For What Ails (cold and cough remedies)

It’s flu season. And a really bad year for it, too.

I’m not a flu shot person. For one thing, it seems like a big crapshoot every year, trying to determine whether the annual shot and the actual bug (or bugs) that shows up will match in the slightest. And then by the time you really know whether or not it’s the right one, it’s another couple of weeks before the shot takes effect. My own personal take is also that if one keeps one’s immune system healthy and strong, one has a fairly decent chance of fighting it off and gaining one’s own antibodies anyhow. And given that we don’t actually know what weird chemically things are in the vaccine itself (thimerosal, anyone?), I always wonder about body burden and toxic load and stuff and just like to avoid putting anything avoidable into my body that will in any way, however small, draw its resources away from ordinary day to day stuff into having to deal with invaders. I genuinely believe that, for generally non-serious illnesses like flu and chicken pox and stuff, it’s a decision everyone needs to make on their own, based on the data at hand, weighing possible consequences either way. (And no, I am not an off-the-cuff anti vax person, my kids are all covered for all the basic biggies and would be even if it weren’t required in order to send them to school. I’m just middle-of-the-road enough that people on both sides of the vaccination debate get really p.o.’d with me on a regular basis.)

But anyway. That’s not what this post is about.

I’m always on the lookout for recipes for what to do with a cold/cough/respiratory ooziness situation, especially if they do not involve drugstore formulas that don’t seem to work anyway. (Although I keep a bottle of trusty Robitussin DM in the medicine cabinet for nighttime stuff, because that actually does seem to work.) Remedies that either ward off illness or help ease the symptoms when it does break through.

Fire Cider is one of my favorites, but it takes a crazy long time to make and requires a lot of ingredients. I ran across something today that’s actually fairly close, but doesn’t require the several weeks of maceration time. The Good Food Matters blog (one I shall be visiting again with some frequency!) had this nice recipe for a kid-friendly home remedy, involving apple cider vinegar, honey, ginger, and cayenne. (Well, sort of kid-friendly–the cayenne would make my kids weep.) I looked at some other ones out there and threw in a couple more ingredients for something less kid-friendly but which I think might pack sufficient wallop to get me through the next bout:

Homemade Cold-Cough Syrup

In a clean jar mix:

  • 4 tbs organic apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbs organic honey
  • 2 tbs bourbon
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne

That’s pretty much it. I did warm the stuff for about 15 seconds in the microwave to help the honey mix in better, but it was mostly a mix-and-shake proposition. And you need to shake it before each use, too. Nancy at the original blog only makes it in small quantities and uses it quickly, but I find myself wondering what happens to it if it sits over time, if the cayenne and ginger give up their consituents and mellow in the whole mix. Might be a little less WHOOOOSH and not as obviously hot…which means one could actually put more cayenne in there to begin with and reap those benefits all the more. We shall see!

One of these days my elderberry bushes will start giving me berries, and then I’ll really have some fun

In the meantime, good health to all–


Posted on January 13, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. consciousshoppr

    I read that thyme is really good for coughs, and since this year’s flu seems to come with a nasty cough and I have a bunch of thyme in my garden, I tried making thyme tea. I’m not sure if it helped, but we drank it anyway.

  2. Thanks for that, Erin…what did it taste like? Honestly, I have a feeling thyme and oregano would be a huge help in things like this, but I just think they would be…gross. Was it? Or not too bad?

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