Compounding Corner January 2016

Whether it’s winter time or soon to be, you’re likely to come down with a sore throat, a stuffed-up nose, or a cold. While medication can help reduce the symptoms you experience, a cold has no cure and it takes about seven days to resolve. Thankfully, there are many simple natural remedies to help ease the discomfort and speed a nasty cold on its way.

1.    Drink lots of fluids.

While drinking water is important throughout the year, it’s especially crucial during winter when dehydration puts you at greater risk of illness. Drinking warm water at regular intervals will help fight the common cold and reduce the inflammation in the throat along with washing out the infection. Other fluids in form of a warm soup or a fresh juice are also beneficial for replenishing the body’s lost energy. Try to make your home-made oral rehydration therapy:

Mix 6 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 1 L of clean drinking water (or boiled and cooled). Stir the mixture till the salt and sugar dissolve. Drink 200 mL of the solution every few hours.

Oral rehydration therapy is highly recommended to prevent and treat dehydration due to diarrhea, vomiting or fever.

2.   Inhale steam

A congested nasal passage occurs when the membranes lining the nose become swollen from inflamed blood vessels. In most cases, a stuffed nose is usually caused by a virus and typically goes away by itself within a week. You can moisten your nasal passages, open your congested sinuses and loosen up your stuffy nose by inhaling some hot steam:

Add 4 drops of tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil to 1 cup of boiling water in a big bowl. Drape a towel over your head while leaning above the bowl. Breathe slowly through your nose for 5 to 10 minutes every few hours throughout the day.

Tea tree oil is a natural agent for curing the three main types of infectious organisms: fungus, bacteria, and virus. Eucalyptus oil acts on receptors in the nasal mucous membranes to reduce the symptoms of nasal congestion.

3.     Massage with a chest salve

Chest congestion is very similar to a stuffy nose. It is characterized by accumulation of mucus in the lower part of the respiratory system as well as inflammation of the airways. There’s a good recipe for making your own vapor rub to massage and stimulate your chest muscles and loosen up the airway:

Pour a neutral oil (such as grape seed oil, almond oil, olive oil) into a small container. Add 15 drops of a mixture of essential oils (such as eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender) and stir slowly. Simply rub a little on your chest in a circular motion. Breathe deeply.

4.  Gargle with warm salt water

A sore throat is usually one of the earliest symptoms of a cold or flu. Many people have found that gargling salt water is an effective way to soothe a sore or scratchy throat:

Simply stir a teaspoon of coarse salt into a large glass of hot water till all salt is melted. Once the water is warm, gargle with it and repeat every few hours if needed. Do not swallow it.

5.   Make a garlic, honey, and lemon syrup

One of these classic home remedies for cold and sore throat is comprised of three familiar ingredients-garlic, lemon, and honey. Both garlic and lemon contain anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Raw honey is an antimicrobial agent that boosts immunity and suppress cough.

Crush up 1 medium garlic clove and place it in a glass along with the juice from one half fresh lemon. Top it off with 1 teaspoon of raw honey (you can add more for better taste if you like) and then top it off with warm water. Give it a stir, and then drink entirely. Repeat 2-3 times a day for the duration of your symptoms.

Of course, if you are feeling seriously ill or your symptoms are not improving, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.