Here we are again, in the second phase of our tropical season (or the first, depending on how you look at it) and it is here in earnest. Harmattan is not a stranger, but with its dust and dry winds, one is yet to grow accustomed to the annual discomfort it brings. It is not uncommon to develop respiratory tract problems — cold, cough, catarrh and frequent asthma attacks. There is no cure for these ailments but that does not mean you have to suffer through them. Here are simple and affordable home remedies to ease these conditions.
- Water and other fluids: You may have heard this many times before, but the importance of drinking fluids cannot be overemphasized. Water (best taken warm), freshly squeezed juice, broth and herbal teas are all good drinking choices. Not only do they loosen congestion, they also help to prevent dehydration, which is also rampant this season. Avoid soda, alcohols and caffeinated drinks, as these tend to worsen dehydration.
- Saline solution (salt water): A salt water gargle can temporarily relieve a sore throat. ½ a teaspoon of salt added to a 200ml cup of warm water would do the trick.
- Garlic tea: Garlic is well known for its healing properties. It acts as an antibacterial and antiviral herb for fighting colds and coughs. To make the garlic tea, peel 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic and lightly crush them. Add two cups of water and boil. Strain the mixture and allow the tea to cool. Add honey to sweeten and drink.
- Onion and honey cough syrup: This is especially good for toddlers as it is unadvisable for them to use over-the-counter drugs to battle cold, and it has a sweet taste that they would not object to. Take a whole red onion and slice it horizontally. Layer each slice thickly with honey, and then cover the mixture. Allow this to remain overnight/12-15 hours. Afterwards, there should be a cup or more of sweet syrup in the bowl. The cough syrup contains a number of nutrients and vitamins to help fight infection and soothe a sore throat.
- Lemon, ginger and honey syrup: Honey and ginger are both natural antioxidants, and lemon is a natural antiseptic which prevents diseases by ridding the body of impurities. When mixed together, this combination relieves nausea, soothes sore throats and helps to relax you. Grind the ginger to get its juice, squeeze half a lemon into a cup containing 2-3 tablespoons of honey. Do not warm the mixture, as heating kills all the enzymes and natural nutrients.
- Rubbing ginger: Along with its antiviral properties, ginger also happens to be a rubefacient, which means it can be applied directly on the skin. It causes the applied area on the skin to warm up; blood rushes to the area and immediately brings relief. This helps to soothe sore throats and stuffy noses.