Believe it or not, those annoying symptoms you're experiencing are part of the natural healing process -- evidence that the immune system is battling illness. For instance, a fever is your body's way of trying to kill viruses by creating a hotter-than-normal environment. Also, a fever's hot environment makes germ-killing proteins in your blood circulate more quickly and effectively. Thus, if you endure a moderate fever for a day or two, you may actually get well faster. Coughing is another productive symptom; it clears your breathing passages of thick mucus that can carry germs to your lungs and the rest of your body. Even that stuffy nose is best treated mildly or not at all. A decongestant, like Sudafed, restricts flow to the blood vessels in your nose and throat. But often you want the increase blood flow because it warms the infected area and helps secretions carry germs out of your body.
Dry air can irritate a sore throat, prolonging your recovery time. Taking a steamy shower or using a humidifier can bring moisture back into the air, thus relieving any discomfort. “The mucus membranes of the nose and throat love moisture,” Dr. Abramowitz says. “Steam provides moisture and warmth, which helps the vocal cords calm down and decrease in swelling.” The moisture in your nose can also help clear out mucus and gunk, which can be part of the problem, he adds.
This helps in a few ways. When you lay flat on your back, it increases pressure on your neck and can exacerbate symptoms in your throat, Dr. Griffiths says. “Propping yourself up helps relieve the pressure and can make you feel better,” he says. If you’re struggling with acid reflux, elevating your head also can work with gravity to help keep your stomach acids where they belong—in your stomach.

While this book has an interesting layout with lots of recipes, unfortunately it is not reliable. As someone with over twenty years of experience using herbs, it concerns me that people new to herbalism may be using this as a guide. For starters, this book doesn’t seem to differentiate between internal and external use such as the precaution not to use a ginger while taking certain medications at the end of a recipe for ginger salve when internal use is the only concern there. It also offers the precaution not to use a rosemary tincture hair product if you have epilepsy when that precaution refers to essential oil use, not tincture use. Not making these distinctions is sloppy and can lead to confusion. As another couple of examples, the photo accompanying the section on catnip (Nepeta cataria) is actually another more showy member of the Nepeta genus and the picture of chamomile is some kind of cultivated daisy which does make one wonder how familiar the author actually is with these plants. Reading through the book, I get the feeling the author has read studies and articles about the herbs but has little real practical experience or in-depth understanding of the herbs about which she is writing. While I'm certainly not familiar with every single application of common herbs, some of the applications she suggests don't seem to me to be based on either traditional use or scientific studies. Since she doesn't reference any studies or other herbalists or share her own anecdotal experiences, one does wonder where she comes up with certain applications such as feverfew as a nervine for fatigue from stress, as one example. There are plenty of other herbals out there which are not only more accurate but also more engaging. One such book which actually lives up to what this book purports to be is Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.


This natural sweetener may work just as well for a cough as over-the-counter medicines. That could be especially helpful for children who aren’t old enough to take those. But don’t give it to an infant or a toddler younger than 1. There’s a small risk of a rare but serious kind of food poisoning that could be dangerous for them. And while you may have heard that “local” honey can help with allergies, studies don’t back that up.

×