Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cold Remedies from the Cupboard

What's Your Spice?
My co-worker and I are always sharing remedies and amazingly, we've both avoided the cold/flu bug this season (so far...). I've tried the apple cider vinegar cure that goes like this. First, and most importantly, you need the raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the "mother". The mother is actually the enzyme that settles in the bottom of the bottle from yeast and fermentation by-products. It looks like there's something growing in the bottle, and there is! Be sure to shake the bottle every time so the "mother" gets distributed - it's the good stuff with the real healing properties. Among other things, ACV promotes a healthy immune system and helps the body expel toxins. Here's my recipe for "the cure".
  • 1/4 cup raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2T honey, local is best
  • liberal dash of cayenne
Combine these ingredients in a mug and fill with boiling water - like a tea. Sip slowly. It's not the best tasting thing in the world, it's an "acquired" taste. I gave it to my mother-in-law when she was getting a cold, she drank two doses over two days and declared that she'd rather be sick than drink it again! But she was already feeling much better! I've been able to drink it down with ease and feel amazing when I do - even more energetic. Besides the ACV, honey is known in Ayurvedic medicine as 'Yogavahi', which means "the carrier of the healing values of the herbs to the cells and tissues". It's said that when combined with another substance, like an herb or spice, the honey enhances the medicinal qualities and helps them reach the deeper tissues in the body. That makes sense to me. And the cayenne, well I believe my prolific use of cayenne is what's kept me going strong for years. It's been used medicinally by Native Americans for over 9000 years! 

Cayenne, or capsaicin, is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU). The lowest therapeutic level of SHU or heat units is 35,000. My local co-op carries cayenne powder in 35,000, 60,000 and 90,000 heat units. You guessed it, the higher the heat unit, the spicier it is and the medicinal value increases as well. I buy the 35,000 HU, but I use it a lot and tend to have a heavy hand. Cayenne is known to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system and contains beneficial phytochemicals, vitamins C, E, and Magnesium. It's said to clean the blood and is great for the immune system.

Then there's Cassia (Cinnamon)
My colleague swears by cinnamon and honey. We already know how wonderful honey is, and here's the scoop on cinnamon. Like honey, it's also used in Ayurvedic medicine and is one of the oldest spices known to man. For colds, it boosts the immune system and helps clear sinuses. Other health benefits include reducing cholesterol and relieving acid indigestion, to name a few. My co-worker uses a spoonful of honey sprinkled with cinnamon for her cold cure all. I think I'll try it, and give it to my mother-in-law too. I'm sure it'll taste better than the ACV tea!

So here's two effective cold remedies and I bet you've already got the ingredients in your cupboard! Which one do you prefer?

NOTE: When using ingredients for medicinal value, it's important to use good quality, organic products.

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