In the past, people often used the terms cold and flu interchangeably. Today, doctors distinguish between the two. If symptoms come on gradually and include a sore throat, headache, achy limbs, coughing, a runny nose, elevated temperature or slight fever, you probably have a cold. By contrast, flu comes on fast and hits hard, accompanied by a high fever and chills—you will feel too ill to get up. But drink plenty of fluids to flush out your system and prevent dehydration.
- 1 chicken
- 1 large onion, quartered
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 carrots
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 kohlrabi (if available) or 1 medium-sized cabbage
- 1 bunch of parsley
Simmer the thicken, onion, salt and pepper in 2 quarts (2 water for 1 hour. Add the washed, chopped vegetables and cook for 1 hour more. Remove the chicken from the pot, debone and cut into pieces. Pour the soup through a strainer before returning the chicken to the pot. Garnish the soup with parsley and serve.
To Reduce Fever
Fever is the body’s response to illness and actually serves to fight infection. But a temperature higher than 103F (39.5C) will make you miserable. While the local pharmacy offers a wide range of often expensive relief, you may find the following traditional remedies equally effective.
• Apply leg compresses to reduce fever over time. Dip two linen or tightly woven cotton cloths in cold water, wring them out and wrap tightly around the calves with a warm towel on top. Repeat as needed.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Good choices include: fruit juices rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, such as orange, black currant and cranberry; non carbonated mineral water with a dash of fruit juice; or herbal or fruit teas, especially vitamin C-rich rosehip tea. Another classic: Mix the juice of a lemon with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) honey in 1 cup (250 ml) hot water.
• Lime flower or elderflower tea, which are often referred to in traditional medicine as “fever teas,” can assist in bringing on sweating—the body’s natural way of cooling itself—to help reduce a fever. To get the maximum benefit, sip a few cups then have a hot bath before snuggling up under a pile of blankets. When you begin to sweat, wait 2 hours and dry off. Change your clothes and, if necessary, the bedclothes. Drink some fluids and return to bed.
To Relieve Aches and Pains
Traditional wisdom has it that a hot water bottle can relieve pain, promote circulation and help you feel relaxed. Scientists have discovered why: Heat can physically shut down the normal pain response that triggers aches and pains. “It deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers,” says one senior researcher in physiology. But heat brings only temporary relief, so frequent applications may be necessary.
• Apply a mustard plaster, a traditional congestion remedy. Crush 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) mustard seeds (or mustard powder), add the powder to 7 tablespoons (100 g) flour; add water to form a paste. Apply to the chest and leave on for 15 minutes.
Treating a Head Cold
• In the past, people sometimes placed hot or warm moist compresses with fuller’s earth (clay), mashed potato or flaxseeds on the sinuses—an effective and economical remedy. Simply warm a wet cloth in the microwave (don’t make it too hot) and drape it across your face for 10 minutes at a time.
• To relieve nasal congestion, pour boiling water into a bowl, cover your head and the bowl with a towel, and inhale deeply. To make it even more effective, add 6 drops of eucalyptus or chamomile essential oil to the boiling water.
• Spice it up. Foods that contain chile peppers, hot mustard or horseradish can remedy congestion. If it makes your eyes water, it’ll make your nose run.
• Make your own nasal rinse. Dissolve 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt in 2 cups (500 ml) water. Use a nasal dropper or eye dropper to drip it into your nostrils, then blow your nose gently.
As yet, there is no permanent cure for the common cold, but you can reduce susceptibility significantly by boosting your immune system.
• Get plenty of exercise in the fresh air and increase your intake of vitamin C—eat fruit and vegetables. • Avoid stress, nicotine and alcohol.
• Eat lots of pungent onion, garlic, radish or horseradish, which have an antibacterial effect and cleanse the blood.