Friday morning I woke up with a sore throat and thought "Why did I agree to come into work today?" After hitting the snooze alarm I remembered something about bills, my unit needing me and it only being a couple hours, then dragged my tired booty out of bed. I work in Pediatrics and I generally don't get sick, because I am exposed to a wide variety of nasty bugs in many forms on a regular basis and after a year or so that builds up a super immune system. That is I don't get sick as long as I get enough sleep and keep the stress down. (Unfortunately neither Wednesday or Thursday were low stress days.) If I don't keep the stress down there are any number of nasty bugs just waiting to make themselves at home. Solution: Treat symptoms while they are mild.
Growing up, whenever we had sore throats or various upper respiratory illnesses my mom would make hot lemonade or hot apple cider for us. (My grandma was a firm believer that if you added a teaspoon of Everclear alcohol to some hot lemonade and gargled it, it would kill anything that was lurking in your throat. It probably does, but I can't say that I have ever tried it.) So I filled my thermos with hot apple juice, lemon and mulling spices and I was good to go. I didn't realize how much my throat hurt until the apple cider was there to sooth it.
Now some of you may be asking, 'what are mulling spices?' Mulling spices turn ordinary hot apple juice into spicy yummy goodness. If you purchase them they are generally overpriced, but they are very easy to make. (Another trick I learned from my mom.) Plus when you make them yourself you have an excuse to smash things with a hammer, which can also help with stress. (Helpful Hint: I found that the cheapest place to buy spices is in the little bulk baggies at the health food store. The last time I bought them they were about 25% of the cost at the grocery store.)
6 cinnamon sticks
1 small whole nutmeg
1/2 cup of whole cloves
1/2 cup whole allspice
1 whole orange peel, cut into little pieces and dried
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/4 cup thinly slice dried pears (optional)
1. Smash cinnamon sticks and nutmeg with a hammer. (Preferably with spices in a bag.) 2. Mix ingredients together. 3. Mix one heaping teaspoon of spices per cup of beverage. (Some people tie their spices into little cheesecloth bags before soaking them. I am way too lazy for that.) The longer the spices have to soak in the juice the better the flavor. If you are going to make big batch, a crock pot is a good option. You don't have to limit yourself to mulling in apple juice. Most clear fruit juices will work.
I've been drinking a lot of this stuff over the past four days. (I use the same spices a few times and keep refilling my thermos with hot juice.) My throat feels so much better. I like to add a tablespoon of lemon or orange juice to it as well (I had a voice teacher in college who swore by putting lemon juice in her water to ward off sore throats). I'm not saying that apple cider is a replacement for medicine when necessary, but there is a great deal to be said about getting plenty of fluids and Vitamin C. Both of which are necessary for healing. Plus the spices do great things for you too. Cinnamon helps with circulation, digestion, anxiety, stress, diabetes, menstrual cycles and is a mild natural antibiotic (which is why it is found in some toothpaste.) Cloves also improves digestion, eases throat irritation and coughing, and is another natural antiseptic. (I read in a few places that it has officially been endorsed by the FDA as a stopgap measure for tooth pain.) Allspice has pain relief and antiseptic properties. Nutmeg aids with digestion, but it's thrown in this mix for flavor. I think it's pretty awesome that all of these spices that I'm using to help things taste better are actually helping my body heal at the same time.