Natural Remedies for Dealing with the Sniffles | Seventh Generation
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Natural Remedies for Dealing with the Sniffles

Author: Francineinthe206

Blowing His NoseI am a lightweight when it comes to cold medicines. Over-the-counter decongestants make me feel as though someone slipped me a Mickey. A Mickey the size of a Frisbee.

There was one memorable day when I was at my first job, eager to impress and reluctant to call in sick. I went to work loaded up on cold meds. As I bumbled down the hallway I suddenly panicked, unable to remember if I was wearing pants. That's when a concerned coworker took my arm and said, "You're OK, your pants are on. But I'm giving you a ride home." Whew. Gnarly stuff.

So when I got my first cold of the season a few weeks ago, I heeded the advice of a nurse in my doctor's office: "Put cayenne pepper in everything," she said. Pepper, the thinking goes, gets your nose running -- and that helps clear up your congested sinuses. Get that bad juju out of your system! I sprinkled cayenne pepper in soup and in tea and into anything else I thought I could tolerate. It worked! The cayenne pepper got my motor going, so to speak, and the more I blew my nose, the faster that "blockhead" feeling went away.

A friend says she relieves her cold and flu symptoms by soaking in a hot bath with a few drops of eucalyptus oil added. (Sounds like a heavenly way to start breathing easy again, but I'm like a cat to water when I have a bad cold and I don't want to get my hair wet. The upshot of that is after three days of not washing my hair, the natural oils give it a glossy sheen not found in any bottle of conditioner.)

For many other friends, a nice, hot cup of tea with honey soothes a scratchy throat. Another friend pours boiling water into a bowl, drapes a dish towel over her head, and inhales the steam. To combat the dry skin that can crop up from excessive nose blowing, one friend dabs vitamin E oil on the outside her proboscis.

On a side note: This was the first cold I've had where I didn't blow through an entire box of tissues. Thinking green (while green around the gills), I dug into my collection of vintage handkerchiefs. Oh yes, they're cute – I have a '50s set of hankies with little poodles prancing about. But, dang it, those handkerchiefs were meant to be used, and I felt a lot better presoaking a batch of used hankies than I would have taking out trashcans full of crumbled-up tissues. (If you don't want to use hankies, use tissues made from 100% recycled paper.)

So as we breeze into sneezin' season, give some natural remedies a try. Do you have any natural cold remedies you'd like to share with the Nation?

photo: tanjila ahmed


Astuo picture
Using a saline nasal wash to keep the lining of the nostrils moist will help alleviate the discomfort associated with both runny and stuffed up noses. Dissolve a half teaspoon of salt into a half cup of boiling water. Wait until the water has cooled to room temperature. Using a cotton swab, dip the end into the solution and apply the mixture to each nostril. Use two drops per nostril and make sure to use a fresh cotton swab for each side.
pro116 picture
My aunt Linda from deep in the Appalachian mountains taught me this "health shot" - it works miracles! Truly. It will REALLY help you sleep, though it won't make you drowsy if you must try to function. Take before a nap, and you will sleep very deeply as you sweat out the nasty illness. It clears your head, chest, and gives your immune system a huge boost: Juice one LEMON into glass. Add one clove GARLIC, pressed or minced (more if you can take it), and approx. 1/4 tsp CAYENNE pepper (again, more if you can take it). Swirl and swallow in one go, and follow with a big glass of water. Take twice a day as needed. Feel better.
organic wench picture
organic wench
I have been taking an organic mushroom complex for the last 4 years and have not been sick once!
dwilder picture
This is an old remedy that my mom used to make me do when I was a kid. If I was sick I would take the hottest shower or bath I could stand (if you don't want to get your hair wet use a shower cap). I would get out and immediately dry off, throw on super warm jammies (get the long underwear out for this one), made sure to put warm socks on, and then I would hop in bed with as many blankets as possible. You end up sweating a lot and you sweat out a lot of the bad stuff. Helps get it though your system quicker. Also if you have a stuffed up nose and can't take it anymore, cut an orange up and sniff that. Smells great and clears your nose. :)
gufdi420 picture
Although a previous commenter talked about Young Living, there are many wonderful companies that sell organic, therapeutic oils for much more affordable prices, Nature's Gift for one, which is where I purchase mine. Ravensara is my choice, 15 drops diluted in 1/2 oz. carrier oil and rubbed on the neck before bed. Wake up feeling fine!
ocean812 picture
I have a wonderful sore throat remedy that works like magic EVERYTIME. Take any Vitamin A gel cap (you can buy them any where, grocery stores, marts, etc.) and make a small hole in the capsule. You can use a pin but I just bite it with my teeth. Then, and this is the tricky part, you have to get it all the way back in your throat and squeeze the vitamin A out onto the sore part of your throat. It doesn't taste too plesant so try to avoid the sensitive parts of your taste buds. I recommend using 2-3 capcules right before bed because it works best when you don't drink anything for a while. If you do this periodically throughout the day (as needed) and at night, your sore throat will be gone within three days and will feel tremendously better within one. It works on even the worst situations that can compare to strep throat.
beckywall picture
For the past 3 yrs, I have been using therapeutic grade essential oils, namely Young Living brand. Thieves is great for any viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. The oils in this blend have been shown to kill the pneumonia virus in a lab setting. I personally have used Thieves for the flu, bladder infections, sore throat, colds, boosting the immune system, you name it. RC is another blend that is great for opening up sinuses. At the first sign of symptoms or when I am run down, I will use one of Young Living's supplements, Inner Defense, once a day to strengthen my immune system. These oils are great stuff, completely organically grown, distilled under correct conditions to yield a therapeutic grade oil, and no synthetic additives or petroleum products. Here's to your health, Becky Wall
hduris picture
my husband's cold remedy is always sliced raw garlic on buttered toast and it seems to work. He smells pretty awful for a couple of days, but it does work!
Debra251 picture
Cayeene pepper is a miracle when it comes to opening up clogged airways- including the lungs! Here's a tonic recipe that I received from a Jamaican friend years ago, a bottle is always in the fridge: Cayeene pepper, honey, lemon juice & a few drops of eucalyptus oil (if you can't find the edible oil forget this ingredient). "To taste" put all ingredients in a pan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil- let simmer for about 5 minutes. Do research cayeene- it has a lot of interesting properties.
talula picture
My dad was always telling us to eat spicy foods to help our colds. He always said "gets those sinuses going!" We always rolled our eyes at him, but I've found in my grown up life he was right! You've just validated him! He also taught me how to gargle with warm water and salt to soothe a scratchy throat.
4mybabies picture
I just started using a neti pot. Usually just once a day with luke warm water and 1/4 tsp. of finely ground salt (neti pot salt, which you can buy at health food stores)really works well at keeping mt sinuses open, which has always been an issue for me. With a slight sore throat right now, I use a neti wash, which contains zinc. This is also available at health food stores. I have immediately noticed a difference and so far the sore throat has been very mild and not turned into anything else. Another great remedy for sinus/cold issues is called SinuCheck. It is made by Enzymatic Therapies and is all natural, using eucalyptus oil to soothe your nasal passages. It works quickly and doesn't leave you feeling like you're living in a cloud!
donM picture
donM The neti pot is awesome for congestion in the sinuses; cayenne pepper is good too. Cinnamon is good in many things. Raw milk is also good, for arthritis and other things. Heating the milk to pasturize it oxidizes it's natural cholestrol making it unhealthy.
akathan picture
I use a neti pot with luke warm water and a pinch of sea salt every day and I (knock on wood) never have any sinus problems. Before being introduced to the neti pot, I suffered terribly from allergies, sometimes to the point where I could not go to work or drive. I have not had an allergy episode since using the neti pot. If you are not familiar with neti pots, there are some helpful videos online (see The process is a bit weird at the beginning, but you get used to it.
cammylynn picture
I would love to find a cute set of hankies - any suggestions?
margop picture
It's the best way I know to clear out your sinuses, sleep better and recover faster.
dasnees picture
Another natural way of breaking up the nasal passage is Sinus Rinse. Its salt water, which will keep your sinus's open.
michelle goodman picture
michelle goodman
Seems to always break up the cold faster. I'm a fan of vintage hankies too. Great post, Francine!
PaganIL picture
If cayenne pepper did that good of a job, I would be cold and sinus free for life ;-) It does help...though I prefer it in the form of Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce. I use Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning. I lived in Louisiana for 8 years and got hooked. I use that and hot sauce on just about everything. One of the things that I do when I get a cold is make a tea from echinacea and chamomile and sweeten it with honey. Pretty much helps any upper body/respiratory infection. About 10 years ago, I had a really bad throat infection that kept me bed ridden for about 2 weeks. Doctors couldn't figure out what the cause was. They tried antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals. Nothing touched it. A Druid friend of mine suggested the above tea. I had 2 cups a day and within a couple of days, the infection cleared up. Worked like a charm :-D. Olive Oil or any of the stuff for chapped lips works great for the irritated skin around your nose from frequent nose blowing too. As an athsmatic...I always have a jar of Vicks Vapor rub around ;-)