Nourish - 5 Essential Pantry Ingredients to Support Your Health This Change of Season
Today we’re talking essential pantry ingredients to support your health this change of season.
As we enter a new season, now is the perfect time to boost and support our immune systems. Let’s give our bodies the best chance at defending themselves against some of those troublesome change-of-season bugs. And dare I mention, the dreaded cold and flu season that is fast approaching?
While prevention is the best defence, what do we do when symptoms such as a sore throat, cough or that tickly feeling at the back of the throat get us?
Over-the-counter medications are often what people turn to as a quick fix, but they simply suppress the symptoms. What if you could take something natural? Something without the negative side effects, like drowsiness. Something that could actually aid your body in naturally fighting the bacteria or virus, shorten the duration, ease the symptoms whilst supporting and boosting your immune system.
Taking quick action against any cold symptoms can really help to reduce the severity of your cold or even completely eliminate the virus or bacteria.
When you feel the first signs of a cold, try these 5 Essential Pantry Ingredients to Support Your Health This Change Of Season.
No. 1 – SAGE
Sage (Salvia officinalis), a plant in the mint family is an excellent herb to make a tea with and is an old-age herbal remedy for sore throats.
Sage has antibacterial, antiseptic, carminative and astringent properties. That makes this soothing brew an excellent choice for when any coughs, colds, sore throats or nasal congestion arrive uninvited. In fact, sage is often referred to as the mouth and throat plant, so that’s pretty self-explanatory hey?
Simply use the fresh leaves, or buy sage tea in loose or tea bag form.
To make the tea:
steep 2 tsp dried sage (or 1 tbsp fresh), or 1 teabag in a cup of just-boiled water for roughly 10-15 minutes. Inhale the steam, gargle the tea a little if you like before swallowing, and enjoy your herbal infusion.
No. 2 – THYME
Thyme is also part of the mint family and has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. This herb is great for respiratory infections and coughs.
Thyme Tea: Infuse dried/fresh or teabags as stated above.
Both Thyme and Sage tea are lung strengtheners and help to treat respiratory tract problems. You can use both thyme and sage alone or they can be used together.
Equally, both thyme and sage work well when taken as a tea, herbal tincture, steam inhalation or infused honey. Another option is to add thyme tea to a small spray bottle and mist the back of your throat.
Optional: Add a squeeze of lemon and/or honey to your brew for additional benefits. Lemon juice squeezed into your sage tea may also help remove the bitterness.
These two herbs are in my opinion, essential pantry ingredients to keep at hand all year round.
No. 3 – SALT
Salt has been used for treating sore throats and stuffed noses for hundreds of years, and for good reason – it works! As far as essential pantry ingredients go, this one is right up there!
If you’re suffering from a sore throat
- Try a salt gargle. Gargling salt can help to cleanse the bacteria from the throat, reduce inflammation and moisten a sore throat.
Simply dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a small glass of warm water and repeat this roughly four times throughout the day. Another option is to dissolve 2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt in half a cup of warm water and gargle several times. Spit out the water in between each gargle until there is none remaining. Do not drink the saltwater.
Tickle in the throat?
For further relief, especially if you’re experiencing a tickle in your throat, try adding an astringent to your salt-gargle mixture. Raspberry leaves and sage tea work really well, as does a tea that contains tannins which help to tighten the membranes.
For stuffed noses, try using a simple nasal spray like Otosan Nasal Spray which contains seawater from Brittany, essential oils from organically grown plants and is enriched with plant extracts. Alternatively, you could try using a Neti pot. These are nasal irrigation devices that use saltwater or saline solution to moisten nasal passages and clean out mucus. Ask in store for details on ordering one.
No. 4 – HONEY OR HERBAL SYRUP
Two items I always have in my pantry are honey and herbal syrups. Without a doubt, these are 2 essential pantry ingredients to always have at hand.
Honey has powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal, antibiotic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties. This makes it especially effective at treating colds, throat infections, sore throats, flu and of course, acting as a preventative against all of those listed. Local, raw or manuka honey is your best bet and please note that it should not be given to children under age 1.
See my previous blog on manuka honey here.
Herbal syrups are also fantastic as a preventative and treatment for colds/coughs/sore throats and flu. Plus they make herbs taste so much better!
You can make them using ingredients from your own pantries, such as this lemon, honey and thyme syrup. Equally, this elderberry syrup is amazing. Plus you can pop into nourish or on our online store and purchase ready-made ones.
Pukka Elderberry syrup, Comvita Mullein Syrup or Comvita Manuka honey syrup are great options. The latter contains manuka honey combined with propolis and soothing expectorant herbs. These include thyme, liquorice, wild cherry and peppermint to support the immune system. Plus they assist with the symptoms flu, cough, cold and/or respiratory conditions.
No. 5 – FIRE CIDER
Fire Cider is a popular herbal folk remedy made from a combination of apple cider vinegar that has been infused with herbs such as garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, horseradish, and hot peppers. But that’s not all you can use. There are heaps of other herbs that can be thrown in for added benefits or flavour.
Because this is a folk preparation, the ingredients can change from year to year depending on when you make it. I wrote a blog on Fire Cider here, so check it out to find out the how and why’s you should make it.
Ingredients I recommend to include are:
Ginger – Excellent for treating symptoms associated with colds/flu. Has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. (Ginger also works amazingly as a tea: add 2- 3 slices of ginger per cup of hot water).
Garlic – anti-viral, antibiotic, and antiseptic.
Onion – Excellent for the respiratory system and great for coughs.
Cayenne powder – Cayenne works both as a preventative and treatment against a cold or flu. Cayenne may even help shorten the duration of a cold or flu – yes please!
Cayenne pepper boasts anti-microbial, analgesic, carminative, diaphoretic, and expectorant properties.
Lemon – another traditional remedy against colds and flu’s, and one that we all know about. Lemons are notoriously high in vitamin C, and are excellent to help build resistance to colds and flu, as well as speeding up the healing/recovery process should you be sick.
And of course…
Don’t forget to up your intake of immune-supporting foods when you’re battling a cold or flu.
Think vitamin C rich foods such as:
- berries, bell peppers, kiwi fruits, citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts; beta-carotene loaded carrots, squashes and sweet potatoes
Sinus opening foods such as:
- chilli peppers, mustard and horseradish
Cold and flu warriors like:
- onion, garlic and ginger.
Plus don’t forget to drink plenty of water and rest up.
Check out my previous blogs for more immune-supportive help here:
- 6 Immune Boosting Supplements to Keep you Healthy this Winter
- Support your Immune System Now with These 5 Things
- 5 Lifestyle Choices to Strengthen Your Immunity
- 5 Top Foods for Staying Healthy This Winter
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.