Thursday, 11 February 2010

Cold-battling techniques

First of all, thanks for your kind wishes to yesterday's post!

I am already much better - if I get a cold or a flu-like thing, it usually hits me hard, totally flattens me into bed for a day or two, but gets rapidly better from there. However, every time I had a cold and am able to think again, I am fascinated by all of the different cold-battling techniques that different people adopt. I had never heard of oranges with honey, for example - but it is certainly a good idea, plus it leaves the honey unheated.

So here are two tried-and-true cold medicines from my family.
My Dad absolutely swears by something he calls "beekeeper's tea" - it's just honey dissolved in warm to hot water. As always with honey conconctions, it is best if you get the water to a temperature that will feel like a hot drink when you consume it, but is not too hot - honey loses some of its beneficial ingredients if it is heated to more than 40° C.
It's only recently that I really tried beekeeper's tea against a cold, and it did ease things a lot. I don't know why I never tried it before - maybe the urge of youth to seek one's own solutions? One very big plus of beekeeper's tea is that if you have a mug, a spoon, a glass of honey and some warm or hot water, it is very quick and easy to make - no need to wait for tea to steep or similar things. I like to spice mine up with ground or fresh ginger - I feel that this improves it once more.

When I was younger, I found out by chance that a winter juice concoction would also work very well to ease cold or 'flu  symptoms - hot apple juice with spices and honey.
Take a litre of apple juice (pure juice, of course) and put it into a pot; add about one and a half to two teaspoons of cinnamon, a good teaspoon of cloves, and fresh or ground ginger, and heat; do not let the juice come to a boil, just heat it until it is hot enough to pass as a hot drink when put into cups or mugs. Stir occasionally. Once it's hot, take out the cloves and sweeten to taste with honey. This tastes nice (I think), is suitable for children and, after drinking more than one mug of it, has the side-effect of making you quite tired (I don't really know why, but it does) and ready for some health-promoting sleep. When I was properly stricken, I would drink almost the full litre all by myself and then keel over and sleep.
It also makes for a nice depth-of-winter drink, a kind of alcohol-free substitute for mulled wine.

And for food... nothing cries "comfort food" more to me than noodle soup when I'm unwell.

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