Favourite win­ter reme­dies

South Shore Breaker - - Homes - CHRIS­TINE SAUER [email protected]­to­health.to­day

The darker days are here again and the nights are get­ting longer un­til shortly be­fore Christ­mas.

Lack of light, iso­la­tion and win­ter weather can all bring our mood down and make us more sus­cep­ti­ble to ill­nesses of all kinds.

Many of us want to do some­thing more to pre­vent get­ting ill or want help when there is al­ready an ill­ness in your sys­tem.

Na­ture has herbs and other sub­stances that can help al­le­vi­ate many ill­nesses. Here’s a short­list of herbs and more that I per­son­ally use and love.

(Note: if you have any health con­di­tions or take any med­i­ca­tions, please ask your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist be­fore try­ing the fol­low­ing. There may be in­ter­ac­tions that you may not have thought of. Nat­u­ral does not nec­es­sar­ily mean harm­less, so please use com­mon sense and ask.)

Echi­nacea is a North Amer­i­can na­tive plant that can stim­u­late the im­mune sys­tem. It can be ef­fec­tive if taken be­fore you get sick, but it shouldn’t be taken for more than two months in or­der to avoid side- ef­fects.

Chamomile is nearly al­ways safe to use. As a tea, it is de­li­cious. Once you get used to the taste, try mix­ing it with fen­nel and pep­per­mint for a de­li­cious herbal tea.

Chamomile is anti-in­flam­ma­tory and helps with com­mon up­per-res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions, such as si­nusi­tis, bron­chi­tis and, of course, the com­mon cold. I use it of­ten for a head steam bath. (If you’d like in­struc­tions for this, con­tact me for more in­for­ma­tion.) Chamomile and fen­nel also calm the stom­ach, help with re­flux and even with an upset stom­ach. It is gen­er­ally safe for ba­bies and chil­dren of all ages.

And then there’s Grandpa’s cough syrup.

My grand­fa­ther and fa­ther used to take a large onion, halved and hol­lowed, mush the pulp and then add two to three gar­lic cloves and fill the cav­ity with a mix of honey and the onion and gar­lic mush. The next day, they took a tea­spoon of the syrup for colds and coughs.

The taste needs some get­ting used to, though.

And don’t for­get the good old heat pad or (bet­ter) hot wa­ter bot­tle for those aching joints from shov­el­ling snow and the odd belly­ache and aching chest from cough­ing.

There is much more out there for dif­fer­ent ail­ments and mostly it’s OK to try, un­less you have a pre- ex­ist­ing con­di­tion, a very high fever, a fever that lasts more than three days or you start feel­ing re­ally ill. If in doubt, have it checked by your doc­tor.

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