At-home remedies, recipes to ease your winter cold

Feeling a winter cold coming on? Forget the medicine cabinet; reach for the spice cabinet instead. (Thinkstock)
Feeling a winter cold coming on? Forget the medicine cabinet. Reach for the spice cabinet, instead. For thousands of years, people all over the world have turned to natural and herbal remedies to help ease symptoms of a common cold or nagging cough. “It’s fascinating as to what folks did to heal themselves,” says Ivan Fitzgerald, owner of the independent spice shop Bazaar Spices. “In Southeast Asia and India you may use green cardamom, whereas in Peru you may use maca.” Even in the U.S., more doctors are putting away their prescription pads for patients with cold-like symptoms to help curb the overuse of antibiotics. Rather, they’re suggesting simple aids such as humidifiers and plenty of fluids to help calm the sniffles. Want to kick your cold fast? Spice up that fluid intake — literally — with some healing herbs. Fitzgerald offers some of his best tips and recipes to clear your stuffy head and soothe your scratchy throat. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/daniaphoto)
Dish of Green Cardamom Pods
Green Cardamom Green cardamom is Fitzgerald’s go-to when he feels like he’s coming down with something. He throws about four to five pods in a pot of water, along with a cinnamon stick and a pinch of ginger, and boils the mixture for about 10 minutes. Drink the hot, soothing tea with a squeeze of lemon. “It’s fantastic for knocking out colds,” he says. (Thinkstock)    (Getty Images/Valueline)
Elderberries
Elderberries There’s a simple way to put an end to that scratchy feeling in the back of your throat. A cup of boiling water and 1 to 2 teaspoons of elderberries will do the trick. As reported by CBS, some medical research suggests elderberry can help reduce swelling in mucus membranes and help relieve congestion. The berries are also said to help ease inflammation. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/alisbalb)
Basil; Marjoram & Rosemary
Rosemary and Basil  There’s a reason why mom’s homemade soup has healing powers: Chances are, the recipe is packed with common culinary herbs such as dried rosemary, thyme and basil. “If you’re feeling the sniffles and you don’t have cardamom in your spice cabinet or may not have any cinnamon, you always have some rosemary and basil. Just make a little tea out of that, add a little lemon juice and drink that a couple of times a day,” Fitzgerald says.  Drinking the hot, herby liquid will help soothe your throat and clear your head. “And if you’re in that early stage of cold, it will help you kind of fight it off a little bit,” Fitzgerald adds. As reported in The Atlantic, researchers have found that the oils in herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil have antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. (Thinkstock)  (Getty Images/Eising)
Bokeh light, yarrow flowers, macro, Achillea millefolium
Yarrow Yarrow is an herb traditionally used by Native Americans to alleviate cold-like symptoms. Fitzgerald says it has a mild woodsy-like flavor. “It’s not as intense as, say, rosemary. I would say more along the lines of like nettle.”  Steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of yarrow in a cup of water and drink the tea a couple of times a day. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/La_Corivo)
A grasshopper (Gomphocerinae) sits on a branch of a chamomile in Ried im Innkreis, Upper Austria, Friday June 8, 2012. The forecast predicts sunny weather and temperatures up to 32 degrees (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Chamomile Commonly consumed as a tea, chamomile helps relieve cold-related headaches and trouble sleeping. Steep a few tablespoons of dried chamomile blossoms in boiling water to make a tea that’s tasty to drink and pretty to look at. According to the National Institutes of Health, chamomile may also help an upset stomach or alleviate diarrhea in children. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson) (AP/Kerstin Joensson)
This photo taken Sept. 22, 2009 shows a marsh mallow plant. As you scratch into the soil at the base of a marsh mallow plant, the resemblance of marsh mallow roots to marshmallow candy becomes immediately apparent. It doesn't take long for a plant to develop fat white roots. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)
Marshmallow  Fitzgerald is not suggesting that the sweet and fluffy candy will help you ward off seasonal sickness, but marshmallow root may help you feel better. When wet, the root becomes slippery — almost slime-like, Fitzgerald says — so it coats the respiratory and digestive tract. According to Fitzgerald, legend has it that the candy got its name after a French doctor disguised marshmallow root in confection form. Kids with sore throats and colds were much more willing to chew on the sweet treat than sip on a hot, slimy tea. And if you prefer to do the same, you can find recipes for marshmallows — made with real marshmallow root — online. (AP Photo/Lee Reich) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Lee Reich)
Dried chrysanthemum flowers for making tea
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum is a go-to if you’re feeling a bit feverish. “It’s known to be a cooling herb, so what that will kind of do is help make you feel a little bit cooler as you have that cold,” Fitzgerald says. Alternative health experts say people also use the dried flowers to treat respiratory illnesses and reduce inflammation. Similar to the other herbs and spices, Fitzgerald mixes 1 to 2 tablespoons in a cup of boiling water to make a tea. (Thinkstock)     (Getty Images/iStockphoto/siwaporn999)
Chinese Medicine,  Nourishing herbs   ,All kinds of nourishing herbs still lifes close-up
Angelica Root Stomach issues? Reach for the angelica root. The Scandinavian plant is used by many in teas to help ease digestive difficulties, as well as respiratory and flu-like symptoms. Mix a few teaspoons of the root with boiling water and drink a few times a day. (Thinkstock) (MINGMIN XIE)
tea from the dried berries
Rose Hip  Rose hips, Fitzgerald says, are great when it comes to cold and flu prevention. The vitamin C-packed fruit of the rose plant is commonly used in jams, syrups and pies, and when added to boiling water, makes a great tea. Fitzgerald says the flavor is naturally sweet, so a little honey and a squeeze of lemon really help to round out the beverage. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/pproman)
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Feeling a winter cold coming on? Forget the medicine cabinet; reach for the spice cabinet instead. (Thinkstock)
Dish of Green Cardamom Pods
Elderberries
Basil; Marjoram & Rosemary
Bokeh light, yarrow flowers, macro, Achillea millefolium
A grasshopper (Gomphocerinae) sits on a branch of a chamomile in Ried im Innkreis, Upper Austria, Friday June 8, 2012. The forecast predicts sunny weather and temperatures up to 32 degrees (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
This photo taken Sept. 22, 2009 shows a marsh mallow plant. As you scratch into the soil at the base of a marsh mallow plant, the resemblance of marsh mallow roots to marshmallow candy becomes immediately apparent. It doesn't take long for a plant to develop fat white roots. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)
Dried chrysanthemum flowers for making tea
Chinese Medicine,  Nourishing herbs   ,All kinds of nourishing herbs still lifes close-up
tea from the dried berries

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