The holidays should be spent in good cheer and health, but it seems so often that illness strikes during this time of year. It’s really not surprising, given many of us burn the candle at both ends and run ourselves into the ground. In anticipation, I like to be armed with a few natural cold and flu remedies.
One of my favorite remedies is my homemade elderberry syrup. It can be taken as a preventative or started when feeling run-down or sick to help stop or shorten the length of a cold or the flu. I’ve shared my recipe here. This time of year I try to always have a bottle in the fridge.
Another favorite remedy is chicken broth. I believe, and research shows, that grandma knew the healing powers of chicken soup to cure a cold. During the winter months I try to keep my freezer stocked with homemade bone broth. Apparently, store-bought broth doesn’t pack the same punch and lacks the healing benefits of homemade stock.
It may sound complicated to make broth from scratch, but it’s very easy. When I roast a chicken, I save the bones in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. I usually make a pot of stock using two
chicken carcasses. I’m not fussy about what goes into the pot, other than bones, water to cover, and a couple tablespoons of cider vinegar, which helps pull out the minerals. I typically add to the pot a couple carrots, an onion, and a celery stick or two – all roughly chopped. After bringing to a boil, I simmer it in a slow cooker or in a stock pot on the stove for 12 to 24 hours. I strain the broth and pour into wide-mouth Mason jars leaving a generous head space to allow for expansion in the freezer. I use the broth in soups, as the liquid to cook rice, and in sauces. It’s a health-enriching staple I’m never without.
My last preventative comes directly from my mother, who always knows best. (And I’m not being tongue and cheek.) Her advise whenever anyone feels sick or run down is to drink lots of water. I find myself repeating her words whenever I hear, “I don’t feel well.” My twist to her advise is to turn the water into a warming liquid steeped with slices of ginger or with the juice from a half lemon, and sweetened with a spoonful of raw honey. If a sore throat is mentioned I add a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you can handle the heat) to hot lemon and honey water. I try to always have lemons, a knob of fresh ginger, and raw honey in my kitchen to turn into a comforting mug of hot tea at the first sign of illness. This is a favorite remedy of my kids and husband, who often request it, even before it’s offered.
Do you have any natural cold and flu remedies you swear by? Please share them in the comments section – I’d love to hear! As the holiday season revs up, I hope you take the time to slow down and provide good care for yourself and family.
Wishing you and yours a healthy December!