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Keeping colds at bay

The winter season always tends to plague us with colds of some sort and it often seems a constant battle to keep the whole family well in the run up to Christmas, especially when we are often burning the candle at both ends.

Whilst it may be tempting to reach for the usual ‘cold’ remedy medicines, it is worth remembering that there are some easy ways to help you alleviate your symptoms by mixing up a few ingredients found in your store cupboard at home. MOLLY MAID, the domestic cleaning services company, suggests that you take a look at some of the below recipes from to tackle some of your symptoms:


Hot Ginger Tea

Aromatic constituents in ginger called ‘gingerol’ are known for relieving congestion, whilst the tea contributes to rehydrating the body, which it needs when you’re ill.  Breathing in the steam vapors can also help loosen up any congestion. The below recipe is for an infusion:


  • 6-8 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger root
  • A pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • A squirt of lemon juice (optional)
  • A dash of honey (optional)
  • 4 cups of freshly boiled water
  • A glass jar (at least 1 pint)


  1. Place the ginger in a 1 pint glass and sprinkle in some cinnamon if you are using it.
  2. Bring the water to a rolling boil and carefully pour it into the jar to cover the ginger.
  3. Steep for 30-40 minutes covering the glass because it keeps all that evaporating essential oil goodness in!
  4. Strain and pour into a fresh mug. You may want to reheat the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste.
  5. Store the tea in the fridge for up to 24 hours, reheating and drinking 3 times throughout the day.

Mentholated Chest Salve

This easy recipe works well if you just want a little something else to use in conjunction with tea and syrups.  The menthol in the essential oil is what creates the cooling sensation that makes you feel like you can breathe easier and can be substituted with eucalyptus, rosemary or thyme also.


  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 15 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • An airtight container, preferably metal


  1. In a pan, melt down the coconut oil.
  2. Remove from the heat and pour it into a heat safe airtight container.
  3. Add the essential oils, stir, and seal off while it cools.
  4. Once it has completely cooled, simply rub a little on your chest or under your nose (be careful not touch your eyes. This will keep in a cool dark place out of direct sunlight up to 3 years.

Aromatic Bath Salts

We all know how comforting it feels to be enveloped by soothing warm water when we’re shivery and full of cold. Try making up a simple blend to suit you to help ease your congestion. A classic combination for clearing congestion is listed below, but again can be substituted with rosemary, thyme and rose to create your favourite.


  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • 3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • A small dish for blending
  • A glass airtight container, or a PET plastic one


  • Pour the salt into your container and, in a different dish, blend the essential oils.
  • Add the oils to the salt and stir thoroughly with a spoon.
  • Fill the bath half way, add 2-3 tablespoons of salt, and continue to fill.
  • Breathe deeply and relax!

Sore Throat

A Honey-Onion Syrup

This all natural recipe is great for colds with a nasty cough. The honey (which can be excluded for young children) is wonderfully soothing for healing a sore and irritating throat, while the onion works wonders through antibacterial and anti-inflammatories actions. It can also help loosen up phlegm deep in the chest.


  • 1 red or yellow onion or 1 head to ½ head of garlic
  • Roughly a cup of organic raw honey
  • A jar or something similar with a tight fitting lid
  • *the amounts may vary slightly with the size of container you use*


  1. Slice the onion evenly. Place the base of the onion in your jar, and then pour honey in a layer over it (or cover in a layer of sugar, if that’s your sweetener of choice.)
  2. Continue to alternate layering the onion and sweetener.
  3. When you’re finished, cover tightly and let it sit overnight, or for 8-12 hours.
  4. By now, there will be liquid in the jar. Use a spoonful as needed to control your cough (3 spoonful’s an hour, if needed.)

Simple Syrup

Syrups are great for children as well as adults as they are far more appealing that drinking tea although, syrups are in fact just a boiled down extra strong medicinal tea with some honey. Whilst this syrup is not sweet, it is effective. Marshmallow and liquorice root are known to help soothe sore throats as they are rich in mucilage, which provides a soothing coating for the mucous membranes. Cinnamon and ginger help with congestion, flavour and pain-relief.


  • 1 tablespoon liquorice root
  • 1 tablespoon marshmallow root
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon OR 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of organic raw honey
  • Strainer
  • Glass jar with a tightly sealing lid


  • Mix together the herbs, cinnamon, and ginger and add to a saucepan along with 4 cups of cold water.
  • Over low heat simmer the mixture until it has been reduced by half.
  • Strain the herbs and pour the liquid back into the pot.
  • Over the lowest level of heat, stir in the honey and let it sit, bubbling gently, for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and bottle.
  • Take a maximum of 1-2 tablespoons 3 times daily for relief from coughing, sore throat, and congestion. (It can be stored for up to 3-4 weeks in the fridge).