Keep taking the tablets

I’m feeling decidedly ropey today. I thought that working from home I’d finally be safe from all those office lurgies, but not so. I woke up this morning feeling grotty, with a runny nose, aching limbs and a voice like Marlon Brandon in The Godfather. All the typical symptoms of that most dangerous of ailments – latent hypochrondria. Well, no, it’s just a small cold but I think this miserable weather makes me feel more sorry for myself than I would normally. It’s dark, dreary and what annoys me most is that it can’t even be bothered to rain properly. Just the drip, drip, drip of rain that drives you insane…ahhh…I popped out in the garden earlier hoping to ‘liberate’ some of DJ’s tomatoes but unfortunately nearly all of them had split because of the rain, which is a bit of a pain. Ok, will stop the ‘ain’ rhymes now. Very childish! However, on the bright side, the girls (our chickens Lexi, Molly & Thelma) have come up with the goods today – producing two eggs no less. And they were rewarded with about five split tomatoes, which went down well.

But going back to my germ-induced sufferings…I’ve got thinking about frugal cold remedies. Now, normally I would head immediately to the nearest Boots and stock up on a heady cocktail of Nurofen, Strepsils, those disgusting cold sweets that dissolve the skin in your mouth, and something like Lemsip or Beecham’s Powders and a cough mixture. Plus expensive multi-vitamin pills to make me feel like I’m boosting my immune system. So altogether that would cost about £15 for the lot, plus mansized tissues. Sniff. However, this time I’ve been checking out some homemade herbal alternatives to see if they’re just as effective but easier on the pocket.

So far I have to say that honey & lemon in hot water is one of the best. All you do is just stick a bit of lemon juice (Jif lemon is fine) and a teaspoon of honey in a mug of hot water and mix it up. Very simple. It’s delicious and really soothing for a sore throat. Tastes a lot nicer than Lemsip. Plus it cost me nothing as all the ingredients were already in the kitchen cupboard.

This morning I’m trying out a cinnamon and ginger decoction which is supposed to ward off colds, according to a book Herbal Remedies, which I picked up from a charity shop. You get 1 & ½ cinnamon sticks and break them up into a pan, then add about 2 ½ inches of chopped ginger and a mug of water. Then you simmer the spices in the pan with a lid on top, strain and drink, adding honey if you like. When I strained it out I thought it looked a bit like wee, but it actually tasted nice. Just like a slightly cinnamony tea really.

Another cold remedy using cinnamon I’ve tried this week which is great if you’re having trouble sleeping too, is a glass of hot milk with two heaped teaspoons of cinnamon, a spoonful of honey and some brandy. A bit naughty so I’ve been trying it out at bedtime and it seems to knock me out!

I haven’t developed a cough just yet but DJ swears by this disgusting-looking cough mixture he makes up (his mum is into herbal medicine) by finely chopping up an onion and then putting it in a bowl with brown sugar and leaving it in the fridge, covered in cling film. The sugar then produces a liquid from the onion and he says it tastes just like cough medicine from the chemist. I’ll see how the lurgy progresses before trying this out! Cheaper than paying around £2.99 for a cough mixture that doesn’t really do much though.  Do bear in mind though that just as with normal medicines you need to check whether you can take herbal concoctions if you’re pregnant or have certain allergies etc.

Now I’m going to try out the one treatment that’s totally free – bed rest!


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3 Responses to Keep taking the tablets

  1. Christine says:

    Hi Piper
    The brown sugar and onion recipe really does work, my doctor says it was the old cure for whooping cough and it doesn\’t taste too bad either.

  2. Alex says:

    Elderberries are the way to go if you feel like you have cold etc coming on. Every Autumn I go for long walks and collect elder berries – strip them from their stalks, put in a saucepan and cover with water and boil until the berries are soft. Then strain the liquid and measure the amount. Put 1lb of sugar for every pint of liquid into the pot – and bring back to the boil. Now simmer for about 20 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture cool and then bottle it – to preserve this mixture put 10 cloves per pint into the bottles – this should keep for about a year (ready for next autumns collection!). Take a tablespoon full in a glass of warm water when you feel a cold coming on and it does help. Elderberries have natural antiviral properties in them and my family & friends swear by it.

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