Natural Living

Kitchen Panacea

Poor husband is sick. From a karmic standpoint, part of me knew this would happen, as he recently faked a few “sick days” from work for us to have a mini vacation in Stockholm before the baby comes. I’m sure there’s a moral in there about Crying Sick…

Regardless, he seems to have come down with what we liked to call “the Crud” on Broadway. That annoying, nondescript, head-nose-throat thing that may be a cold, may be the flu, or, left untreated, may end up being something worse. Even though Sweden is known for it’s free healthcare, we still prefer to take care of things ourselves if we can, and so we’ve built up a bit of an DIY, around-the-house arsenal to try and nip these things in the bud.

Garlic

First and foremost is garlic. Honestly, the more I read about this versatile little bulb, the more amazed I get. Recent studies have suggested that garlic may help in treating and preventing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, even cancer!

For the purpose of this post however, we’re going to focus on some of the less showy (though just as important) characteristics of garlic. Garlic is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-protozoal and antiviral. Which means that it can potentially help with a variety of different causes of the Crud.

While regularly adding garlic to stews and stir fries is a great way to stave off disease, if you are already in the throes of it, raw garlic is the way to go. Now my go-to method for this is very…clinical. At the first sign of a tickle in my throat or congestion in my sinuses, I will simply pop a freshly peeled clove of garlic in my mouth, chew five or so times to release the juice, and swallow (My husband calls me a gangster for doing this…I’ll admit it makes me proud). However, if this thought has you gagging already, adding chopped raw garlic to a salad, smoothie, or other cold dish will give the same benefits.

Honey

Much like garlic, raw honey is an incredibly beneficial tool in the first aid kitchen. It is antibacterial and anti-fungal, as well as being anti-inflammatory and a potent antioxidant.

There is also anecdotal evidence that continually ingesting honey from local sources can help with outdoor pollen allergies. There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to “prove” this, but the idea of it is, much like a series of allergy shots, by ingesting small amounts of pollen from the local flora (which the bees have used to make the honey), your body builds up an immunity. Beekeeping is a plan for the future here at Wandering Roots, but thankfully one of my husband’s colleagues keeps bees and sells it at work. You might check out your local market. Again, not scientifically proven, but at the very least, you’re supporting local apiculture!

At risk of ruining my gangster reputation, I will admit that I often chase the raw garlic clove with a teaspoon of raw honey for maximum healing properties (and it kind of tastes like the chicken wings from Bonchon’s). On its own, a spoonful of honey is especially soothing on a sore or irritated throat. It’s also quite a tasty addition to health-boosting teas and infusions (see following sections).

Turmeric

Believe it or not, with all the buzz about turmeric’s health benefits lately, I first learned about this colorful root when researching natural egg dyes for Easter. While this root does indeed create a beautiful sunny yellow on eggs (and fingers, and drying towels, and anything else it may come in contact with), it is probably best known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

With an increase of diagnoses of auto-immune deficiency disorders and a growing awareness of the importance of gut health in the body’s overall health, turmeric is having it’s heyday. However I try not to overlook this health bomb when dealing with more common ailments like the Crud. A nice cup of hot turmeric infusion (or better yet, a comforting Golden Milk) can work miracles on congested sinuses and inflamed throats.

Green Tea

Oh The Godfather of health aids! My mother has long touted the benefits of drinking green tea, and for years has been nagging gently encouraging this coffee-lover to drink a cup of it a day. It is chock full of antioxidants and has been shown to counteract the effects of environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke and car exhaust. Much like red wine, however, I’ve yet to develop a taste for it, and nearly always reach for the coffee instead.

When my husband or I are sick, though, all bets are off. We drink gallons of green tea, preferably sweetened with a healthy dose of fresh honey (hey, it’s medicinal, remember?).

Warm compresses

This may not be a food, but it is still extremely helpful in fighting off illness. The sister remedy to this is of course a hot shower. Heat and steam can both help relieve congestion in the head and nose by both bringing down swelling and inflammation in these areas as well as loosening any fluid that may be trapped, making it easier to blow your nose (and, you know, breathe). If you have essential oils at home, a drop or two of peppermint, tea tree, or eucalyptus on the towel or on the floor of the shower can be an added, rejuvenating bonus.

So now dear husband is vegging on the couch with a cup of Pukka Turmeric Gold green tea complete with his colleague’s honey, a cucumber and garlic salad, with a hot compress on his head. Hopefully he’ll be feeling better tomorrow!

Do you have any go-to remedies for the Crud?

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