Cold com­fort

Liz Con­nor finds throat-friendly cup­board sta­ples that ac­tu­ally work

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - This Week -

THE worst thing about catch­ing a win­ter cold isn’t the fact that you’re con­stantly dab­bing at your stream­ing nose. Nor is it the sen­sa­tion of go­ing from hot to cold faster than a for­got­ten cup of tea. No, the most ir­ri­tat­ing symp­tom of all is a painful sore throat that makes it dif­fi­cult to swal­low, eat, or drift off to sleep.

Wak­ing up with a prickly throat can be an in­di­ca­tor that a cold virus has pen­e­trated the im­mune sys­tem.

The rea­son you be­gin to feel like you’ve eaten an ex­tra-hot por­tion of Vin­daloo is be­cause viruses cause in­flam­ma­tion in the body, par­tic­u­larly in the ton­sils or lin­ing of the throat.

The burn­ing sen­sa­tion should pass af­ter a cou­ple of days but, in the mean­time, there are plenty of ways to help the heal­ing process along. Here, we’ve found some throat­sooth­ing home reme­dies to rus­tle up.

1. Have a tea­spoon of honey

Not only is it de­li­cious when driz­zled over a steam­ing bowl of creamy por­ridge, but honey has long been touted as a nat­u­ral heal­ing agent in tra­di­tional medicine, thanks to its an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties that can re­duce in­flam­ma­tion.

Honey is also a demul­cent, which means it coats the throat with a sticky film that eases ir­ri­ta­tion when you swal­low. For best re­sults try a lo­cal honey.

2. Gar­gle with salt­wa­ter

It’s prob­a­bly not the most ap­peal­ing idea, but swill­ing salty wa­ter in your throat can help to re­duce painful swelling of the tis­sue and kill un­wanted bac­te­ria.

To make the so­lu­tion, mix a half-tea­spoon of salt in a glass of warm wa­ter and gar­gle for a minute or two, tak­ing care not to swal­low. Re­peat through­out the day.

3. Drink chamomile tea

Not only is it great for sooth­ing an upset stom­ach, but stud­ies have found that chamomile’s anti-in­flam­ma­tory, an­tiox­i­dant, and as­trin­gent prop­er­ties may have a sooth­ing ef­fect when you start to feel the first stir­rings of a throat prickle.

It’s also nat­u­rally free of caf­feine, which means you can drink it just be­fore bed and it won’t dis­rupt your sleep pat­tern.

Check your lo­cal health store for or­ganic chamomile tea bags.

Try stir­ring some honey into your mug to add an ex­tra heal­ing punch.

4. Squeeze some lemon into hot wa­ter

Some peo­ple drink hot lemon wa­ter in the hope that it may aid weight loss and clear skin, but it could also be the key to shift­ing your un­wanted cold symp­toms.

Thanks to their an­tibac­te­rial, an­tivi­ral, and im­mune-boost­ing pow­ers, these sun­shine-coloured citrus fruits cre­ate an acidic en­vi­ron­ment in the throat, mak­ing it harder for viruses and bac­te­ria to breed.

Lemons are also high in vi­ta­min C, which some stud­ies have sug­gested could help to fight colds — so if you’re suf­fer­ing with the snif­fles as well as a sore throat, it can be just the ticket to get­ting back on the mend.

SWEET RE­LIEF: To some­one with a sore throat, a tea­spoon of honey feels as good as it tastes.

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