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When we’re sick, our body ramps things up to protect us. An increase in mucus brings an increase in antiseptic enzymes and antibodies. Our noses run to wash out some of the germs, and make it harder for others to enter. This increase in mucous, coupled with narrowed inflamed nasal passages that accompany some colds and general bugs; can make for some truly uncomfortable days and nights. If you are suffering from an illness such as a cold or sinusitis and not just allergies, chances are your chest is congested with extra mucous as well. Here to save the day (and night) is an all-natural decongestant and expectorant.
Ingredients: Cayenne pepper, honey, lemon juice, ginger, apple cider vinegar.
Decongestant: Thins out mucous, making it less likely you’ll get a really stuffed up nose/reduces mucous production.
Expectorant: It helps “expel” the mucous by loosening it up and making it easier to cough up.
Why the ingredients?: Cayenne pepper, honey, and ginger are all natural expectorants, meaning they help loosen phlegm or mucous from the lungs, making it easier to rid yourself of it and therefore relieving pressure and making you more comfortable. Cayenne also works as a decongestant, thanks to the natural chemical capsaicin, which helps relieve swelling and inflammation that is narrowing nasal passages. Apple cider vinegar is thought to help thin out mucous being secreted, making it easier to drain the congestion. Lemon juice is also thought to help with congestion, although the exact scientific reason isn’t known, and makes the whole thing go down a little easier.
You will need…
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger
- 3 tablespoons of all natural organic honey
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Pour ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of raw organic honey and ¼-½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and powdered ginger each (the latter amount makes it quite strong.) Store in a jar in a cool, dark, place indefinitely. Adults take 1-2 tablespoons daily as needed. Shake well before using, as the powder doesn’t dissolve in the most pristine way. I find it pleasant sometimes to warm the mixture before taking it.
One of my least favorite sensations is waking up in the middle of the night with one side of my nose completely plugged up. The sensation is usually followed by frantically flipping from side to side to try and “drain” it, only to have the other side get blocked (I won’t even get started on all the crumpled, wasted, tissues that pile up as a permanent sign of my discomfort.) We’ve all been there, and nobody likes it. When I feel the onset of a stuffy nose, or wake up like this, I go the cupboard for my trusty jar of spicy cider syrup ASAP.
One thing to keep in mind-the best (almost) instant and natural decongestant out there is steam. If you’re in need of instant relief, hop in a hot shower or make a cup of tea/boil some water and breathe in the steam to thin out mucous so it drains easily. Have some tissues next to you!
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By Claire Goodall
Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, romping with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse.
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