As you read this we’re on the brink of October. You know what that means: colder weather, beginning of the flu season, higher electric and gas bills, less joie de vivre, more stress.
All those factors put a strain on your immune system. You may catch a cold, or wake up some morning with a fiercely sore throat or an earache. Catch the symptoms early and apply the appropriate remedy and you can ward off whatever you’d otherwise come down with.
My grandmother raised eleven children generations before antibiotics were invented and lived hours by horse and wagon from the nearest doctor. She was a well of information on home remedies and nursing from which all of us descendents drew, and very proud that through the flu epidemic of 1918 and epidemics of measles and scarlet fever, she and grandpa "never lost a one of them." Her remedy for burns of all kinds was strong cold tea, topically applied.
You probably read in my previous columns of my Magic Potion, my home remedy that stops bacterial and viral infections right at their first toe-in-the-door. But perhaps your problem, or that of somebody you know, is a fungal infection. There’s an easy home cure for that, too. Bear in mind that funguses thrive in dark, damp and sweet environments. Nix sugar from your diet, especially cane sugar.
¼ cup vinegar, any kind
1 gallon tepid water
Mix in a basin your foot fits into. Soak for 20 minutes. Repeat morning and evening. If mornings are too hectic, either set your alarm for half an hour earlier, or just do the vinegar water soak in the evening. It may take longer to get rid of the fungus.
A smaller version of the above recipe works as a mouthwash to banish thrush, and as a gargle for sore throats.
Another remedy for sore throats, but not for fungus infections, is the one I call my Magic Potion. Its secret ingredients are cloves and cinnamon.
Magic Potion Base
Makes 8 to 10 ounces
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ Tablespoons whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the water turns deep brown. This is the basic anti-viral, anti-bacterial broth. I keep a jar of it on my kitchen counter, and use it preventively when colds and flu are going around. It’s kept me free of them for at least eight years. (Knock wood.)
Magic Potion Beverage: 2 tablespoons Magic Potion Base, 3/4 cup boiled water, 1 teaspoon raw honey, 1 slice lemon. Let the water cool to a drinkable temperature. Combine Magic Potion ingredients in an 8-ounce mug. Stir to dissolve honey. Give the lemon slice a twist to release juice. Sip with pleasure. It’s delicious. Repeat two or three times daily until the sore throat is totally well.