Saturday, June 22, 2024
Health & Happiness

Beat the winter blues with these home remedies

Most of the ingredients for these immune-boosting tricks are probably in your kitchen cupboard or bathroom vanity, and if they’re not, it’s time to stock up before the next storm!

Did you know these household items can soothe a scratchy throat, help prevent a cold, and safely treat other common health problems? If not, then enjoy these simple home remedies that I often use during the colder months (and all year long).

1. Honey

When my throat gets itchy and that annoying cough joins the club, I reach for my jar of honey. Just a teaspoon or two will help calm that irritating cough and scratchy throat. I’ve been doing that since I was a kid. Honey is approximately 80% sugar (glucose and fructose), along with nectar and pollen that bees acquire during the collection process. It also contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc and antioxidants. Read about the healing powers of honey here.

Light or dark, raw or pasteurized, honey may be used as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent. It can be spread on a cut or burn to promote healing. The Mayo Clinic notes that studies have shown it can even have a positive effect on anxiety and depression. 

While many of the health effects of honey are not medically proven, honey does seem to offer some minor benefits. Just remember that honey should not be given to children under 1 year of age or those who have allergies or sensitivity to pollen. 

2. Ginger

Often during these pandemic times it’s nice to get away from the same four walls and take a nice long drive. I have a close friend who I love to travel with, though she tends to get car sick. That’s where ginger comes in. In its crystallized form, this spicy “candy” can reduce nausea and relieve motion sickness. A federally funded study also found some cancer patients were able to control nausea better when taking a bit of ginger along with their anti-nausea medication versus taking their medication alone. 

Ginger has many forms and can be used fresh, dried or powdered, and even as an oil or a juice. It is a common ingredient in cooking and baking, as well as in tea. Like honey, ginger is chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, but also like honey, there isn’t a lot of proof of its benefits. 

We do know that gingerol is the main compound responsible for ginger’s wellness qualities. It is said that ginger may help reduce indigestion, relieve pain, decrease weight, support cardiovascular health and lower blood sugar. 

3. Baby shampoo

You may have this around your home, but if not it’s an easy supermarket pickup. And here’s why you should have some. Winter’s blustery winds tend to dry out our skin, especially the hands and face. Also since the pandemic pandemic, you likely wash your hands and apply hand sanitizer a lot more. Baby shampoo is a soapy solution that is gentle on the skin. Wash your hands and face with a bit of shampoo and soothing warm (not hot) water. In fact, dermatologists often recommend it to people with eczema to wash their face each day. 

As we get older, we find our eyes go through changes. As a glasses/contact lens wearer, I am familiar with a variety of optical issues including one called blepharitis (a common eye problem in older adults). If you find your eyelids get red, itchy and a bit crusty when you wake up particularly where the lashes grow, this may be the cause. An equal mixture of baby shampoo and water rubbed on the eyelid can help get rid of the bacteria and oil that causes this irritable eyelid syndrome. 

4. Tart cherry juice

Tart and tangy, this lesser known fruit juice can be a tasty part of your diet. Opt for the unsweetened cherry juice when possible as some can contain a large amount of added sugar. Full of a variety of nutrients – vitamins A and C, manganese, potassium and copper – and antioxidants, tart cherry juice can be a beneficial drink for those with insomnia, muscle pain, arthritis, gout, and even high blood pressure. 

While only a limited amount of testing has been done, there do appear to be some benefits to this bright red fruit juice. Tart cherries are naturally rich in melatonin, a hormone that helps with sleep. In addition, they contain tryptophan (this chemical is also found in turkey and is why many people get sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner) and anthocyanins which aid the body in producing melatonin. Studies show that drinking tart cherry juice can improve the quality and duration of sleep. 

A daily dose of two 8 ounce glasses of tart cherry juice has been shown to lessen joint inflammation, muscle aches and gout flare ups, all while boosting your immune system. Consuming the juice can decrease uric acid in the blood which is known to trigger gout. Folx who drank tart cherry juice found they had less muscle soreness after working out, while other studies showed a decrease in pain and stiffness over time for many arthritis sufferers. 

Cherry juice also contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant made by plants to help fight infection. Research shows that these chemicals can help bolster the immune system. This could allow you to fight off a cold during these chilly winter months. So a glass or two a day might not be a bad idea. I like mine with a splash of seltzer. 

5. Water

I couldn’t possibly leave out this liquid refreshment. After all, the human body is approximately 50% to 65% water. Staying hydrated can help relieve tension and stress, gives you energy, and a glass before a meal can even decrease your calorie intake. Not bad for just water, right? 

But especially during cold and flu season, drinking more water can actually help you from catching a cold. By gargling with plain tap water a few times a day, you can reduce the chances of catching a cold or respiratory infection by almost 40%. A simple rinse of the mouth will wash away germs, in the same way as washing your hands. 

Latest Articles

Geoff Peckman

Geoff Peckman is a Graphic Designer and Art Director for Queery. He’s over 40 (way over), gay and uses he/him/his pronouns. His creativity crosses from innovating distinct logos and artwork to writing entertaining and informative articles for the LGBTQ community.

Geoff Peckman has 17 posts and counting. See all posts by Geoff Peckman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept that my given data and my IP address is sent to a server in the USA only for the purpose of spam prevention through the Akismet program.More information on Akismet and GDPR.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.