Tag Archives: ayurveda

My favorite cough remedies

I had a wonderful trip last week. The day after Thanksgiving I flew down to Florida to visit my best friend and see Eddie Vedder perform solo. Originally this show was slated to happen in May but due to injury the tour was pushed back to October-December. The week was wonderful and restful, the show to knock off your socks (and his girls came on the stage during the show at different times, they are so cute!), and I got baby cuddles on a daily basis.

My new niece M. Isn’t she sweet? Just three months old now.

There is one drawback to these trips though: my sinuses. For all that traditional food has helped me clear up asthma and arthritis, two chronic conditions which have plagued me for a long time, my allergies remain. And with an extended period of allergy issues comes a lot of post-nasal drip coughing. Today has been bad, so I have been turning to my favorite home remedies for cough.

Have you taken a look at what is in your cough syrup and lozenges lately? Last year I did, because I needed a quick fix. Or so I thought. Then I looked at one of each item from known national brands. Both contained high fructose corn syrup. The same thing the Corn Refiners Association (the people who make it, not even the farmers growing corn) is trying to sell us on being just the same as table sugar. Never mind that is has been proven to cause more weight gain. There is also evidence to suggest that HFCS is linked with type 2 diabetes.

And this is in the stuff we’re supposed to take to heal us. Please. I cut out HFCS in 2004 and have never looked back. The last thing I want to do is ingest a medicine with it. That’s not going to help.

So I turn to my home remedies. The first one I got from one of my alternative medicine books years ago. It’s an ayurvedic remedy good for all types. The key to this remedy is in the freshly ground black pepper*. Don’t use already ground, as it is devoid of the oils which will heat up the body and clear the mucus.

The second is mullein leaf*. I discovered this one last year after dealing with another coughing fit. Just make into a tea and drink!

Ayurvedic cough remedy
Makes one dose

1 teaspoon honey or ghee/clarified butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I find that 12 peppercorns ground up makes the right amount)

Mortar and pestle, or another way to grind up peppercorns
Small bowl

1. Grind up peppercorns and put in bowl.

2. For a cough with a hoarse voice, use ghee. If the voice is not hoarse, use honey. Mix appropriate item in with the pepper.

3. Take on a full stomach. This remedy can be taken 3 times a day for 3-5 days.

1. You can make your own clarified butter at home. A quick search will reveal directions.
2. PLEASE do not use honey from major suppliers. For one, local honey will boost your immune system. For two, high fructose corn syrup is now used to stretch honey. Bees are also now being fed high fructose corn syrup instead of honey.

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Lust, John. The herb book. 1974.
Gottlieb, Bill. New choices in natural healing. 1995.

*Denotes affiliate link. If you click and buy something from Mountain Rose Herbs I will receive a small commission.

I’m sharing this post at Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Make Your Own Monday, Traditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Party Wave Wednesday, and Sunday School!


The joy of neti

Ah, spring. The light returning, birds chirping outside your window, flowers and trees budding everywhere, your nose and eyes running nonstop from pollen and wondering if you’ll ever be able to breathe normally again…
I may be curing my animal allergies, but it seems I still haven’t quite licked the seasonal irritants.
Wait, isn’t this supposed to be a blog about food? Yes it is. But I also do have a passion for alternative healing techniques, and the traditional food community does also talk about healing with methods which are not prescribed by a doctor. So today I am going to share one of my favorite tools to keep my breathing smooth and chase away sinus trouble.


If you haven’t been exposed before, you’re possibly wondering what to do with this thing. It’s simple. You use it to pour salt water through your nose to clean it out.
Cringing yet? So was I, when I first got mine in the late 1990s. My mother had actually found it in a catalog and ordered it for me. I’ve had trouble with allergies, asthma and sinus infections since I was a little kid. I wasn’t sure what to make of this thing, or how water would make its way through my nose when I got extremely congested.
But I was also regularly suffering from sinus infections and a lot of allergies, so I decided to give it a try. Lo and behold, it worked!
Neti comes from yoga and auyrvedic medicine. As yoga is a tradition which focuses on breathing most of all, it makes sense to have remedies which would enable better breathing. It also has been in use for a very long time, so clearly it does something to help.
Since I’ve been using the neti over the years, I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my breathing. First, it was simply being able to breathe better during my bad allergy times. I would also use it when I felt the familiar tingle in my nose meaning a sinus infection was on the way. I started averting the infections!
Now I recommend this whenever I hear of someone having allergy issues. While the idea is not often met with enthusiasm, the people who do start using a neti have a lot less trouble with their nose.

You can do a nasal wash without a neti pot by using a paper cup folded to create a thin stream of water. Pots usually don’t run more than $20, so I would recommend picking one up if you want to try it.
My tips for effective use and also watch to look out for:
1. Blow your nose as thoroughly as you can before doing the rinse. It will help.
2. Keep handkerchiefs or a paper towel nearby. A tissue will not be effective enough to clean up the water.
3. Start with putting the nozzle of the neti to the nostril which is clearer. In my case, the right nostril is usually the one which gets clogged faster, so I put the nozzle to the left nostril and let the water run out the right one.
4. Some of the water may come out of your mouth. It’s OK. Let it happen. Some of the water may also run along your cheek. As you use the neti more, this will happen less, but I’d advise against doing the rinse when you already have on makeup.

How to use a neti pot:
1. Put about 1/4 teaspoon of salt in the pot. My directions stated to use sea salt for the additional minerals. I don’t use unrefined for this though. Ssssh. *winks*
2. Fill the pot with very warm water. Make it warmer than you think you will need, or it’ll hurt like brain freeze from drinking something very cold.
3. Put the neti pot to one nostril, learn your head to the side over the sink, and slowly let the water flow. It will take a few tries before you really get the hang of how to breathe through this.
4. Run about half of the water in the pot through one side. Then tip your face to the other side and pour through the other nostril until the water is gone.
5. Blow your nose again and see how well you can breathe.

I use my neti at least once a day (usually morning, sometimes night as well) when my traditional allergy seasons hit. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday. Check out the main post for a carnival of blogs relating to real food.

New Choices in Natural Healing Rodale Books, 1997.
Do Neti pots really work? from WebMD
Neti (Hatha yoga) from Wikipedia