Natural remedies for coughs and colds

honey-lemon2I’ve been knocked off my feet by the flu, the real, I can’t get out of bed, rubbish flu. I blame the mild Spring for bug after bug and the two sessions of antibiotics for leaving me feeling wrung out. But after plenty of rest I’ve added some natural healers to the mix to help shift the remaining cough and cold symptoms.

spoon-of-honeyA spoonful of honey.
Honey is fantastic for irritating coughs and has been said to work more effectively than many cough mixtures. I like the organic honey with the comb in it. Eat the comb and all. Not only is honey naturally antibacterial but it coats your throat, soothing the tickle, perfect before bedtime.

honeylemonaboveHot honey and lemon.
I poured hot water onto the juice of half a lemon and added a squeeze of runny honey, it’s good for all coughs and colds as the vitamin C supports the immune system. Don’t use the honey with the comb in it this time because the wax comb will melt and float to the surface, ruining the drink.

elderflowerteaElderflower tea.
Elderflowers make a fresh, light and floral tea that actually tastes nice as well as being good if you have a cold or sinus problems. Dried elder flowers are great for reducing mucus and catarrh. You’ll need a teapot for loose tea rather than a strainer as it allows the flowers to steep before drinking. As well as helping to fight phlegm, elderflower can¬†also¬†reduce a temperature.

thyme-teaTea Thyme.
A few springs of thyme bruised in a pestle and mortar then popped into your teapot with boiling water are in order if you’ve had a bad hacking cough, sore throat or bronchitis. It used to be called the ‘whooping cough herb’. Thyme is an acquired taste – but it is antiseptic, antibacterial and has antiviral properties. It can be gargled or drunk as a tonic. It works as a respitory relaxant and lessens the urge to cough – so it’s best used for non productive coughs (these shouldn’t be surpressed as you want to cough out any mucus). It also encourages sweating which can fight a fever.

I’ve always been fascinated by old herb-lore and am happy to try these traditional remedies on myself but use with care as some herbal remedies can affect medication and aren’t suitable for everyone.