November 8, 2012 · 8:11 am

It’s that magical time of year when everybody on the face of the planet seems to be sick. People walk around with shiny red noses, handfuls of tissues, and tote Purell as their accessory of choice. At work, my boss handed out free packets of Emergen-C as if it were Halloween candy.

I am certainly not immune; between lack of sleep, the Sandy madness, and then this…

Yes, that is snow. A blizzard struck Manhattan. In November. The week after a hurricane.

Anyway, I’ve felt better. Luckily, when I feel like I’m lost in the fog of a bad cold, I do have some weapons in my arsenal. One of them happens to be this drink.

I have to give credit where credit is due; when I was in high school my voice teacher prescribed this to me when a bout of bronchitis happened to coincide with our school musical. It worked wonders then, and has never led me astray ever since. It helps with so many aches and pains, from a stuffy nose to a scratchy throat. And it’s 100% DIY all-natural. I really try to avoid antibiotics and pills, but even if you’re not like me, you really can’t argue with a multitasking remedy that’s sitting in your pantry.

Here’s what you need and why:

  1. Hot water. The steam soothes your throat and opens up your sinuses while the hot liquid puts any chills to rest.
  2. 1 tbsp agave (or honey, or maple syrup). The classic choice is honey, but as a vegan, agave makes a great substitute! It helps soothe a sore throat by coating it, and can thus act as a cough suppressant as well. Honey is also thought to have anti-microbial properties and might be able to fight off viruses.
  3. Juice of half a lemon. Vitamin C helps boost immunity, and lemons are natural cleansers and soothers.
  4. 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Cinnamon is another immunity booster, and an energy booster to boot.
  5. 1/8 tsp ground ginger. Ginger not only soothes inflammation in the nose and throat, but it also helps an upset stomach. It has been used a staple of Chinese herbal medicine for centuries- for good reason!
  6. A big pinch of cayenne pepper. Ahh, the kicker. Do NOT omit this! It’s the element that might make it a tough drink to swallow, but your sinuses will thank you. The cayenne clears up any blockage, eliminating congestion.

There you have it. Just boil some water, mix it with all the other ingredients in a nice big mug, and drink up. Even if it doesn’t take you to 100%, let it give you some relief for a short while until you finally kick your cold to the curb.

As always: I am not a doctor; this is just a favorite home remedy of mine. Do what works best for you and your health.

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