I’m getting better. I think. I spent some time outside today (sincerely layered) shoveling snow and mucking out the goat pen. Sneezes were down significantly, ears only slightly plugged, head pressure possibly clearing.
Which tenuous upturn makes me an authority on remedies for the common cold.
*This authorized dubiousness comprises tonight’s Saturday Special (I’m going for historical here).
**These are all homely remedies, by the way. Truly indubitable? You decide.
1) Lemon & Honey.
Growing up, when we had sore throats, my mom used to warm up a little bit of lemon juice concentrate mixed with honey (Realemon…the spelling vexed my little girl brain), and give us the concoction a teaspoon at a time. The ultra sour/sweet combination distracted us (our senses reeling) into feeling better…at least for a little while.
2) Hot peppers
(Dad’s idea). One bite at a time. Each bite clears your sinuses for about 2 minutes, so take your time with one hot pepper and you might actually be able to breathe for a half hour straight. Plus, once your body recognizes it has suffered no real internal damage from swallowing the culinary equivalent of a blow torch, it will flood itself with endorphins out of sheer relief (bonus: natural high).
3) Wellness Formula herbal pills.
This remedy is my husband’s favorite. If you know him, chances are he’s sold you on it. Each pill has just about every beneficial herb known to man packed into it. And I think they’re fermented (possibly pre-digested by bats?)—they smell really bad. Hence their nickname: Columbia Park Specials, after the abundant goose poop lying aground near the Columbia River at one of our favorite Washington parks. Persuaded by Frank, I have tried them (the pills). In a way, they worked for me; when I took them, I became a whole different kind of sick.
4) Purloined Cough drops.
When I was little, my parents very rarely gave us candy. Therefore, sweet-deprived one day in first grade, I discovered a glossy red cherry cough drop lying on the floor in the girl’s bathroom, and couldn’t resist the temptation. Theory: Little girls who scavenge gum and candy off floors and sidewalks grow up into mothers who eat off their children’s plates. Which, in the end, could possibly give us super-human immune systems.
5) Hot Sheet Fever Wrap.
This is my father in law’s remedy. He wraps himself in extra layers of sheets and blankets when he’s feverish, and “sweats it out”. I’ve never tried this cleansing by fire routine, but as awful as it sounds, my father in law insists that it works. If you don’t die from heat exhaustion—or drown in your own perspiration.
6) Plaster of onion and mustard.
My grandmother was respected in her late-Depression community for her skill in treating “pneumonia” with homemade mustard plasters. I am fascinated by this. Did it really work? My mom believes it did. My grandmother is gone, and so is her mustard and onion secret.
7) Stay warm and breathe cold air.
For real. When my second daughter was tiny, we spent the early weeks of the winter in and out of emergency rooms, our baby gasping for air with croup. We learned that bundling her up and taking her out in the cold helped her to breathe more easily. The cold eases inflammation… but I came to believe it also worked some other kind of magic. For the rest of that frigid winter, I took my girls on daily wagon rides around our apartment complex, dressing them as warm as little polar bears. Neither was sick again all season, which seemed a major miracle to me (I was sooo grateful). Now, I run with the cold as much as I can through winter, and though I get sick occasionally, I’m convinced that my lungs are better off with cold fresh air. It took care of my baby girl…grown up now.