We really can’t cope without our Mums can we? They’re always there for us, when we need a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to bend. And they seem to have this book of natural remedies in their heads.
There seems to be a natural remedy for almost anything that gets us down. Some people call these ‘old wives’ tales’. But there’s a reason these recipes have been passed down over many, many generations. It’s because they work! Here’s my Mum’s amazing cold prevention remedy, with a twist.
There’s nothing more miserable than the common cold! That scratchy throat, blocked sinuses, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing state you end up in.
I think the worst thing about the common cold is usually it’s only bad enough to take one day off school or work, if that. So you end up going back to work or back to school feeling totally miserable.
And I find it so frustrating there’s no cure for the cold virus. How is it that we cured tuberculosis, but we haven’t worked out how to cure the cold yet?
Before we get to Mum’s cold fighting, hot drink, let’s look at what’s included, and why:
- Manuka honey has been shown to have antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a great cold preventing option. If you want to take this regularly to ward off colds, make sure you buy pure, UMF 10+ or better Manuka honey. Take 1-2 teaspoons daily.
- The evidence of Vitamin C and garlic in preventing a cold still show mixed results. There’s no hard evidence at this stage to say that either will prevent a cold. But both have been shown to build immunity, so both are used in this recipe.
- Ginger has also been shown to be antiviral and anti-inflammatory, and there’s good evidence of immune building properties. So ginger is a great option for helping prevent a cold.
- Kawakawa tea is the new go-to in our household. It does take a little getting used to, as it’s quite a strong flavour, but the small amount used in this recipe is well tolerated by both our young children. Kawakawa has been shown to display anti-inflammatory effects, it’s suggested to also have antiviral properties. We have Kawakawa growing in our backyard, but you can find it growing in most coastal regions in the North Island, or you can buy it dried online.
And, while we’re on the subject of natural ‘remedies’ for preventing a cold, here’s 3 myths about the common cold you should know:
- Getting cold won’t give you a cold. The main reason it feels like cold weather and the cold virus season are related, is because we tend to stay inside more, and exercise less in colder weather. The cold virus is around all year long.
- Multivitamins can’t help you prevent catching a cold. Vitamins are, however, vital to having a strong immune system. Mother nature gives us everything we need to live healthily out in the garden. So just try and eat a rainbow of fruit and veggies each day and that’s all you need. But, if your kids won’t eat many vegetables or drink green smoothies, they may well benefit from a multi-vit.
- Colds are spread by people coughing and sneezing around you. Some viruses are certainly spread this way. If you’re a regular train or bus commuter, you should know about the sneeze bubble! But rhinovirus, the most common cold virus, is mostly spread by hand-to-hand contact, or by touching things someone with the virus has recently touched.
And just to even things up a bit, here’s our Top 3 cold prevention remedies:
- Chicken soup is not only good for the soul, it can help prevent a cold too. Chicken soup has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, reducing neutrophils, as well as increasing mucus in the nose. Both of these effects can help to move the cold virus out of your system. Check out our home-made chicken broth recipe to get some goodness into your family.
- Moderate exercise can help prevent a cold. There’s a 2-part reason for this. The first is that it gets you out of the house. One of the main reasons we get more sick in the winter is that we all stay inside more, and share our bugs with each other. The second is that moderate exercise (at least 30 minutes, 3 days a week) increases oxygen circulation and blood flow, which in turn helps to build a strong immune system. So get the family outside and moving a few days each week this winter.
- Washing your hands could well be the number 1 cold prevention remedy available. Our hands are havens for bugs, microbes and bacteria. And you’ll be surprise just how many times a day you touch your face with your hands. The cold virus replicates so easily because someone coughs and sneezes onto their hands then picks up utensils, opens doors, uses handrails, plays with toys or tools, etc. Then you come along, touch those same things, and then touch your face. The trouble is most of us don’t actually know how to wash our hands. Grab our handy hand-washing guide the Better Hygiene Printable and start teaching your kids this vital health tip.
Mum’s amazing cold prevention remedy
1 tsp Manuka honey
1 clove garlic
1cm cube ginger
2 Kawakawa leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried Kawakawa)
- Squeeze the juice from 2 medium oranges and pour into a small saucepan.
- Remove the skin from 1 clove of garlic and gently smash to break open. Gently smash a 1cm cube piece of ginger to break open, leave the peel on. Add both to the saucepan.
- Rinse 2 fresh Kawakawa leaves and add to the saucepan. Gently warm the liquid over a medium heat.
- As the liquid heats up, stir in 2 tsp of Manuka honey (UMF 10+ minimum).
- Slowly bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, and hold at this heat for a further 5 minutes. Do not let boil.
Take off the heat, strain and pour into a large cup. Top up with boiled water to taste. The drink is quite sweet, which makes it great for getting into kid’s bellies. You can double, triple, etc. the quantity of the ingredients to make more than 1 drink at a time. Our children prefer to drink it cooled, which you can easily do by placing in the freezer for a few minutes.
If you want a ‘grown-ups’ version of this, swap out the oranges for 2 large lemons, up the Kawakawa to 4 fresh leaves, or 1tsp of dried, and try adding tumeric and chopped kale for extra immunity-building power.
Check out more cold prevention tips, and loads of information on other illnesses in our Health and wellbeing section.