It’s hard to believe that you can find ways to help deal with common ailments in the supermarket. Most of us are only thinking about food when perusing the produce aisle or the spice section of the store. However, you can find things to help make you feel better right in your supermarket.
Broth: Whether you make it or buy it, broth is an excellent way to help deal with a cold. For one thing, it counts towards increasing liquid intake. For another, there is some evidence that chicken broth at least has some benefits in fighting illness. I guess Grandma was right after all.
Garlic: This pungent bulb is more often associated with bacterial infections (and Italian cuisine), but it may also have some antiviral properties. Raw is best but not many of us can take it that way. Adding it to the soup and taking the supplements could also provide some relief.
Ginger: If you have a sore throat, this is probably not going to feel good going down. Ginger is very spicy. It can help the stomach and a decoction of it is said to help with coughing. As an added bonus, you can put some cinnamon and cloves in with it. The latter two will help ease a sore throat.
Honey and Lemon: Mixed 50/50, this is an excellent cough syrup. The lemon cuts through the post nasal drip and the honey coats the throat so it doesn’t feel as sore. Caution: do not give honey to children under two.
Salt: Despite its bad press, salt can be a healing item if used properly. In this case, it’s as a gargle for sore throats. Put a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Dissolve, and then gargle for one minute. Most can’t handle it in the mouth for that length of time, which is why there is so much. Just spit it out and start again if that is a problem. Some use it as a nasal rinse, but the idea of snorting anything on purpose is repellent to many.
Tea: Some teas will help with the cold, others with prevention. Always read the ingredients if you are buying a tea designed for either. Some of the ingredients may cause problems and/or interact with medications for various diseases. The herbs that can help a cold are cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger and cayenne. The most common cold preventative is Echinacea.
Any tea that is naturally sweetened can be a problem. Most use licorice root, which is a sweetener and can help coat the throat. However, it can also raise blood pressure and sugar levels. If you have any medical condition, take the tea to a pharmacist or talk to a qualified herbal practitioner to make sure it won’t cause any problems for you.
Vinegar: People tend to pooh-pooh the benefits of vinegar, but I am not one of them. That doesn’t mean I think it will cure everything from boils to weight problems. A mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water brought to a boil is very useful for clogged sinuses. Bring it to a boil, turn the fire out and breathe the steam. If this is for a child, use caution. It’s still hot even without a flame under it.
There is one other product found in large supermarkets that I find very useful, but it’s not regular food and it is on the cough and cold aisle. Ricola makes several different cough drops but the one that impresses me the most is the one with natural herbs. They’ve picked all the ones I use, even though I either have to grow them or head to a natural food store. Even better, they don’t use licorice to soothe a sore throat. They use mallow root, which does the same thing without the same problems.