Staying healthy in the fall and winter is not always easy. I take Elderberry Tincture and use essential oils to build my immune system. Chicken stock and bone broth help too. In addition, I have relied upon a simple yet effective natural remedy for colds and coughs for many years, and I wanted to share it with you.
This is so easy to make, and it really packs a punch. You probably already have all the necessary items in your pantry. One nice feature about this recipe is that you can make it up quickly, and scale the quantity up or down easily, according to your needs.
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper*
- 1 tsp. minced or powdered* ginger root
- 1 tsp. minced, juiced or powdered* garlic
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (if possible, use an organic brand like Braggs, with the “mother”)
- 2 Tbsp. honey (local, raw and unfiltered, if possible)
- 1 Tbsp. filtered water if you feel you need it
- Dissolve the cayenne, ginger and garlic in the apple cider vinegar.
- Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough or cold. Always shake before using.
You can leave this mixture out on the counter if you make small batches, or you can keep it in the refrigerator indefinitely.
*Spices do not spoil but they do lose their strength over time. If your cayenne, ginger or garlic powder is over a year old, it should be replaced, and it is quite inexpensive to do so. Be sure to always buy non-irradiated spices, since irradiation negates the health benefits of spices. I recommend buying from Mountain Rose Herbs or The Bulk Herb Store.
Properties of Ingredients
Cayenne Pepper (capsicum) – Cayenne stimulates digestion as well as circulation and blood flow to the peripheral areas of the body. In addition, it helps regulate blood sugar and has anti-fungal, immune boosting, and detoxifying properties. Because it stimulates digestion and circulation, cayenne is often added to a wide variety of herbal remedies; it improves the absorption and circulation of the other herbs throughout the body.
Ginger – As a stimulant, ginger increases peripheral circulation. It is used for nausea and motion sickness, and as an aid in gastric and intestinal pain, It also has anti-spasmotic, diaphoretic, immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
Before taking ginger it is important to talk with your doctor if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or aspirin).
Garlic – Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal – in other words, a powerhouse. It works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria and viruses in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up against it.
Here is what Dr. Joseph Alton has to say about garlic in a 2012 article on the medicinal uses of garlic:
“Unlike most herbs, studies have shown garlic to have a direct effectiveness against viruses. There are no known antibiotics that will destroy a viral infection. Colds and influenzas can cause miserable symptoms, and some flu cases can be fatal. Garlic probably works in a two-pronged attack on viruses, both directly and by stimulating your own immune defenses to fight harder. Ingesting fresh garlic may decrease the duration of a viral illness. It is thought that taking garlic before exposure to a virus will lessen your chance of getting the infection in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Apple Cider Vinegar – Acetic acid is the main active compound in vinegar. This is a powerful antimicrobial, and can kill some types of bacteria. Vinegar is known to promote the secretions of the respiratory mucous membranes. The potassium in it thins mucus, and the acetic acid prevents bacteria growth, which could contribute to nasal congestion.
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains something called the “mother,” which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the vinegar a murky, cobweb-like appearance. This is a good thing – it means that your ACV is all natural, and full of healthy amino acids, acetic acid and potassium.
Raw Honey – Raw honey means that the honey has not been pasteurized or heated, which kills off the healthy nutrients. It is full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, and is lauded as anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Why buy local honey? There are lots of good reasons. Buying local supports local farmers and thus the local economy. When you buy local, you are actually getting real honey. Have you read lately that most of the “honey” on the store shelves is not acutally honey? Finally, it is possible that local honey can help combat seasonal allergies.
I drink a lot of herbal teas, and I have begun to use nettle and mullein a lot in the fall and winter. However, here is a simple tea I make when I have respiratory issues, such as wheezing or a moist, productive cough. It has worked very well for me over the years.
Ginger Pepper Tea: Pour boiling water over black tea (either loose tea or a teabag will work fine), and add a thick slice of fresh ginger root and about 1/8 -1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes, strain and sip.
→ Get a pdf downloadable version of these recipes here.
Please note that I am not a doctor or a health practitioner. Please do your own research and due diligence before deciding what is right for you, and consult with your doctor if you have questions.
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