Most of us simply accept that we are in for a week or more of misery when we come down with a cold or the flu. You may have taken the precaution of getting a flu shot and eat all the right things, but still find yourself coughing and feverish. Fortunately, Mother Nature has kept us in mind and has provided some great ways to help beat flu and colds without resorting to potentially hazardous nostrums from the pharmacy shelf.
When you start to experience that achy, tired, and congested feeling that tells you that something is amiss, reach for ginger and turmeric to start fighting these viruses and their symptoms right away. Concealed inside these rhizomes are some very powerful phytochemicals that will work to help you get better faster. Turmeric for colds is one of the best natural treatments available.
A Closer Look at Turmeric and Ginger
Turmeric and ginger are actually first cousins and members of the Zingeberaceae family. These plants are native to Southeast Asia, although they are now grown wherever conditions (hot and wet) are suitable. Both of these plants have been used for medicinal reasons, as well as culinary, for hundreds and hundreds of years, and are a part of the traditional medicine of India and China. Turmeric is definitely the more mild-tasting of the two, with an earthy, peppery, somewhat bitter flavor – ginger has a strong, hot flavor, especially when freshly grated.
Before you actually come down with a respiratory virus, it’s a good idea to purchase some ginger and turmeric rhizomes or roots to have on hand. Choose rhizomes that are firm to the touch and have no diseased spots, mold, or damaged areas on them. You can store both ginger and turmeric in plastic bags in your refrigerator or freezer until you need them. Refrigerated rhizomes will be good for several weeks, and the freezer will keep them safe for months. You can store the rhizomes whole, grated, or sliced.
Now, let’s see exactly why ginger and turmeric can help you get through the flu:
Ginger contains essential oils that contains gingerol, zingiberene, and shogaol that have a number of beneficial qualities. These components of the oil are anti-inflammatory and can help to soothe an irritated throat and bronchial passages.
The sesquiterpenes found in ginger inhibit the build-up of toxins and help discharge existing ones, and are very valuable in disposing of viruses, which can shorten the duration of your illness. Ginger also helps to break up congestion in the nasal passages and the sinuses, and since many flus have a gastrointestinal effect, it can calm an upset stomach.
Tumeric helps to reduce inflammation in your nose and throat, but it has the added benefit of being an antibiotic. All too often, flu or cold will progress to a sinus infection, which means that bacteria have taken up residence in your sinuses and are causing further problems.
Using turmeric when these illnesses first strike can help to inhibit bacterial growth and prevent a sinus infection from taking hold.
Fight Flu with a Tasty Tea or Elixir
If you hate the taste of so-called cough medicines, you might like to try one of these when you feel yourself getting ill. They taste pretty good, and you’ll probably feel their beneficial effects right away. You can also use dried ginger and turmeric in these recipes, with 1 teaspoon of powder being substituted for 1” of rhizome.
Ginger elixir is super easy to make.
The first thing you need is a 1” of ginger rhizome, freshly sliced, 2 to 3 teaspoons of maple syrup, and 3 cups of water. You’ll have to boil the water, and then add the sliced ginger and maple syrup (if you want, add a bit more syrup to taste). Let this steep for several minutes and as soon as it’s cool enough to drink, do so. Try to inhale some of the fragrant steam, too, it aids in breaking up congestion.
Soothe yourself with an aromatic ginger-tumeric tea. It’s easy to brew and will make feel better almost instantly. You need one inch of ginger, sliced thinly, one inch of turmeric, cut lengthwise, the juice of 1 lemon or orange, and 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup. Boil up 2 ½ cups of water and add the other ingredients. Steep this until it’s drinkable. Inhaling the steam increases the tea’s benefits.
Let us know below if these detoxifying and soothing ginger-tumeric tea recipes have worked for you.