Written by Marian Pontz
‘Tis the season for sniffles, coughs, sore throats and other irritating, energy zapping symptoms that suddenly rear their ugly heads at this time of year. FLL decided to ask a few readers how they avoid the symptoms of the season, and as it turns out, most folks have handed down family remedies they swear by.
Before we share these seasonal health hacks, FLL must caution that these ideas are not to replace medical care or your own common sense. These family remedies have not been scientifically studied or analyzed; the anecdotal evidence lies only in the sharing of family lore. It does not need repeating, but we’ll do so anyway: nothing replaces getting enough rest, eating well, washing your hands often and for the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday,” sneezing into the crook of your arm, and drinking plenty of water.
My own family knows that the potion of a few teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with juice is always offered as a remedy for an upset stomach. Some of us in the family even swear by a daily dose of the vinegar mix to help with general intestinal health.
Another often suggested piece of advice that came to my family floated into our lives when sinus surgery was being considered as a possibility, but a mostly-retired family doctor suggested that before surgery, I try a Neti pot on a daily basis to see if any relief was found. After looking up what a Neti pot actually was and deciding on the easiest one to use (because, after all, you are pouring distilled water mixed with saline up your nose in the hopes that it comes down a clear passage on the other nostril) I decided on a squeeze bottle type. I have successfully used it on a daily basis since to deal with sinus problems. Those of us that can handle the feeling of water going up our noses have also expressed relief from cold symptoms.
While I was interviewing artist and teacher Susan Gottlieb for Lunch in this issue, she shared that she had been told about a possible arthritis symptom reliever — golden raisins (only golden raisins will work) soaked in a container of juniper-based gin for a period of about seven days. Nine gin-soaked raisins should be eaten each night. With a little internet research, I discovered that indeed, gin made with juniper — such as Bombay Sapphire — is thought to have a medicinal effect in curing those arthritic aches and pains that are often exasperated by the cold weather of the season.
Also: tea, tea, and more tea, made with honey (if possible, locally made honey) was time and time again the fan favorite home remedy when a person was just beginning to feel ill. Some even said they purchase local honey from the Lancaster County area and eat a teaspoon a day, in the hopes of combating allergies and for “general good health.” There were various suggestions for the type of tea to be consumed, including, “chamomile so they can sleep, eucalyptus so they can breathe, ginger tea to calm an upset stomach, and peppermint tea to help stay hydrated.” Tea was by far the go-to answer here. So, drink up!