Yesterday I came down with a cold. Typical autumn move, really. It always seems to happen at this time of year.
My body doesn't acclimate well to the decrease in temperatures. You'd think I'd be immune to this, considering I've always lived in Maine. No sirree, Bob. I get cold just like everyone else and I get colds just like everyone else.
One of the natural health aids and practices I learned from my mother is gargling salt water to alleviate the discomfort from a sore throat. When I was younger, she would always make me do this whenever I got a cold. In my early 20s, I'd talk to her on the phone about my sickness and she'd ask if I had gargled salt water. I hadn't. Now that I was all "grown-up", I didn't have to follow through with my mom's practical health tips.
Big mistake. (Go figure.) Now that I'm beyond my early 20s and in my late 20s, I value gargling salt water (sometimes all it takes is five years to get your head screwed on straight!). I gargled twice yesterday and (both times) I felt immediate relief that lasted for over an hour. It's a very cheap method for keeping down the inflammation in your throat.
I use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in each cup of warm water and gargle at least five mouthfuls. This recipe can be tweaked a little, but don't use too much more salt than mentioned, because it can actually cause harm to your throat. Also, by no means swallow salt water. You try not to do it in the ocean; make all attempts not to do it in your kitchen.
Salt works on the bacteria in your throat by dehydrating it. At least, that's what Google tells me. (It's more of an explanation than "it just works," which is what I've heard my whole life). Also, salt is a cleanser - we all know sore throats need a little cleansing (dirty jerks).
In addition to gargling salt water, I recommend trying Throat Coat. (Not sponsored by Traditional Medicinals; just love this product!) It's a winner when it comes to relief and I'm a big fan of its licorice flavor.
Also, local herbalist Natalia Bragg taught a workshop this summer about natural remedies and informed us that drinking the juice of half an onion will kick out a cold. It's an awful-tasting remedy and it will cause some stinging on the back of your throat, but it's "extremely effective." I have not tested this practice on myself, but I figured I'd pass it along!
Also, don't forget about the lumberjack sock giveaway!