I've decided to add a new tag to my blog, 'home remedies'. It will probably only encompass a few posts, because although I'm a big believer in home remedies that work, I don't have a lot. I do tend to keep my ears and eyes open, so when I ran across a new remedy (new to me, of course) for battling the common cold, I paid attention to it. I've been following Root Simple, (formerly Homegrown Evolution) which is written by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, the same couple who wrote the last book I reviewed, The Urban Homesteader. Kelly has been battling a cold for the past week, and it's threatening to become a sinus infection. She turned to the old-fashioned, hang-your-head-over-a-steaming-pot-of-herbs-with-a-towel trick, which she says has made her feel a whole lot better.
No stranger to the sinus infection, I am currently battling a cold as well. I wasn't going to say anything about it because you know, with the cut thumb and I all, I didn't want to sound like a whiner. But I couldn't resist the opportunity to try this and report on it, and also pass along a cough remedy I've been using for years that works.
Before I start though, I should remind you that herbal and home remedies are no substitute for proper medical attention where warranted. I had my thumb looked at by a health professional, remember. Never mind that it was probably at the doctor's office that I picked up this darn cold, and that I'll be tempted to just close the next cut shut with some glass tape. But you didn't read that here.
Anyway- the point of the herbs is to use those that have antibacterial properties, like eucalyptus (not an herb- I know it), sage, and juniper berries. You can also use essential oils. She didn't mention it, but bergamot is supposed to be antibacterial.
In a separate post, she suggested nasal irrigation, which you can accomplish with a neti pot. She also has a method for doing that without a neti pot, but fortunately I have one. Neti pot, that is. I set some crushed juniper berries on to boil in some filtered water (which probably isn't necessary, since you're just going to be inhaling steam) and then ran off to go irrigate my sinuses. After a good blow (I already felt better), I then removed the saucepan of herbally goodness to a trivet on the table, and then sat down with my head over it, covered by a bath towel. And inhaled as long as I could stand it, which was pretty much until the steam was gone. I think it was a good thing to do, because, let's see, how can I put this delicately? The stuff coming out of my nose was now clear. Still snot, but clear. Which was a good sign.
Kelly recommends just saving your potful and adding herbs or water to it, whatever seems needed and then heating the whole thing up again. So I did that this evening, but I remembered something. I once ran across a clinical abstract online where the experiment was to determine if oregano oil could be used to kill bacteria. Turns out oil of oregano is a kickass antibacterial. (And antifungal, or so I've read since.) Ever since then, we've kept oil of oregano in the house. So I popped a couple of drops from a capsule into the water for good measure. At first inhaling it stung a little, but it subsided after that. My nose is still running, but I'm hoping to keep the sinus infection monster at bay.
Then I turned to my old, reliable home remedy cough medicine, which I'm going to tell you how to make. But first the caveat, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it: it sounds a lot worse than it is, but it's still hard to get down because it's so darn sweet. But it works. I don't know when or where I picked up this remedy (it's been years), and I don't know why it works but it does. So, are you ready?
Oh- and on top of all this, I'm not taking any chances; I'm also taking my Umcka religiously. Not exactly a home remedy, but kind of an herbal remedy, and I just want to feel better soon.
Maybe by the same time my thumb heals up?