Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Perfect Potion

I'm rarely sick, but I went to bed with a scratchy throat Monday and started coughing yesterday; the cough got worse throughout the day. Last night I kept waking myself up with all the hacking! When I wasn't any better this morning, I knew I needed to do something, so today I explored natural remedies for my cough.

In the past couple of days I've tried all the OTC remedies that were in my medicine cabinet, and I didn't want to make a trip to the drug store to get something else. Besides, I don't like the side effects of some medicines. I figured something that came from my pantry would be better for me, so I tried...

Remedy #1
Good old honey and lemon. I mixed it in a cup of tea; it made me stop coughing while I was drinking it, but I started again as soon as the cup was finished. Time to try something else. A little research revealed...

Remedy #2
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water

I mixed everything together and sipped it over the course of a half hour. It tasted pretty nasty, but I didn't care what it tasted like if it worked. At first nothing happened, but all of a sudden I felt better; my cough wasn't so dry or frequent. Alas, the effects of this remedy were only temporary, too.

After spending another hour coughing, I asked a friend for advice, which was...

Remedy #3
Tea with ginger. Skeptical, I made yet more tea (herbal this time), added sweetener and some ginger from the spice cabinet, and stirred everything together. After the first sip I realized this tea had an unexpected spicy kick to it from the ginger! About 15 minutes later, I became aware that my cough was less intense and my nose wasn't dripping anymore.

I had to know why it was working. According to this Website, the warming effects of ginger make it a natural decongestant as well as an antihistamine, making it the perfect remedy for colds.

The benefits lasted for about two hours for me; when I started feeling bad again it was easy to make, and drink, more ginger tea. I wonder...if I drink some right before I go to bed, will I be able to sleep through the night?


  1. I find ginger to be a bit of a stimulant, but I don't think it's likely to keep you up @ night. One of my ultimate favourite drinks is green tea with slices of ginger root. I just thinly [not too thinly, but not cubes either] slice a few slices of ginger [I *love* ginger so I use a lot, most people would like maybe three pet pot] and put them into the teapot along with a green tea bag. It's delicious! I always feel like the powdery ginger is a different substance than the root.

    Hope you're feeling better!

  2. Your tea sounds wonderful. I would have used fresh ginger, but it's not something I usually have in the house.

  3. Thanks for the tips. Looks like you found the same cough supressant recipe that I did. #2.

    Coincidentally, I've been drinking ginger tea like crazy. Sometimes just hot water and ginger. Other times herbal tea with the ginger added. I was actually doing it for the stimulant properties. Drinking it in the morning since giving up caffeine. But it's good to know it will stop a cough.

    I use dried ginger slices that I buy in bulk from a natural foods store in SF. But I would make my own if it weren't so convenient by slicing ginger root and letting it dry. I just think the slices are nicer than the powder which makes the tea gritty.