Perhaps my family isn't the only one that suffers cold symptoms from time to time, so I thought I'd share some of the remedies I use to help my loved ones get well.
Garlic is, in my book, God's miracle herb. It has some wonderful anti-microbial and healing properties, and it is available just about anywhere in the world. Nothing is better for any kind of sinus issues, but the trouble is making it palatable! I have come across some creative ways to get garlic into their bodies. One way is to make Garlic Lemonade:
Bring a quart of water to a boil. Meanwhile, coarsely chop three cloves of fresh garlic. Once the water boils, remove from heat and add the garlic. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain into a quart jar and add the juice of a lemon. Sweeten with honey, and serve warm.
If you reheat, do it slowly on the stove (not microwave), and do not allow it to boil.
Another way to use garlic is to chop it finely, mix it with Vicks Vaporub, and spread this onto the soles of the patient's feet. Cover with clean cotton socks. You will be amazed how this helps! While you are at it, spread some Vicks on their chest, too, to help relieve congestion.
Garlic can also be consumed raw, chopped finely and mixed with a spoonful of jam to be swallowed quickly (not chewed!).
Some of the locals make a tea from herbs that are available here in Guatemala.
Left to right, dried mango leaves, bouganvilia flowers, and fig leaf.
Boiled and sweetened with honey, these make a pleasant-tasting tea, and it does seem to help break up phlegm. Those of you in other countries can ask around - there is bound to be somebody knowledgeable (perhaps in the market?) who can tell you what available herbs will help with upper-respiratory symptoms. If you're brave, try them out, but just be careful to follow instructions for their preparation and use.
It is very important to give them plenty of water and fresh juices. The diet should be simple (preferably all-fruit), but if they do not have an appetite, do not press them to eat.
If they feel up to some movement, such as walking outdoors (weather permitting) or calm play, the fresh air and light exercise is good to help break up phlegm and lift their spirits.
Vitamins A, C and E work well together to help the body heal. Just remember ACE.
Be sure there is moisture in the air where the patient sleeps. This time of year we have the heater going, and it can really dry out the air. I like to set a pan of water close by, or give them a warm bath at night, then leave the water in the tub overnight, since the bathroom is right by the bedroom. If you have a humidifier, even better!
Plenty of rest and cuddles also go a long way to help the patient feel better. Encourage quiet activities, such as looking at books, and be sure to give plenty of reassuring hugs and kisses! Enlist the help of all family members to cheer the one who is ill.
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..." Proverbs 17:22 :o)