Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Gratitude: Natural Cold Remedies

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." ~ Hippocrates

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! (Well, to the Canadians, anyway!) This year for Thanksgiving my family is scattered around the province and the world and I'm sick as a dog, camped out on my couch with movies and the interweb :) Many of you may also be suffering from these symptoms right now, as I think it's common for our immune systems to be out of whack as the seasons change.

Never fear, readers! I am still thankful for many things and I'd like to share one of them with you! I am grateful for natural, food-related cold remedies! I don't claim to be a health expert of any kind, but these things work for me and I love learning more about natural remedies, so hopefully you will too.

First things first, if you have the time and ingredients, you can make this awesome chicken soup that my pal Jackson shared with me, but if you're not in the mood for cooking or you need something faster, here are some ideas.

Tea etc.

I've talked about tea before on After the Harvest and of course when I have my favourites on hand I go for those, but I've tried a couple of new ones recently that I thought I'd share:

Tetley Cleanse -- lemon balm and honey with elderflowers. Lemon balm is known as a calming herb that helps with colds and flu. Elderflowers have been known to help with breathing.

Numi Mate Lemon Green (Organic Rainforest Green) -- South American Yerba Mate Blend, Lemon Myrtle and Chun Mee Green Tea. Lemon Myrtle is known to help sinusitis. Yerba Mate is an energy booster and more than just a tea, it's a culture. You can read more about it here.

And two of my usual teas:

Stash Moroccan Mint Green Tea -- green tea, spearmint, lemongrass and peppermint. I usually go with Tealish, but I need to order more because I just ran out! Mint is great for digestion, but also helps with colds and sinus issues. Lemongrass can help with nausea.

Algonquin Sweetfern Tonic (Daily Immune Booster) -- sweetfern, red clover, raspberry leaves, roots of burdock, echinacea, yellow dock and dandelion. The Algonquin Tea Co. is a local tea company, and they provide all of the medicinal information on this tea right on their website.

And a few non-tea options:

Hot water and lemon -- Super cleansing and a great thing to sip when you first wake up.

Hot water, ginger, lemon and honey -- When you've had too much tea but you still want a tasty, hot beverage, I love this one!

Garlic and Ginger

Known for their medicinal properties, garlic and ginger are always great to work into your meals when you're suffering from a cold and flu. I made a kale and broccoli stirfry with chicken on brown rice, sauteed in soy sauce, ginger and garlic with a squeeze of lemon. Yum! Garlic has many healing properties, but it's mostly known as "nature's antibiotic." Ginger helps with digestion, detoxification and respiratory problems, among other things.

Broth, Soup and Pho:

Like I mentioned above, chicken soup is known to work well, but when you don't feel like making soup, you can always whip up a quick broth. I use vegetable stock and throw in whatever veggies and rice noodles I have on hand. Add garlic and fresh or dried herbs and you have a quick broth with veggies!

I'm lucky enough to have a Pho restaurant right in my neighbourhood, and it's also a wonderful remedy when you have a cold. You can choose vegetarian, chicken or the traditional beef pho, which is a Vietnamese soup served with bean sprouts, noodles, basil and lime. You also have the option to add hot sauce which can really clear the sinuses!

Herbs and Honey

Oregano Oil -- a natural bacteria fighter, oregano oil has a strong taste but it works. I place 3 drops in my orange juice in the morning and it's not so bad. Gets the job done.

Echinecea with garlic and ginger -- Ok, so by this point I'm sweating garlic and ginger out of my pores, but I thought a bit more couldn't hurt. Echinecea is known to work well if taken at the first sign of symptoms as it's a great immune booster.

Eucalyptus Oil -- I place a few drops in a large bowl of boiling water and inhale the steam. This is a trick I learned from my Mom years ago, but I don't remember what she put in the hot water; I know it wasn't eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is amazing for respiratory issues.

Honey -- liquid honey, creamed/spun honey, raw honey. Honey is known as an immune booster due to its antioxidants and antibacterial properties. I'm using creamed honey but any honey will do, although I've heard lately that raw honey and Manuka honey can both be extra healing because they're not pasteurized and still contain much of the natural vitamins and enzymes. However, like I said, I'm no expert!

Juice etc.

Pure juice -- I've been guzzling apple, orange and cranberry, but there's also pomegranate, blueberry and acai berry. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, these juices are great but make sure you choose one that says 100% pure juice, not juice "blend" or "cocktail" as those will contain more sugar.

Emergen-C -- Literally 1000 mg of Vitamin C in one packet, this handy little cold-fighter has worked well for me in the past. Thanks to my former team members at Whole Foods for introducing me to this one!

And I've yet to try...

Juices from the ReFresh Cookbook -- I have yet to purchase a juicer, but I'm going to get right on that because I've noticed there are many great immune boosting, cold and flu-fighting juices in Ruth Tal's book. I love Fresh!

So, I hope you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving celebrations! Among so many things in my life that I am grateful for, I have to say I'm thankful to have access to these healthy, natural remedies to help me heal!

*All herbal information from
*Honey information from


  1. Nice post Heather! I'm sure many of us will refer to it if we get sick this winter! So much infos in there! Thank you! Get well soon, my friend!
    Love & Good healing vibes!

    P.S. I also like to apply Eucalyptus Oil directly on my skin (into my nostrils and my throat).

  2. I'm totally going to look out for the echinecea with garlic and ginger.

    I am also going to try putting oregano oil in OJ instead of plain water. That stuff is vile. Swallow it the wrong way and it'll burn from the back of your throat to your lips. *shiver*

    Thanks for the post, Heather!

  3. All sounds good - but the key ingredient is someone to make it for you! A healthy potion-concocter still able and willing. Hope you feel better!

  4. I agree, Lauren! Still waiting for my male nurse in shining armour ;) Feeling better and on the mend!