I was so glad to get rid of my chest infection after 5 weeks of agony, I forgot I hadn’t even posted this one, but as it is still in vogue, here we go…it might just aid those needing a helping hand with a few tips, or at least commiserations; no, you are not alone.
Cold, Flu or Sinus/chest Infection? ‘tis the season, after all…
So here I am, nursing my early January cold and crossing fingers it goes away quickly. For the past few days, each time I woke up, I kinda expected it would just vanish. But this is a stubborn beast and I’ve just about had it, so, war it is: I’m attacking with my full arsenal of anti-cold/flu weapons.
A couple of days Iater, this turned into a full blown chest infection, so I knew I had to keep up with a longer term battle, and my first port of call is:
Yeah, everyone has their own favourite combo here, but I don’t mix them up and let them stew in the cupboard. Instead, I squeeze the juice of a couple of lemons into a glass and mix it with about half-a-thumb length of peeled and grated fresh ginger. This time I only have cubes of frozen ginger, so that’ll have to do. I add to this a heaped teaspoon of pure honey. Here, I use sage honey. You can use another, of course. Now, my secret weapon: ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of chilli pepper powder. Wisk vigorously, add 100 – 150 ml water, stir again and drink at once! Repeat 3-4 times a day. Especially if you have someone to make it for you…while you feel too ill to make it yourself, but when you can, enjoy the aromas and the preparation process! It feels therapeutic, knowing you are preparing a real magic potion of goodness for yourself. My friend Jayanthi would be proud of me for the amount of ginger I am consuming here daily!
There are so many versions out there, and although you can make a simple beef /chicken/vegetarian broth, my nan and my mum used to make me beef broth when I was ill. Truth is, as long as it includes a few bones, it will be fine. (If you’re veggie, don’t judge. I was brought up like this and as I go, I minimise use of meat; hopefully, there’ll be a pesco-veggie out of me yet). Do try to use local produce and pesticide free. I use free-range, organic and local whenever I can afford to do so. The soup can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. A few chicken wings, seasonal veggies, or whatever you have at home, with a few spices, will do great. I’ll go here with the chicken version.
You can roast the chicken thighs/wings/legs first. Entirely optional, though.
Use the largest pot you have (usually that makes for about 4-5 litres), put chicken thighs and/or wings and/or legs into the pot, fill with water and add some salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put on heat to boil.
Now prepare the vegetables. The minimum you need is one medium to large onion, a stick of celery and a couple of carrots. Peel and chop, then add to the chicken.
Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Remove the grey foam as it forms, then add some fresh stock or a couple of stock cubes. Flavour? Your choice.
At this point, you can just leave the soup slowly simmer to infuse all the goodness from the ingredients and right before you want to consume it, add into the hot soup a chopped bunch of parsley.
Just as it is, the soup has proven positive effect. Even science says so! To make it extra potent, when you are adding the chopped vegetables, peel and grate a good thumb size of ginger root, clean and squish/puree/chop a bulb of garlic, measure 1 tsp of oregano (or chop up a small bunch of it), 1 tsp of turmeric , ½ tsp of chilli and add all to the soup. Add some chopped spring onions.
When the meat is almost falling off the bones, take it out and pick the meat off the bones, chop or shred it, then return to the soup. Add a large handful of chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy and let it do its magic.
Aroma Steam Magic
When I bought my facial steamer, I had no idea I would actually use it most when I’m ill. Just steaming my face without any aromatherapy oils when I fall ill with a cold, flu or a chest infection, sinus infection or similar, it help me breathe easier, warm up when the jitters settle in and relax a bit. But real magic happens when I add a few drops of aromatherapy oils.
My basic concoction, for above mentioned issues, includes peppermint oil, tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil. The additions depend on time of day I prepare the steaming. If it is evening and close to bedtime, I always add lavender oil to induce its calming effects. My Daytime Combo always includes citruses:
- 2 drops of peppermint oil
- 2 drops of tea tree oil
- 2 drops of eucalyptus oil
- 3 drops of lemon oil
- 3 drops of lime oil
- 2 drops of peppermint
- 2 drops of tea tree oil
- 2 drops of eucalyptus oil
- 3 drops of lavender oil
- 3 drops of ylang ylang oil
Additional benefits items:
Vaseline or lip balm. I used a lip butter I had handy. Keep applying on your dried out lips and sore nostrils. Yes. You read this right. I regularly apply some on my nostrils, which prevents drying out and pure raw pain from endless nose wiping. To me, this is the most irritating side effect of a cold, flu, sinus or chest infection and it provides such a relief. You’re welcome!
Kitchen roll on tap for coughing up nasty stuff. Keep the softest tissue for the nose.
Seven Seas vitamin C and Zinc chewable capsules. They burst with lovely strong flavour and add to the vitamin intake too. While the flavour is secondary, you will need it, as that unpleasant ill bitterness lingers in your mouth. These little capsule wonders have such great flavour, at least temporarily they give you a moment of enjoyment. First time ever I liked taking my vitamins since I was a kid, when they were disguised in the shape of little super cute pet sweets, and that’s saying something!
List of Ingredients I have used and why:
The descriptions of all the ingredients I have used are result of mixed sources. Much of it comes from my mother, grandmother, other family and friends, from my own studies and readings, variety of books and websites. I do not go into great detail and do not list all the benefits of each item, but focus more on the properties useful with the issues connected with colds, flu and chest infections.
Please, do inform yourself well before you use any of them, be sure you are not sensitive or allergic to them, have medical conditions or use medication that may contraindicate it. I am here to share my experience with you which you may consider useful, but I do not consider myself an expert and this is not medical advice. If unsure, consult your doctor.
Eucalyptus – superb decongestant (especially useful at night, to ease breathing) and antiseptic with a strong odour (rather repulsive to me, but it is so useful, I put up with it, and here is your answer to why I use additional oils, for the scent) which kills airborne germs. It is used to ease colds, flu, sinus and chest infections.
Lavender – calming and antiseptic, lavender essential oil is also antibacterial, antibiotic, antidepressant, analgesic, decongestant, and sedative, therefore great for tension, tiredness and depression, aches and pains, insomnia or as massage oil for tense and aching muscles.
Lemon – stimulating, invigorating, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic and deodorising, so it can be used for clearing the head when ill with a cold or flu or mental exhaustion. It will help energising the body, boost circulation and concentration. It relieves stress and tension and it is a great air antiseptic.
Lime – antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and can be used for breathing problems, flu, colds, fever and infection.
Peppermint – strongly antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, cooling, and anaesthetic to the skin, although it is also an irritant. soothe a fever, practitioners recommend cool compresses to which a couple of drops of peppermint oil have been added. Peppermint essential oil may interfere with sleep if used too close to bedtime. Not compatible with homeopathic treatment.
Tea tree essential oil can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
As with all essential oils, be sure to buy them from a reputable source if using in aromatherapy applications.