Today was a miserable wet day so I took some time to sow Heirloom Onion, Leek and Cress seeds into trays. They are covered with plastic wrap and snug and warm in our hot water cupboard next to the Sunflower Seeds which (fingers crossed) will show signs of sprouting soon. I was just able to get a few seedlings transplanted into larger pots before my body started to feel signs of those dreaded winter aches and pains. So after getting some much needed rest I thought I would write a small segment dedicated to natural remedies to help fight off those winter colds and flu's.

In winter time, our diets alter considerably from Summer Fruits and Salads which are all packed full of the Vitamins and Antioxidants our body needs to boost it's immune system. In winter we tend to eat more soups, stews, casseroles and overall heavier foods. Along with less variety of fruits and vegetables, our bodies immune systems are likely to become more easily run down if we don't take the time to care for ourselves. It is very important to ensure that our bodies get the proper amount of Vitamin C in winter time to help boost the immune system. Most summer fruits that are available in winter are usually imported, therefore greater care must be taken to wash them properly as they are more likely to have pesticide residue on them. If possible, buy Organically grown fruits and vegetables, locally grown is even better than imported.

You can get Vitamin C from a variety of different sources, including herbal teas & multivitamins. If you grow your own Herbs, you can even make your own teas, and poultices.

The top 10 foods highest in Vitamin C are:
Red & Green Chilli Peppers
An excellent way to spice up soups, curries, and sauces, green chillies provide the most vitamin C than any other food with 242.5mg (404% DV) per 100 gram serving, 181.88mg (303% DV) in a half cup chopped,  and 109.13mg (182% DV) in a single green chili pepper. Red chillies provide 144mg (240% DV) of vitamin C per 100g  serving, 108mg (180% DV) per half cup chopped, and 65mg (108% DV) per pepper.
Depending on variety, guavas can provide as much as 228mg (381% DV) of vitamin C per 100g serving, 377mg (628% DV) per cup, and 126mg (209% DV) per fruit.
Capsicum (Bell Peppers)
A staple of pasta sauce and pizza the sweet bell pepper packs a high vitamin C punch. The amount of vitamin C depends on color. Yellow peppers provide the most vitamin C with 184mg (206% DV) per 100 gram serving, 341mg (569% DV) per pepper,  and 95mg (159% DV) in 10 sliced strips. Green peppers provide the least vitamin C with 132mg (220% DV) per pepper
Fresh Herbs (Thyme & Parsley)
Fresh and dried herbs are packed with vitamins and health benefits, they can be used in almost any soup, stew, or as the main ingredient to a salad like tabouleh. Thyme provides the most vitamin C of any herb with 160mg (267% DV) per 100 gram serving, 1.6mg (3% DV) in a single teaspoon. Parsley provides 133mg (222% DV) per 100 gram serving, 79mg (133% DV) per cup, 5mg (9% DV) per tablespoon, 13.3mg (22% DV) in 10 sprigs
Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Mustard Greens, Garden Cress)
Dark leafy greens are more than just a source of calcium, and are packed with other vitamins including vitamin C. Raw kale provides the most vitamin C with 120mg (200% DV) per 100 gram serving, 80mg (134% DV) per cup chopped. It is followed by mustard greens which provide 70mg (117% DV) per 100 gram serving, and 29mg (65% DV) per cup chopped. Garden cress provides 69mg (115% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 35mg (58% DV) per cup
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts
Broccoli provides 89mg (149% DV) of vitamin C in a 100g serving, 81mg (135% DV) per cup chopped,  28mg (46% DV) per piece. Raw cauliflower provides much less with 46mg (77% DV) per cup, raw brussles sprouts provide 75mg (125% DV) per cup, 16mg (27% DV) per sprout
Kiwi fruits are tart as well as decorative, they make a great addition to any fruit salad or dessert. A 100g serving will provide 93mg (155% DV) of vitamin C, that is 164 mg (273% DV) per cup, 84mg (141% DV) per fruit.
Papaya AKA Pawpaw
In addition to vitamin C, papaya is also a great source of vitamin A and folate (vitamin B9). Papaya provides 62mg (103% DV) per 100 gram serving, that is 87mg (144% DV) per cup cubed, and 188mg (313% DV) in a medium sized papaya.
Oranges & Clementines (Tangerines)
Oranges, citrus fruits, and their zest (the shavings of their peel) are all high in vitamin C. Oranges provide 59mg (99% DV) per 100 gram serving, 98mg (163% DV)  per cup, and 83mg (138% DV) per orange. Clementines, or tangerines, provide 49mg (81% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 36mg (60% DV) per fruit.
Strawberries are delicious and make a  great addition to desserts or drinks. Strawberries provide 59mg (98% DV) per 100 gram serving, 98mg (163 % DV) per cup slices, and 11mg (18% DV) in a single large strawberry.

During winter time, most of these foods will be harder to find so the majority of High Vit C foods is usually made up of dark leafy greens and Broccoli & Cauliflower. (I still don't know of many people that enjoy eating Brussel Sprouts but now you know they are very good for you!)

If you have already fallen prey to a cold, cough or flu then here are a few effective remedies that can help fight them without having to resort to over the counter drugs. But, in saying that, don't ignore the signs if you are seriously unwell with a Virus or Bacterial infection then it is always best to consult a doctor first. And then take note of these remedies to help prevent any future illnesses.

Garlic Tea
A very easy to make and popular winter drink in our home. Add 2-3 peeled, lightly crushed garlic cloves to 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15mins. Strain the garlic and allow to cool otherwise it will burn your mouth! Add a little honey to sweeten and soothe sore throats. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper and enjoy! This is a drink that can be enjoyed as much as you like.

Red onion and raw honey cough syrup
A wonderful home remedy for adults or kids suffering from a cough uses brown cane sugar, raw honey or stevia and red onions to make a soothing and tasty cough syrup. Wash, peel and slice the entire onion horizontally. Starting with the base of the onion, layer the slices in a bowl alternating with layers of raw honey or brown sugar. Stevia powder works well for this home remedy too; however, it is extremely sweet. Continue adding layers of onion and sweetener until the entire onion is reconstructed in the bowl. Cover and allow the sweetened onion to remain in the bowl on your counter for about 12-15 hours or overnight. The next day, there will be about a cup or more of sweet syrup in the bowl. The cough syrup contains a range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the onion and the honey to help fight infection and soothe sore throats and quiet a cough. Take a spoonful as needed. Has no onion-y taste.

Raw honey and lemon for sore throats
A mixture of fresh lemon juice and raw honey provides soothing relief for sore throats and helps stop the tickle that stimulates coughing. Raw honey -- with all its components including royal jelly, propolis and bee pollen -- is high in nutrients and enzymes which kill bacteria and viruses. The vitamin C and antioxidants found in fresh lemons boost the immune system, speeding healing. Together these two home remedies are a powerhouse for getting over a cold and sore throat. Mix the juice of 1/2 the lemon with 2 to 3 tablespoons of honey and sip throughout the day as needed.

Chicken soup antiviral
Chicken soup really does act to knock out a cold or the flu and hasten healing. As long ago as the 12th century, the Jewish  physician Maimonides recommended consuming chicken soup to fight colds and flu. Take advantage of the high antioxidant properties and nutrients found in organic vegetables and chicken. Although non-organic chicken soup may relieve some cold symptoms, it also supplies the body with pesticides, growth hormones, herbicides and antibiotics that are not recommended for well being. Go organic all the way and get well quickly.

Mullein tea for coughs and congestion
Mullein tea is well-known for relieving chest congestion from coughs, colds and the flu. It acts as an expectorant, loosening trapped mucous and soothing sore throats. Make mullein tea by filling a tea ball or strainer with dried mullein herb and steeping in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey and drink as needed to relieve symptoms.
Learn more:

Poultices for Coughs & Congestion
This link provides some very interesting reading with a recipe for Onion Poultices
Here is a link for a carrot poultice (I have never tried it before, who knew carrots could be so effective?)
Another article with some great tips


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    May 2013