Raw garlic’s strong antimicrobial properties make it effective for fending off and treating the common cold. It works best as an early intervention, notes Haas. His favorite method — chewing raw cloves with added honey — is the most pungent, but not the only way to get it down.
Peel one or two garlic cloves, dip in honey, and chew. Or simply mince a few cloves, add warm water and a little honey, stir, and swallow without chewing; the garlic still does its magic. Repeat every two to three hours from the first sign of sickness.
Fatigue: Blackstrap Molasses
Ongoing fatigue can have many causes, so it needs a physician’s diagnosis and care. But for women suffering from run-of-the-mill, postmenstrual fatigue, blackstrap molasses — a good source of iron, calcium, and other minerals — can work wonders, says Zand.
“It’s a pick-me-up from the pioneer days, and a great restorative remedy for women suffering from what used to be known as ‘tired blood.’ “
Dissolve 1 to 2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses in 1/2 cup of warm water or milk, such as almond, rice, or soy, and drink daily.
Sinusitis: Oregano, Thyme & Rosemary
Steam is the best way to deliver the healing power of herbs to congested sinuses, says Welliver. “Oregano and rosemary have antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties,” she explains. “Plus, they’re bronchodilators, so they help you breathe.”
Use the herbs separately or together, or up the healing ante by boiling up a pot of standard-issue Italian seasoning.
Add 3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning (or the dried herbs of your choice) to a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer the pot to a table. Cover your head with a towel to create a steam tent; inhale for 10 to 20 minutes or until the steam dissipates.
While clinical depression needs medical attention, a simpler solution can help the everyday blues. “Cinnamon puts sweetness back into your life,” says Catty. “It’s safe, it contains no sugar, and clinical research has shown it even helps stabilize blood sugar levels.” Take some whenever you’re feeling out of sorts. Going through an especially rough patch? “Lots of cinnamon,” says Catty.
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over a stick of cinnamon and steep for 10 minutes. Drink, and smile.
For a dry cough, ground mustard helps loosen congestion and reduce inflammation. A topical pack is effective, but be sure to check it every three to five minutes. “Mustard can irritate or even burn the skin,” says Welliver.
Combine 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground mustard with 1 cup of flour. Add warm water to make a thick paste. Spread over a piece of muslin or an old T-shirt. Apply olive oil to the chest to protect the skin, then place the mustard pack cloth-side down. Put a towel or cloth over that and lay a hot-water bottle filled with warm water on top, if desired. Recline and relax for about 20 minutes.