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Courtesy MyHealth

Three ways to beat your mid-semester cold

By Christie Melhorn, February 14 2017 —

The sniffling and hacking coughs that echo throughout the halls of the University of Calgary are a sure sign that midterms are approaching. In the flurry of paper writing and studying, it’s easy to catch a cold but not so easy to get over it. This week, the Gauntlet compiled our favourite cold-busting recipes to get you through the rest of winter.

Lemon and ginger root tea:

This tea is not meant to be enjoyed. It’s rather overwhelming and might make you lose your appetite — especially if you don’t like ginger. However, the spicy earthiness mixed with a citrus zing will soothe your throat and help you feel better. According to livestrong.com, lemon juice contains anti-inflammatory properties that ease swollen muscles and joints, while vitamin C helps strengthen your immune system. Ginger simultaneously relieves nausea, acts as a cough suppressant and is an anti-inflammatory agent. Together, these two simple ingredients make a cold-crushing elixir.

When I make this tea, I usually don’t measure anything out. However, here is a structured recipe that I borrowed from

  • Boil two cups of water.
  • Thinly slice one three-inch piece of ginger root. Peeling is optional. Toss in the boiling water.
  • Add at least half a cup of lemon juice to the pot.
  • Stir well, cover and let the pot sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture to remove the ginger pulp before drinking.

As simple as this recipe is, the process of making the tea can also offer health benefits. The barky texture of ginger and the crisp scent of lemon offer a pleasant sensory experience. The subtle puffs of steamy ginger that escape from the boiling water create a comforting, homey feel. To really amp up the relaxing effects of this tea-making process, I recommend making it at night with some candles to soothe the mood.

Oil of oregano:

Oil of oregano is one of the few over-the-counter cold remedies that I’m willing to spend a decent amount of money on. It’s a fiery, golden substance derived from the leaves of oregano — and will probably burn your throat the first few times you take it. However, the stinging sensation is not just a superficial mediator of your cold symptoms. Dr. Joseph Mercola — an osteopathic physician and member of the American College of Nutrition — says that oil of oregano is abundant in healing compounds such as carvacrol and thymol. These help detonate parasites and infections and can boost your immune system.

If you’re willing to give oil of oregano a try, be warned there are various old wives’ tales about the best way to consume it. Oil of oregano capsules are available, but it’s generally more cost effective to purchase it in liquid form. Most bottles come with a dropper for easy use and accurate dosage measurements. As I’m usually in a rush, I try to place one to three drops under my tongue followed by a glass of water to help it absorb. I’ll do this about two or three times a day when I’m sick.

Mercola recommends placing one drop of oil of oregano mixed with one drop of either olive or coconut oil and placing it under your tongue for a few minutes. Afterwards, rinse out your mouth with water. Repeating this four times a day will maximize results. That might sound like a lot but it is a simple and quick process. When I’m sick, I carry a small bottle in my backpack to bust out when I’m in need of a revitalizer.

A tablespoon of honey:

In contrast to the remedies previously mentioned, a tablespoon of raw honey is one of the most guiltlessly indulgent, decadent and beneficial types of cold medicine that nature can offer us. According to the National Honey Board, ingesting honey coats your throat and can offer temporary sore throat relief.

As a bonus, eating honey is extremely enjoyable. It slowly melts into a delicious sugary blanket that allows you to thoroughly savor the sweetness. When you’re bogged down with a cold, this can go a long way to boost your mood and temporarily alleviate discomfort.

Even when I’m not sick, if I’m itching for something sugary and awful for me, I’ll pop a giant spoonful of honey. It’s great because I don’t feel like I’m compromising for the junk that I want — my craving is equally satisfied but without the sluggishness that I feel after a Mars bar or caramel Frappuccino. You can also add a tablespoon of honey to the ginger root tea to naturally sweeten it and make it a little more tolerable.

When it comes to a pesky cold, the greatest remedy is time — which, unfortunately, is something students don’t have a lot of. While these at-home cures may not completely neutralize your sickness, they at least encourage you to take some self-time while subduing your symptoms.

So before you pop yet another generic cold and flu pill before your big midterm, opt for one of these natural remedies to help get you through your day.

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