So I've been sick since before Christmas. It's either the same cold that has different personalities, or I keep getting new things before I get better.
In any event, cold medicine affects me in bad ways. With some I spend 48 hours in a complete haze and can't do things like drive, operate heavy machinery or walk without crashing into things. The day-time variety make me stay awake for several days. Usually I take the same cold medicine as the kids do - it seems to treat the symptoms without the side of crazy.
After a few weeks and several bottles of Triaminic Night-Time, I decided to experiment with some home remedies. Here are the results, for those who are interested (especially if you are pregnant or nursing and can't take any of the coma-inducing cold medicines!)
Experiment #1 - Apple cider vinegar and honey
Method - Mix one tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey and one tablespoon lemon juice in a small cup of very hot water. Sip it, like tea, as hot as you can stand. The acidity of the vinegar and antibacterial properties of the honey are supposed to kill any infection in your throat.
Taste - Not too terrible
Results - Favorable. The mixture was soothing on a sore throat and seemed to lessen my cough. I took it right before bedtime and either the honey or the hot drink made me feel sleepy.
Experiment #2 - Straight honey
Method - Take one tablespoon of honey, like you would cough syrup. The honey is supposed to coat your throat and relieve that annoying tickle.
Taste - Delicious!
Results - Good. While doing nothing for a sore throat, it did help me quit c0ughing for a while. In fact, Little Man can carry on with a cough for a long time. I started giving him honey instead of cough syrup and it really did seem to help. Plus it's no problem getting him to drink it down.
Experiment #3 - Honey and lemon/lime juice
Method - Mix one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Heat it up and sip slowly. Let it sit in the back of your throat before swallowing
Taste - Quite tasty
Results - Excellent. This was soothing on a sore throat but mostly helpful for a cough.
Experiment #4 - Cayenne pepper
Method - Mix 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon clover honey and 1 cup of very hot water. Gargle 1 mouthful and swallow. The pepper is supposed to increase the blood flow to the infected area as well as ease the pain.
Taste - Strangely not so bad. It tasted like buffalo wings.
Results - Surprisingly good. My throat really did feel better. I tried to do it a second time but the water had cooled off and it was much, much grosser. Plus you should have some Blue Cheese dressing on hand to cool off your lips. The improvement held through the night and for the first time I did NOT wake up with a sore throat.
Experiment #5 - Cayenne pepper, honey
Method - Mix 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp lemon juice, heat as hot as you can stand. Spoon some into a soup spoon and very lightly sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Pour into the back of your throat. The spoon protects your tongue a little from the cayenne and the spice only hits your sore throat, not your taste buds. Hold in your throat if you can before swallowing. If you spit it out you'll get the pepper on your tongue.
Taste - If you do it right, you just get the lemon-honey taste. Don't let it cool off.
Results - This seemed to work the best for sore throat. I highly recommend
Other people recommended gargling with salt water. For some reason I can handle the cayenne pepper and the thought of salty water makes me think of being in first grade and losing teeth - it made me kind of ill. I didn't try it. Also I didn't try gargling straight cayenne pepper without the honey and vinegar. It sounded like certain death. Have any remedies of your own?
Sources: health911.com, earthclinic.com