We’re nearing the end of cold season but it’s never too late to start planning a herbal cold care kit for next time. I’ve been sick twice already and of course I was unprepared both times. I swear I’ve learned my lesson and to prove it, I’m making a list of things to gather and prepare while I’m well. It’s no good reaching for fire cider only to realize it has 4 weeks left before it’s ready and you’re sick NOW. Plus no one likes having to make remedies while sick. Hope this helps you brainstorm what belongs in your kit as well!
Elderberries are great to include in your plan of attack because they can help shorten the length of your cold. I’ve found this to be true in my experience, depending on the cause of my illness. While I was sick, I found a great recipe that involves using an electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot to quickly make elderberry syrup. You can watch the YouTube video here. Be sure to add the honey after the syrup cools so you don’t lose any of the medicinal benefits!
These salves are amazing at clearing up breathing and providing some relief. Store-bought decongestant salve is often made with petroleum and artificial ingredients and I prefer to use more natural ingredients for healing. Eucalyptus, mint, camphor, and thyme are popular herbs to use for this kind of salve but follow your intuition if you think another herb would support your blend. Here’s one example of a good recipe from Frugally Sustainable.
Fire Cider is super popular for good reason. Garlic, onion, hot peppers, and apple cider vinegar all have strong immune boosting properties on their own but when combined, they’re a powerhouse! This is another recipe where you can have lots of variations depending on what else you feel could be beneficial, like this example from the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine that has turmeric, hibiscus, pomegranate, and orange. For more information about all the benefits and a more traditional Fire Cider recipe, check out this post from the Herbal Academy.
Cough drops are essential for coughing but can also be useful for coating the throat. I like this method from LearningHerbs because the cough drops will last a long time and stay hard so you can prepare them ahead of time. As always, change up the herbs if you’d like to target sore throats more.
The type of tea will you want to have on hand will depend on your symptoms. I like to have a blend for sore throats (licorice and marshmallow), a blend for coughing (mullein), and a blend for immunity boosting (Echinacea) on hand. When I’m in a pinch, I use Traditional Medicinals organic blends because they’re readily available. If you want to make your own, Mother Earth News has some suggestions for blends.
Oregano Oil is well-known for its antimicrobial properties, making it a valuable ally for colds and infections. It’s also easy to find it at health stores so this is great if you don’t feel up to making anything. I personally hate the taste of Oregano Oil so I buy some blended with mint. Be sure to dilute it in water! I didn’t know this my first few times. This also serves as a good warning to research anything you try just in case you’ve learned some misinformation along the way. For more information about beneficial properties and other ways to use it, check out this article on Mercola.
If you want to increase your Vitamin C levels while you’re sick, try including a Vitamin C supplement and foods that are high in Vitamin C like broccoli, red peppers, strawberries, oranges, and kale. Making a soothing kale soup or a smoothie with oranges in them like this Immune Booster Orange Smoothie from Minimalist Baker would be a great way to incorporate more Vitamin C into your diet. I try to make a big batch of soup when I feel a cold coming on.