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Wellness

10 common pantry items to treat a cold

Cure everything from a sore throat to cold feet with these natural ingredients already in your home.
10 common pantry items to treat a cold

Photo, Getty Images.

Common pantry items to fight colds

The Healing Remedies Sourcebook

As more people turn to natural remedies to cure winter's most common ailments — think cold, flu, sore throat and fever — we reached for The Healing Remedies Sourcebook (a holistic bible of sorts) for the most effective items to turn to when you start to feel sick. You likely already have most of these items in your home, and if not, they'll be easy to find at your local grocer or health food store.

The Healing Remedies Sourcebook

1. Onion

Use to treat: Colds, skin diseases, bronchial disorders.
How: Eat it raw, cooked, in a powder, as an oil, or even in tea.
Why it works: Onion helps the body to secrete digestive juices and is a member of the healing garlic family.
Warning: If you have a hard time digesting onion, steam or blanch it before eating.

10 common pantry items to treat a coldPhoto, Getty Images.

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2. Garlic

Use to treat: Colds, fluid retention and skin problems.
How: Use the cloves either raw or cooked, powdered, in teas or as an oil.
Why it works: Garlic is a natural antibiotic and the oldest known medicinal plant.
Warning: Talk to your doctor if you’re planning to take it in large quantities.

For more on the health benefits of garlic click here.

Cloves of garlicPhoto, Getty Images.

3. Aloe vera

Use to treat: Cleansing the liver.
How: Drink aloe juice for internal healing because it cleanses the blood and relieves inflammation.
Warning: Be careful not to consume too much, as drinking aloe can have a very laxative effect.

 

Aloe vera gelPhoto, Getty Images.

4. Celery seed

Use to treat: Colds, coughs, sinus congestion, respiratory infections, bronchitis and laryngitis.
How: Eat it, steam it, use as a powder, a massage oil or gargle with it.
Fun fact: Celery seed oil is often used to treat jet lag and is a great diuretic.

Celery SeedPhoto, Masterfile.

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5. Mustard

Use to treat: Colds, coughs and joint pain.
How: Spice, oil, or as a compress. Use a mustard foot bath to warm cold feet, lower a fever early on in a cold and clear blood congestion.
Why it works: Mustard has high antiseptic properties and is also antiviral and antibacterial.
Warning: Never use a plaster for more than 10 minutes as it can burn the skin.

10 common pantry items to treat a coldPhoto, Angus Fergusson.

6. Cayenne pepper

Use to treat: Colds or shingles.
How: Plaster, raw, powder, spice, oil or tea.
Why it works: Cayenne increases circulation and saliva production making it very warming.
Warning: If you burn yourself preparing the peppers, rinse repeatedly with vinegar. Be very careful when using any cayenne products not to touch eyes or skin directly.

Chili peper, cayenne pepper, Jan 13, p104Photo, Masterfile

7. Cinnamon

Use it for: Respiratory issues like colds, sinus congestion and bronchitis.
How: Tea, spice, massage oil, powder or inhalant.
Why it works: Cinnamon contains eugenol oil, which acts as an anesthetic.

cinnamon sticksPhoto, Masterfile.

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8. Turmeric

Use to treat: Immune deficiencies, cough or sore throat.
How: Best to ingest as a spice.
Why it works: Turmeric purifies the blood and aids in circulation.
Warning: Turmeric is known to reduce fertility, so be mindful if you’re trying to get pregnant.

For more on the health benefits of turmeric click here.

TurmericPhoto, Masterfile.

9. Cardamom

Use to treat: Colds, bronchitis, loss of voice, vomiting and to create mental clarity.
How: Take it in tea, add it to milk, put in a bath or inhale.
Why it works: Cardamom is an expectorant, so it works to remove excess mucus from stomach or lungs. It can also be used to calm stomach acid.

CardamomPhoto, Masterfile.

10. Licorice

Use to treat: Licorice is an antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic. It’s great to treat sore throats, colds, coughs and cold sores.
How: Powder, tea, food or oil.
Why it works: Strengthens nerves and helps to rid the body of toxins.
Warning: May cause adrenal stimulation so be cautious if you’re already an anxious person.

All this and more can be found in The Healing Remedies Sourcebook. For more on holistic pain relief click here.

-Article originally published January 2013.

Licorice RootPhoto, Masterfile.

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