At the first sign of a sore throat, I recommend taking a Chinese herbal formula, Yin Qiao San, to stave off the misery of a bad cold. You can find it at Whole Foods or most health food stores—for the correct dose, follow the directions on the bottle.
You can also soothe your sore throat and ease cold symptoms with this delicious homemade tea. Here’s how it works: The peppermint, ginger, and garlic have anti-microbial properties, meaning they are thought to inhibit or help kill off bacteria and/or viruses. The menthol in the peppermint also cools inflamed throat tissue and may have anti-inflammatory effects to reduce the swelling in your sinuses. Honey coats mucous membranes, which will help soothe your sore throat. It also boasts anti-bacterial and tissue healing properties. And the lemon adds vitamin C, which helps your immune system recover more quickly.
It’s best to start drinking the tea as soon as you start to feel symptoms—it increases the likelihood that you’ll shorten the duration or severity of your cold. Two to three cups per day is appropriate. I recommend putting it in a thermos and sipping it throughout the day.
Peppermint (teabags or fresh)
8 slices fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
- Peel the garlic cloves, then whack them with the side of a knife to release the essential oils.
- Boil the peppermint, sliced ginger, and crushed garlic in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes.
- Add lemon and honey to taste.