herbs and spices

Imagine you start your day fit, fine and full of energy. But, halfway through you start feeling a sudden itch and pain in the throat. Your day is spoilt! Yes, it is the most common condition called ‘Cold’. A common cold is always accompanied by a cough which makes it even more difficult to deal with. The best medicine for cold is to rest but most of us cannot afford such a luxury in our busy schedules. While some medications can improve the cough but unfortunately cold has no cure and should be treated with natural medicines and it takes about six to seven days to resolve. A common cold is often taken for granted and left untreated but if you leave it untreated for long it may lead to pneumonia. Since there is no cure for a common cold, your immune system should do the trick. Keep your immune system is strong to fight with the viruses by producing antibodies. So, here are some of the home remedies that I use at home for cough and cold.
1.       Honey / Lemon / Cinnamon: since ages mothers have used honey as a home remedy for cough. Honey has many health benefits. It relieves from cough. Honey has antioxidants, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It boosts the immune system and helps in fighting against the virus, bacteria, and fungus. Honey can be used in multiple ways along with some other ingredients as a home remedy to treat cough and cold. Read more on honey here. You can use honey by mixing one tsp. of lemon juice and two tsp. of honey in a cup of hot water and drink it every two hours. You can also mix honey in a cinnamon tea. Just boil a cup of water with half-inch of cinnamon bark for 3 to 4 minutes and add a tsp. of honey to it before drinking. You can also make a gargle with honey and lemon juice. All you have to do is mix a tbsp. of lemon juice to a hot cup of water and add a tsp. of honey. Leave the mixture to cool down completely and gargle.
2.       Chicken Soup: The chicken soup has been the most comforting food for all suffering from a mild illness. A bowl of chicken soup contains amino acids that thin the mucus and help in healing up faster. A bowl of hot chicken soup soothes the throat and the ingredients used in the soup have anti-inflammatory properties. It keeps you hydrated and reduces the pain and irritation in the throat.  Here’s how I make chicken soup at home to relieve cough and cold.  
·         In a saucepan add 3-4 finely chopped garlic, a tsp. of oil and small chicken pieces (with bones). Stir for a minute by adding salt and pepper.
·         Add chicken broth to it and let it cook till the chicken is cooked completely. Add chopped coriander to it and boil for another minute.
·         Remove all the chicken pieces and debone them. Put all the shredded chicken back into the soup by adding any veggies of your choice like carrots or celery etc.
·         Cook for another minute and serve hot.
3.       Garlic: Garlic is a powerhouse of antioxidants that protects from cough and cold. Garlic also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.  Roast fry 3-4 cloves of garlic in a pan and have this as an easy remedy to soothe your throat and to cure cough and cold. You can also crush 3-4 garlic, 2 tomatoes, and lemon into the blender to make an antibacterial and antiviral drink for yourself. Garlic can also be added to any soothing recipes like this chicken soup recipe above.
4.       Ginger: Ginger has been used for many years as a natural remedy for various illnesses. Ginger has an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory property that helps us to fight against infections and diseases. Ginger also has an antihistamine property which helps in easing cold symptoms like decongestion. It is a natural pain reliever and also boosts our immune system. For sore throat, boil a cup of water with grated ginger for about 3 minutes. Add 3-4 drops of lemon juice and a tbsp. of honey. Have this hot and as many times as you desire till your throat feels fine.
5.       Milk and Turmeric: You might think that having milk while having a cough is a very bad idea because having milk it would lead to more of mucus production. Milk makes mucus thicker but your body will not start producing more mucus. Milk with turmeric is a very famous combination of cough and cold in India. Everyone is quite familiar with ‘Haldi ka doodh’ recipe I am very sure. Here’s what I do; just take a cup of milk to add half tsp. of turmeric and black pepper to it and stir for a minute. Boil on medium flame till boiling point and then simmer for 4-5 minutes. Have this while it is hot.
6.       Herbal tea: There are many herbal teas available in the market for cough and cold. But, nothing works wonder like the ones we all make one at home. There are numerous medicinal herbs and spices easily available India like, tulsi, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, turmeric. Etc. to boost immunity. Mix 4 cardamoms, 4 black pepper, 4 cloves, an inch of ginger and a small piece of cinnamon in water. Boil this mixture for 5 minutes and allow it to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Have this hot or warm as you desire. Another recipe I have been trying is with tulsi. Simply add 10-15 leaves of tulsi in a cup of water and boil it for 10 minutes. After straining it add lemon juice drops to it as it contains vitamin C which helps in boosting immunity against cold.

Unfortunately, since there is no vaccine for cold, some precautions can be taken to stay away from such illnesses.

·         Washing your hands for 20 seconds drastically reduces the chance of getting sick. Since we touch many things in a day that could be infected with the virus it is important to wash hands in intervals. The use of hand sanitizers are a good idea.
·         Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose with your unwashed hands.
·         Don’t get too close to people who are already sick. And if you are already sick, take precautions.
·         Keep social distancing and don’t go to school and work to avoid spreading the disease.
·         Cover mouth with a tissue while sneezing or coughing.
·         Wash your hands with soap after sneezing or blowing your nose.
·         Frequently touched objects should be disinfected timely.
This is how I am dealing with this Pandemic Coronavirus outbreak. Let me know in the comments what precautions are you taking while lockdown.