The nights are drawing in and the winter months are upon us, bringing with it plunging temperatures, icy cold winds, and snow (if we’re lucky!) not forgetting … the dreaded cold weather ailments! Unfortunately, most of us will succumb at some point over the winter season to having a cough, cold, sore throat or the flu. Once one of these ailments takes hold, none of us is too happy are we? After all, it’s a busy time of the year and we don’t have time to be poorly and we certainly don’t want to miss out on any festivities that are going on, especially around Christmas.
We all know that there are dozens of ‘over-the-counter’ remedies to choose from but do they really work? Even doctors say that there is ‘no evidence’ to suggest that cough medicines actually work!
So how can we take care of ourselves?
In preparation for the ’inevitable’ (well, for most of us) it’s quite simple really. All you need to do is ‘grow your own’ remedies. Yes, you heard right!
Many winter illnesses are infections caused by viruses, so there is no cure. While many ‘over the counter’ remedies will relieve the symptoms, the virus just have to run its course. This is why more and more people are turning to natural home-made remedies. It’s not about curing your ailment (if it’s viral), but about helping you feel more comfortable while your body is dealing with it. So, when we say “grow your own”, what we mean is, growing your own medicinal herbs.
When you are feeling poorly and miserable, the last thing you want to do is to go out to the chemist to find a remedy. If you grew your own herbs, you wouldn’t even need to step outside the front door.
Every Herb has its own excellent healing properties
The healing power of herbs should never be underestimated and each should be respected in their own right. We have chosen a few to give you some idea of where to begin if you are keen to start growing your own herbal remedies. Bear in mind also that you can mix the herbs and concoct your own remedy.
Each of these herbs offers its own unique purpose and is an excellent choice for use in home remedies to relieve common winter ailments.
Sage; has excellent antibacterial and astringent properties and is used in gargles for soothing sore throats, easing coughs and help clear congestion.
Oregano; with its healing properties, both antioxidants and anti-bacterial are good for cough and cold relief. Oregano is also ideal for treatment of nasal congestion when used in the above steam method.
Thyme; Essential oils within thyme contain large amounts of thymol which is a strong antibacterial agent. It aids well to relieve coughs, colds and bronchitis and is a great expectorant, helping the body to eliminate mucus.
Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon Balm; These herbs play an important part in helping us relax and encourage a good night’s sleep while our bodies are recovering.
Ways of using herbs to comfort you:
There are many ways to use herbs that will comfort and benefit you when you’re not feeling well.
Herbal Steam; Place 4 – 5 fresh herb leaf in boiling water in a deep bowl and add 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil. Place your head over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Keeping your mouth closed, inhale deeply through your nose. The warm vapours will loosen the congestion.
Herbal Tea; Place 3 – 4 fresh herb leaf in a cup of boiling water, steep for 5 minutes (the flavour will be more intense the longer you steep). Add a teaspoon of honey or sugar to sweeten. Drink two or three times a day for symptom relief. It will also help soothe an irritated throat.
Herbal Gargle; Place 3 - 4 fresh herb leaf in a cup of boiling water, steep for 20 minutes. Strain and add ¼ teaspoon of salt. Gargle as needed.
Herbal Bathing; Make an herbal infusion by adding a handful of herbs to a pan of boiling water and infuse for ten minutes. Pour into a warm bath then enjoy a relaxing soak. Or you can simply throw a handful of herbs straight into your bath water.
Don’t despair – ‘Grow your own’ and prepare
So why not be prepared and start your own indoor ‘medicinal herb garden’ now before the cold weather really sets in. Most herbs are really simple to grow and germinate quite quickly, but if you want even quicker results, you can always start with a plant plug. You don’t have to be an avid gardener or even know ‘how’ to garden! You don’t even have to have a garden or any outside space to be able to grow an abundance of healthy, nutritional ingredients to make your own natural remedy when you are feeling under the weather. Also, remember that prevention is always the best option! Eating herbs throughout the year will strengthen your immune system and build up resistance to illnesses so hopefully your body won’t give in to any winter ailments! We should never underestimate the power of herbs, as our ancestors, with all their herbal wisdom would have told you that herbs really are a true wonderment, and we have to admit that they have stood the test of time.
We would always recommend that anyone feeling poorly due to unknown causes seek the advice of their doctor.
If you have any natural remedies you would like to share, we would love to hear about them and maybe give them a try.