Last Thursday, I started coming down with a cold. I didn’t want to believe it but sure enough, my throat was starting to feel scratchy and my nose was starting to get runny and stuffy. As the day progressed, things definitely went downhill pretty quickly. Needless to say, the weekend didn’t go as planned but at least I got plenty of rest and am feeling better today.
Over the past few years, we’ve slowly been replacing our medicine cabinet with more natural remedies. I’ll never forget the winter we were first married and took a look at what my husband had in his medicine cabinet. I was shocked at the amount of NyQuil, Sudafed, Halls Cough Drops, etc. that were in his arsenal. Now, I’m not here to start a debate about whether OTC medicines are good or evil…I’m just saying that coming from a more hippie-like background it was a shock to me seeing all that medicine. (There have certainly been occasions in the past where I’ve used one of the above, just not anytime in the last few years.)
However, these days you’ll find a much “cleaner and greener” medicine cabinet in our house especially with a toddler around and my current state of pregnancy. A lot of medicines and even natural herbal remedies aren’t safe during pregnancy and when given the alternative, I would much rather try the most natural remedies possible. Lastly, I know there are a million blog posts and information on the Internet about natural cold remedies and I’d be willing to say that it’s a popular Google search term this time of year as well, with winter colds making the rounds. This is just what I’ve found works best for me!
Here’s a short (not at all exhaustive) list of my favorite cold remedies, which are also pregnancy friendly. Bonus for us mommas-to-be! Make sure and stock up your pantry with these items, especially as we head into the winter months where colds and other yucky germs are making the rounds.
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Ok, so this actually came to me on Thursday night when I was having an awful time trying to sleep. I remembered that I could add a teaspoon or two in some hot water (anywhere between 8-12 oz. is my preferred amount) and then a little raw honey. I’ve been religiously taking it three times a day and will continue drinking one 8oz cup per day during this winter season. There are so many uses and benefits of ACV, which I won’t get into here but you can read all about it online or in books.
I usually just take one to two 500mg (Nature Made brand) tablets daily, because my daily prenatal vitamins also contain 120mg. In addition, a glass or two of fresh squeezed orange juice doesn’t hurt or eating any other foods high in Vitamin C. Again, the Vitamin C can be taken every day during these winter months as a preventative measure. It certainly won’t hurt any!
Salt Water Gargles
This one is easy and I do this about 3 times a day, usually after a meal. You can use hot tap water since you’re just gargling and I gargle about 2-3 minutes, so it ends up being about 4 oz or so of water. Just add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt, let it dissolve (shake or stir) and gargle away. It really helps soothe that burning, itching sore throat feeling. Another alternative for gargling is using hydrogen peroxide (a small capful will do!) which will certainly kill the germs, but the taste can be somewhat hard to get used to and salt just feels a little better on the throat.
Saline Nose Sprays/Neti-pot
I haven’t tried this in a little while because I don’t like putting things up my nose (quirk alert) but in the past, it’s worked really well for me. It also helps with clearing up clogged up ears, which happens to me if I blow my nose too hard. Great for allergy sufferers as well, and it’s a more natural alternative than the OTC nasal decongestants such as Afrin.
Lemon, Ginger & Raw Honey Tea
Similar to the ACV tea, measure 8-12 oz. of water into a mug, microwave until steaming hot, add a few slices of fresh lemon, a few fresh ginger slices (or ginger powder, if you don’t have it fresh) and raw honey to taste. Let steep a few minutes before gently squeezing out lemon and drinking. This is great throughout the day, in between the times you drink the ACV tea. Even if you don’t have a cold, this tea is a great way to start off your morning.
We use one of those inexpensive steam vaporizers which plugs into an electrical outlet. I think ours holds 16Q of water but the most important thing is that it doesn’t run out of water from when I start it at bedtime until I wake up the next morning. If you live in a dry climate or the house is drier than normal (for example, during winter when your heater or furnace is on more often), a vaporizer is a great way to bring some humidity into the home and keep your sinuses and skin, nice and naturally moisturized. I love keeping one running at night in our son’s room during the cold winter months, especially since babies skin tends to become drier than adults.
I just add a few drops of camphor oil or eucalyptus into the water canister of our vaporizer and let it run overnight in our bedroom. One of the properties of both oils is being a decongestant, plus the hot steam from the vaporizer truly help with a stuffy, congested nose. There are also natural homemade chest rubs such as this one which can be helpful, especially if you have a cough. It’s a great alternative to Vapo Rub and other OTC cough medicines.
Like I’ve already mentioned, this isn’t an all-inclusive list of natural remedies for colds but it certainly is a great place to start and most importantly, it gets the job of getting over your cold done safely and naturally. Here’s to hoping everyone has a germ-free, cold-free winter!
What are some of your favorite cold remedies?