Cold and Scratchy Throat Relief

I managed to catch a nasty cold that’s been circling around New York City.  And, I think I would have beat it sooner had I not ran all over town with wet socks on Monday.  If you are a New Yorker, you probably know all too well the mighty puddles that can pool up on street corners in the days after a hefty snowfall.  Add some rain and not quite waterproof shoes and you chances of keeping your feet dry are next to none.  Some might say getting sick from cold, damp feet it’s an old wife’s tale, but I’m not so certain.  The result for me: the cold I had almost kicked got worse, I had an awful headache, and I nearly lost my voice by Tuesday evening.

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Of course, I should invest in a pair good pair of rain boats as a future preventative measure.  Right now, however, I wanted to share a few relieving fixes I like.

First and foremost is one that’s very self-explanatory and cannot be substituted EVER. What? REST.

Secondly, here’s a cold-fighting tonic I’m fond of that I learned my friend and Chinese medicine practitioner Frances Boswell: hot water with ginger, garlic, lemon, and honey.  You can also add a little fresh horseradish or scallion for an added kick.

Making this is super easy:

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  • Smash 1 clove of garlic by pressing down on it with the side of a chef’s knife.
  • Roughly cut or slice a 1” piece of ginger.
  • Cut some lemon slices.
  • If you’re using scallion or horseradish, cut one up to add into the mix.
  • Boil 2-3 cups water with the garlic, ginger, and other ingredients.
    Strain before pouring a bit into a cup.  Add lemon and honey (The honey I used today was a little wedding gift from Marina Marchese of Red Bee Honey in my hometown of Weston, CT).
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Honey from Red Bee Honey in Weston, CT. Thanks, Marina, for the wedding gift!! It’s delicious.

You can keep the rest in the pot and reheat it as needed.  Frances recommends sipping small amounts throughout the day.

Another fix that I only recommend from time to time is a slightly diluted shot of apple cider vinegar. (This is also one of the most dependable hiccup fixes I know of.)

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I find it can clear out phlegm and provide some relief.  To read more about the pros and cons about cider vinegar, check out this WebMD piece (

Cider vinegar is also great for salad dressings. My favorite brand is Bragg’s, which includes the “mother”.

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What on earth is the “mother”?  It’s the culture made from cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that turns wine, cider, or other alcoholic liquids into vinegar.  Making yogurt also requires a mother.  I also get a kick out of Bragg’s label.  For some reason Dr. Paul Bragg only shows up on some of the bottles.

Got a favorite cold fix?

Please share it here!

p.s. Fannie and my first 2 podcasts are nearly complete.  Our second one is about the voice, so quite fitting that I nearly lost mine.


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