Natural cold remedies – just like Grandma used to make

By Alive & Well


I was lucky enough to know both of my grandmothers, and they were both wonderful women.

Gran Lovegrove with Marj (left) and Nichola ... how good are our slippers?!

Gran Lovegrove with Marj (left) and Nichola … how good are our slippers?!

They grew up and became young mothers in the early twentieth century – simpler times in many ways, but dominated by the Great Depression, two World Wars and the strict rationing that stayed in place in Australia well into the 1950s. In today’s era of consumerism and disposability, I sometimes wonder what they would think about modern life.

I thought about them again today when I read a comment on our most recent post by Professor Martin Delatycki (clinical geneticist, eminent scientist and generally good bloke) from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute:

It has been found that genes can change depending on the person’s environment and this can be passed on to subsequent generations. This has led to a new phrase being coined: “you are what your grandmother ate!!”

Well now, if I needed any extra motivation to nourish my children’s health (and my own) and keep all of us well naturally, there it is right there. So given we’re rushing headlong into cold and flu season in this part of the world, I thought I’d share some all-natural, all-powerful remedies that I’m sure my grandmothers would approve of.

Dr Cosford’s Cold Remedy

This booster from my family’s beloved holistic doctor will kickstart your immune system into action.

  • Blend one whole lemon, one large knob of ginger and a few garlic cloves
  • Mix about a tablespoon of this blend into a cup of hot water and let it sit for a few minutes
  • Sweeten with raw organic honey (as little as possible) and sip regularly.

Granny’s Cough Mixture

From A Primitive Diet by Beverley Southam. The glycerine soothes the throat and calms the cough, while the lemon and honey break up the congestion.

  • Take one tablespoon each of fresh lemon juice, raw organic honey and glycerine
  • Mix together in a cup or small bowl
  • Take by the teaspoonful as often as required.
Grandma Lefroy getting her bike on with the little ones - Marj (centre) and our brother Bruce

Grandma Lefroy getting her bike on with the little ones – Marj (centre) and our brother Bruce

Thyme Chest Rub Cream

Thyme has long been known for its ability to soothe chesty coughs.

This excellent cream from the naturopaths at Mullum Herbs saves you the trouble of mixing and making it yourself (they’ll ship anywhere if you ask nicely!).

Ingredients include mullein tincture, thyme tincture, thyme essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, wintergreen essential oil, almond oil and copha.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf is a powerful cell-protecting antioxidant that is naturally anti-bacterial. It helps to relieve fever and maintain healthy heart function.

The liquid extract comes in a bottle that you can buy at most health food stores. Look for one that uses fresh-picked leaves, rather than dried. It’s not all that delicious, let me tell you, so I hide it in my daily green smoothie and don’t taste a thing.

Natural Lip Balm

I haven’t had a cold for a couple of years now, but when I did, I seemed to spend most of the day blowing germs into a tissue, and the skin around my lips and nose got very dry and sore. A good lip balm can help protect and heal it, but many balms are petroleum-based (ie. made from the stuff that comes out of the bowser!) and can actually make things worse in the long run.

So I was pretty happy when I came across Est Australia‘s all-natural, organic Velvet Lip Balm. It is an absolute gem and incredibly soothing. All of Est’s products are handmade with love, packaged in glass or steel containers – no plastic in sight – and can be sent anywhere. Your skin will thank you!

Rest, Rest, Rest (and Hydrate)

Always remember this: when you are unwell, your body is giving you a clear signal that it needs to REST. If you do that, and drink loads of water, you’ll be able to flush the bug out of your system quickly.

What’s your favourite natural remedy? Do you have one that your mother – and maybe her mother – passed on to you? Do you still use it now?