Monday, March 26, 2007


It was inevitable.

I overextended myself last week, so of course my immune system has decided to have a holiday. Major sore throat last night, stuffy head and very gross post-nasal drip all day long. I feel grouchy and very, very ill.

I am online in search of effective treatment.

My Slovak grandmother's remedy was a fairly lethal two-step concoction: (1) a drink of hot water, lemon, goose grease and whiskey and (2) Vicks Vapor Rub smeared all over the chest and onto an old sock, which was tied around one's neck. Mmmm. I think I may even have some Rub in the cupboard--but the goose grease is going to be a challenge.

My father's remedy is garlic soup in a chicken stock base. This one is fairly effective and fairly palatable. And when one's congested, one can go extra heavy on the garlic and not even notice (although everyone else around one will). Alas, I just don't have the energy to cook*--and I am a bit afraid of the Wal-Mart chickens to which I have ready access.

I did take echinacea as soon as I started to feel my throat go scratchy and have had several capsules since--but I am a bit sceptical as to the effectiveness of that herb. It doesn't seem to be doing anything at all.

As an alternative natural supplement, I think Mom prefers zinc, although the Mayo Clinic seems to doubt its effectiveness as well.

In Googling around for other remedies, I discovered the following fun items:

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, glands in one's nose and sinuses produce 1 to 2 QUARTS of mucus a day. And that's when one doesn't have a cold. The production only increases when the body tris to clear viruses or allergens from one's nasal passages.

  • The Mayo Clinic also has a lovely video demonstrating nasal irrigation (nasal lavage) for adults. Not very tempted, although it looks very effective.
Do any of you have any other remedies which you have found helpful? I'd love to know. Sniff.

*Spouse, bless him, cooked dinner: a British fry-up (fried mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon, eggs, bread and canned beans), and somehow the smell of bacon even penetrated. I ate it all.


sognatrice said...

I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling well; at least you have a cooking hubby to feed you :) The Slovak remedy sounds a lot like my Lithuanian grandfather's method ;)

When I'm stuffed, I fill a sink or large bowl with scalding hot water and lemon and lean into it with a towel over my head to stop vapors from escaping; other than that, I sleep or at least try to. A lot.

Sharon Hurlbut said...

The bulb syringe is not so great, but I use a neti pot for nasal irrigation and it works wonders. It's really very easy to do. I use it a lot during allergy season to flush all that stuff out at the end of the day and it's made a big difference in the number of sinus infections I get. I don't use it much when I have a bad cold though, mostly because I can't work up the energy to do it.
I got my neti pot at the local market (New Seasons, if you live in Oregon), but I've also seen them in catalogs and I'm sure health stores probably carry them.

The best remedy I've found for a cold? A lot of sleep and a lot of water. Hope you feel better soon!