Kick-A-Bug Soup

Go kick a bug.

I almost caught a bug last week—almost, but not quite. You know the feeling—you wake up with a stuffy head, sneeze a few times, and feel vaguely, forebodingly nauseous. Well, check your supply of NyQuil and Halls, and hope for the best.

Or not. Why not avoid the expense of symptom-relieving drugs, and cure yourself with regular old stuff out of your spice cabinet? I think sickness is optional, so here's what I use to send it packing before it gets too far past the garden gate.

Kick-A-Bug Soup

If you have leftover soup or casserole in your fridge, or if you're planning on making soup or a casserole for dinner, then this will be really easy. I had some leftover chili.

After re-heating a single serving of chili, here's how I dosed it up:

  • Raw, finely chopped garlic. Garlic is antiviral and antibacterial--great for fighting all sorts of infections. It contains Allicin – which can be as potent as Penicillin. Cooking will greatly reduce its effectiveness, so it's really important to add it raw after you're done cooking or re-heating. Add an entire clove or two and you're off to a good start.
  • Thyme is another powerful antibacterial. Thyme is often brewed into tea to reduce throat and respiratory inflammation, and it's a natural expectorant—be proactive and keep your head cold from turning into a chest cold. I laced my bowl of chili with a teaspoon.
  • Cayenne Pepper. Sprinkle in as much as you can comfortably stand. In addition to instant decongestion it will help your circulation—so those handy white blood cells can go the rounds more effectively.
  • Turmeric. Okay, here's the weird one you might not have, but it's worth getting because it's a rockstar. Turmeric is a bright orange powder. Add a teaspoon. It fights infection, stimulates the immune system, aids circulation, and cleanses your lymph system. As if that wasn't enough, it also happens to be wildly anti-inflammatory; some studies have found it as effective as hydrocortisone and motrin/ibuprofen. However, unlike those drugs, turmeric isn't toxic. 

Stir all that up and watch every germ within a 20 yard radius drop dead.

In addition to eating that concoction once or twice at the onset of a cold, I also bulk up on Vitamin C and Ginger Tea. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, encourages circulation, settles an upset tummy, and can act as a mild decongestant.

A caveat (or two):

  • Avoid sugar. Don't drink orange juice—there are less sugary ways of getting your Vitamin C. I would even avoid honey unless you're specifically looking to soothe a sore throat. I have found nothing to be more effective at suppressing my immune system than a little too much sugar at the onset of a cold. 
  • And skip your daily coffee. Coffee will stunt your white blood cell count. . .but green tea will boost it! 

If I follow this regimen as soon as I start feeling a little sick, I will be usually be completely symptom-free by the very next day and never end up getting sick after all.

It's a double-edged frugal sword: 

  1. Save money by not buying cold medicine and,
  2. Save time by not being sick for a week!

What's your favorite way to fight a cold or flu?