As the temperatures turn from cool to cold, and sniffly noses and coughs are all around, having a few protective remedies up your sleeve can help you resist those contagious bugs. There are many herbs and spices that will help the body fight off a cold, especially if caught and treated early. You may have one or two of these on hand, and can easily add a couple of others to your winter pantry, so you’ll always have some flu-fighters around. What could be better than a spicy cup of ginger tea to boost immunity on a blustery day?
A traditional Chinese formula, called Cong Chi Tang, for an early-stage cold is made from green onions and fermented soybean. Japanese-style miso soup is an easy-to-eat version of this ancient flu-fighter. To make miso soup, stir 1/3 cup of dark miso paste (available at most Asian markets) into 4 cups of simmering water until fully dissolved, then add 3 or 4 thinly sliced green onions. If you would prefer a slightly heartier soup, add a small handfull of wakame seaweed.
Cilantro, ginger, and basil are also used to fight off colds, and especially effective when you are just starting to feel sick. Fresh or dried basil and cilantro can make a simple tea, just by steeping in hot water (1 tablespoon dried or 1/4 cup fresh herb in 2 cups of hot water). Fresh ginger can be sliced and boiled (1 ounce ginger for 2 cups of water) to make a pungent tea that will warm you up and clear a stuffy nose.
When used early, these simple remedies can effectively prevent a stuffy nose or scratchy throat from becoming a week of misery. Stock up on a couple of favorites to be prepared. If, however, you do get sick this winter, remember to call your herbalist to help you get back on your feet.