Tag Archives: common cold

The first autumnal cold/sniffle/illness…

It would appear that my dear hubby has fallen foul of the first bug of the autumn/winter illness season.


He usually has a cold or some kind of congestion from now until March and then hayfever kicks in, the poor guy, but this year I wanted to be prepared and have some ideas up my sleeve to hopefully make him feel better.  Sure, he can keep using the Lemsips and the over the counter pharmacy preparations, and on some occasions, he will probably have to to keep his tubes clear and operational, but if we can give him a head start with some natural alternatives, then so much the better.

Obviously, chicken soup is FABULOUS when you are feeling grotty.  I have some stocks of some pre-made stuff, and if he is determined to go to work and battle through, then he shall go with some of them.

tomato tea

I did find, in my research on line that I could also make him something they called tomato and garlic tea.  I am not sure I could persuade him to drink it (because he is not wild about tomatoes generally… but I wonder if I could work the ingredients into something he would imbibe without complaint?  The ingredients are tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice and hot sauce.  You put them in a pan, heat them up and drink down.  Sounds great.  I swear my bronchioles are opening just THINKING about that.

It is also a good idea to do a steam inhalation… you know the old stick a towel over a bowl of boiling water, put your head under the towel, breathe in, cough up a lung, repeat until you can breath without coughing.  It really works (plus it does marvellous things for your complexion) and is extra specially effective if you put some herbs or essential oils in there as well.  I am thinking Rosemary, Eucalyptus or Tea Tree Oil would be great.  We have also used a teaspoon of Vicks Vaporub in the water as well… but that really is the heavy artillery!

steam inhalation

And the final idea to help him is something that we do every night anyway.  And that is have a big old steaming mug of tea.  The steam helps the lungs, but good old black tea is chock full of antioxidants.  That will help him feel better as well.

I trust that you have not yet succumbed to a cold!  I can feel that tell tale tickle at the back of my nose… so I am going to indulge in a steam inhalation I think.  Kill it before it takes hold!


I am back… with healthy jelly shots… no, really.

I know, I know, it has been months.  I am sorry for abandoning this blog, and the many other parts of my life which have been sacrificed on the altar of getting the new house up and running.  Well, the latter hasn’t happened either really, as I suspect that is a Labour of Hercules, but here are the highlights of what has been going on in the life of Viridian Herbalist…

really long lists

-Painting in the new house like chairs, front doors and stuff trying to make the house our own.  We actually own the place now, so that is a step forward.

– Keeping on top of laundry and cleaning in a bigger house juggling typically difficult English weather

– Moving my Mum from the wilds of Wiltshire to a flat complex next door but three to the new house, and organising getting her place sorted out as well as ours

– Going to Adoption Panel and being approved as Adoptive parents, and now getting on to the matching process, with yet another new social worker.

– Getting inspiration for a story which is really going well.  I have written over 14,000 words of it so far, and I keep on going.  Although I have always loved creative writing, I don’t think I have ever managed to sustain a story and characters for so long.

– Going on holiday to Canada to stay with my best friend and her family and having a fabulous time

– Coming back to dear old Blighty and getting ourselves over jet lag and back into the swing of life, the universe and everything.


I have, however, now decided that it is time to get back to posting and doing Herbalism studies, before we get matched with our potential children, at which point, all bets are off again until we get into some kind of routine.  Let’s not borrow trouble though.  It is good to be back posting!


So, I did some searching on Pinterest for a really good thing to post about for my return post.  I found a really interesting pin from http://commonsensehome.com/ about making home made immune boosting jelly shots.  Who doesn’t like jelly shots?!  Usually the ones I have had are rather alcoholic and not good to consume in large or small quantities (though they are fun!).  But this is a really simple recipe, and a great idea to boot.  Especially as with the change of season we are moving into a very active period for colds and flu.  Anything that might help increase my immune system and stop the germs getting to me and slowing me down has got to be a good idea.


Obviously you need to think about which herbs help to build up your immune system.  There are lots of suggestions on the website but I am considering making two varieties.  One will be the tasty, fruity and spicy sort, using grapefruit juice, honey, cinnamon and ginger, maybe with a bit of mint added in for its antiviral properties.  That can be the prophylactic if you will, the one to stop the infections if at all possible.  The second sort I will make will be the “shock troops”, the one to be brought out to fight if my body succumbs.  They will have echinacea (from tea most likely), garlic, ginger, maybe sage.  They won’t taste very nice, but hopefully they will do the trick.


These jelly shots are made using plain gelatin, not the commercially bought flavoured gelatin.  The flavours will come from the fruit juice and the herbs.


You need 3 tablespoons of plain powdered gelatin or agar agar for Kosher/Vegan/Vegetarians.

1 cup of cold fruit juice

3 cups of heated fruit juice, heated with the herbs of choice, or 2 cups of fruit juice and 1 cup of hot tea

2 tablespoons of honey


You sprinkle the gelatin over the cold juice in a large bowl and let it stand for 1 minute.  Add in the hot juice and stir until the gelatin dissolves, which could take up to 10 minutes. Stir in the honey if you want to include it.  Pour the mixture into a rectangular dish of choice, but make sure it will be easy to cut into 1 inch cubes.  Refrigerate until firm, which will take about 3 hours and then you can cut them up.


This mix can make up to 9 dozen, but the recipe can be cut in half.  I will probably keep the shots in the fridge, and take one daily to boost the immune system and if I succumb to the bugs, then up the dose to 2 a day.


If you do make these, let me know how you get on with them!


The misery of the common cold

January is, without a doubt, peak cold season.

common cold cartoon

At the moment it is hard to find a group of people who can stay silent for any longer than a few seconds without breaking into a chorus of coughing and hacking, punctuated by the occasional nose blow reminiscent of a large cruise liner docking.  A lot of people start off with a cold and then it hits their chest, becomes infected and they end up on antibiotics for a chest infection, or worse.

Medical science has not yet found a cure, so it is back to the herbal remedy cupboard to find some soothing assistance for this annual misery.  I have to say, I find having a cold in the winter, easier to deal with than a cold in the summer, and that is partly due to the fact that a lot of the remedies suggested are quite comforting when it is cold, damp or even snowy outside.  Less so when it is hot, dry and sunny.

cold virus

So, what happens when you are infected with the common cold virus?  Your body reacts to the foreign invader, and it starts to create thick mucus to stop the virus in its tracks.  Often, the mucus will drip down the back of your throat (also known as post nasal drip) and that can lead to a sore throat, and is one way in which the cold moves onto your chest.  (I apologise if you are eating while reading this… not pleasant imagery!)  The other way is that the virus just goes to the lungs and the mucus is created there in an effort to cease the invasion, making it difficult and very unpleasant to breathe as well as causing those trademark coughs.


The first key thing is to keep warm and introduce heat to the body.  Hot water bottles, cups of tea and the old standard of chicken soup are all great for this.  Being wrapped up in a big old quilt also works a treat.  The extra warmth loosens mucus and makes it easier to cough up and get rid of.  This is the key to recovery from a cold.  You have got to get rid of that mucus, and with it, as much of the virus as you can.

Another way to make the mucus easier to get rid of is to stay hydrated. The more hydrated you are, the thinner the mucus is and the easier it is to get rid of.  You need to limit drinks with caffeine and alcohol because they are diruetics.  Water is perfect, though I would suggest using warm water or room temperature water.  I think most of us have experienced the coughs if you drink very cold water after being warm.  This reaction would be even more pronounced if you already have a mucus issue.


If you are blowing your nose regularly, and you should be – not just after you sneeze but also after you cough, every time – then we all know the “Rudolph” look where your nose becomes red and angry and chapped and sore.  Frankly, it is miserable.  Petroleum jelly is a good thing to put on the chap, or you can use an unscented face cream.  Obviously you could use balm tissues as well, which will take longer to produce the redness, but I also find that using toilet paper instead of tissues is really good as well.

If you have a sore throat as well as the mucus, then a warm salt water gargle will work a treat.  1 teaspoon of salt in a small glass of water, then toss it back in your throat, but prevent yourself from swallowing it.  Salty water is NOT a good thing to swallow.  This was a common remedy in our household when I was growing up, and frankly it used to make me feel nauseous in the extreme, but it did help.


Obviously, prevention is always better than cure, and to try and stop getting it, you can use supplements of Vitamin C, Zinc or Echinacea.  Zinc can suppress the immune system if you use it consistently over a long period of time, so you need to take it for 2 weeks, rest for 2 weeks and repeat.  Also, eating a balanced diet will help build your immune system and may even prevent you from getting a cold in the first place.

stop the spread

You can also do our part in preventing the spread of the misery.  If you are feeling rough, then stay at home.  Once you are better, I suggest steam cleaning the house and surfaces you might have touched after coughing or sneezing.  That way if one person gets it, it is not inevitable that the entire household gets it.  In addition, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.  Use a tissue for preference, but if you do use your hand, then use antibacterial hand gel straight after.  Wash your hands often and always dispose of your tissues appropriately.  In a bin, which is regularly emptied is better than just leaving them lying about.

Recovery from a cold is really the application of common sense, and I hope, if you are currently suffering, you make a swift recovery.