Soup That Never Dies. (As long as there’s no meat in it, it keeps quite well for several days.)
The best cure for the common cold is prevention, of course, and the best prevention I’ve ever found is staying rested and avoiding stress, something I’ve failed at miserably these past couple of weeks. But with any luck, some good rest now can help kick it quickly enough that I can get through my next week…