Feeling a Cough Comin’ On?
You’ve got a case of the “itchy-swallows”. You know what I mean…you swallow and it feels like there are ants crawling around in your throat. You have to scratch that itch, so you cough. And it doesn’t work. Coughing a little just makes your throat itch more…coughing more doesn’t help, and then you end up with a headache. And an itchy throat. Aaaarrrgghh!
If you’re like I’ve been in the past, the first thing you do for relief is head to the drugstore for cough drops and syrups. Here’s the thing about over-the-counter cold and flu medicines, though. Well, okay, a couple of things.
- Most of them are “multi-symptom”, which means that they contain numerous drugs to cover a wider range of symptoms. If you have an itchy throat which is making you cough, why do you need a decongestant, a pain-reliever and a cough suppressant? You really just need something to soothe your itchy throat.
- OTC medicines can come with some whopper side effects. These run the gamut from drowsiness to headache to constipation (and worse).
- These medicines are not cheap. Personally, if I can treat an itchy, scratchy, coughy (not a word, I know, but humor me) throat with natural ingredients AND save money, I’m all over it. But that’s just me.
Put Down Those Over The Counter Meds and Try This First!
So, what is all of this leading to, then? Yep, you guessed it…hot lemonade! Hot lemonade, chock full of uncomplicated ingredients. Like fresh lemon juice. And honey. And water. Not only are they all natural, I always consider it a bonus when I can pronounce the ingredients. One note: cracking open a tub of Country Tyme powder or a bottle of “lemonade” and tossing it in the microwave won’t help you. You need to make real lemonade, and here’s why.
Why Only REAL Lemonade Will Help Soothe That Itchy Throat
Fresh lemon juice has wonderful healing properties. It helps prevent the growth of bacteria and loosens mucous in the chest and sinuses. For sore throats caused by post-nasal drip, this can be especially helpful. Lemon juice also increases saliva production, which can help to lubricate a dry throat.
Give it Some Honey, Honey
Honey is antibacterial and antiviral. Swallowing a spoonful of honey will help to soothe pain and itching in your throat. One note about using honey as a remedy: it is best to use honey that is local and unprocessed, or “raw”. This means that it has not been heated or filtered.
Raw honey is perfectly safe to consume. Commercially marketed honeys often are heated to lengthen the time before crystalization, and filtered to remove small particles of pollen, wax and other impurities, which gives the honey a clearer appearance. This is not necessary.
On the contrary, unfiltered honey produced by local bees is considered beneficial for treating allergies for the same reason that the flu vaccine contains the flu virus itself. Raw local honey often contains traces of the pollens which cause allergies in many people. Ingesting this pollen may help “inoculate” your body against allergies.
Ingredients for Hot Lemonade
To make this wonderful, soothing hot lemonade recipe, you will need:
- 1-2 fresh lemons
- 8 ounces of filtered water (I use my Brita Slim Water Filter Pitcher to filter tap water, and it works great)
- 1 tablespoon raw, local honey (or more, depending on your sweet tooth)
Squeeze lemon(s) well. Depending on your taste (whether your prefer weaker or stronger lemonade), use one or both lemons.
Measure 8 ounces (1 cup) of filtered water into a small saucepan or microwaveable mug. I use the stove when I can just to reduce my dependence on the less-healthy microwave, but that’s just personal preference.
Add lemon juice and at least 1 tablespoon of honey. Stir well. Heat until steaming, but not completely boiling. The lemonade should be hot enough so that you’ll benefit from the steam coming from the mug, but not boiling or you’ll just have to wait forever for it to cool down!
Taste and add more honey if needed. Be sure to drink your lemonade while it is still hot, because the heat will help to soothe your throat.
That’s all there is to it! You can always make a larger amount and store it in the refrigerator so you can just heat a mug as needed.
To learn more about the health benefits of honey and lemon, check out these links: