We recently harvested a giant crop of sage and honey so what better way to battle the flu season that with antibacterial, antiviral sage honey cough syrup?
It came to my attention a couple weeks ago that all of my leafy greens were being torn to shreds by tiny little hell hounds from the dark side. You know, aphids. I was NOT happy about this, but I'm new at this gardening thing and I didn't have my arsenal on the ready just yet. And being as I'm growing organically, I can't use chemical pesticides on my plants so I went in search of an easy DIY garden pest control concoction to rid my garden of these most unwanted squatters.
I tried spraying peppermint castile soap on my plants, crumbling bay leaves around, spreading coffee grounds and diatomaceous earth all over the place, sprinkling cinnamon until it smelled like Christmas, and even a few other things. All of them had a decent insecticidal effect but I needed something MUCH stronger.
Our Favorite Non-Toxic DIY Aphid Control Recipe
This recipe is enough to treat my 8'x4′ garden plus a large potato tower 1-2 times depending on the size of my plants. It's such a simple recipe though, I just whip up another batch when it's time to treat again. Usually 2x a week until the pests are under control, then just once a month for prevention.
Keep in mind that this mixture will emit a pretty strong smell when cooking, so I turn on a fan to keep the air circulating in and out of the kitchen. Also, be sure to wash your hands after straining and spraying, or just wear gloves during the process. You definitely don't want to get this powerful combo in your eyes!
- 1 small-medium organic onion, finely chopped (I use a food processor for both the onion and the garlic)
- 1 bulb of organic garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons liquid pure castile soap
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium pot and mix well.
- Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for 1 hour.
- Let sit until cool enough to handle, then strain through cheesecloth and discard scraps.
- Add castile soap and mix thoroughly.
- Transfer to spray bottle and slaughter away!
Be sure to spray both the tops and the undersides of all the infected leaves. I go ahead and spray every plant I have, infected or not, just in case. A light to medium coating should do the trick after 2-3 applications, but too much at once and you run the risk of suffocating your plants.
Recipe adapted from Organic Gardening
It's been a tough Winter for our entire family with various strains of flu flying here, there and everywhere!
I suffered through the good old upper respiratory virus, only to be smacked with a terrible follow-up case of bronchitis. The sore throat and cough were the worst I've ever experienced, keeping me uncomfortable and sleepless for a full week. I had no choice but to find some relief apart from medications, so I tried absolutely EVERY natural remedy I could get my hands on. I finally ended up finding a truly magical elixir that really got the job done!
DIY Sore Throat and Cough Relief Recipe
This little mixture couldn't be much easier to make, considering that you most likely have all of these ingredients in your kitchen right now.
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon freshly minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)
Using a glass container with lid, first dissolve cayenne pepper in vinegar. Stir in the ginger and garlic, then add the honey and shake well. Take 1 tablespoon as needed for cough or sore throat. Note that fresh squeezed ginger and garlic juice can be used as well if you'd rather not run into potent little crunchy bits.
I'll be honest: I dreaded trying this crazy concoction, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how palatable it was.
P.S. I also sipped on Earth Mama's Organic Heartburn Tea for its marshmallow root which helps suppress coughing.
Why These 5 Particular Ingredients?
Garlic is a strong antiseptic with antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antispasmodic, antiparasitic and expectorant properties. Garlic has also been used for children with whooping cough, giving the juice of a garlic clove 2-3 times a day.
Keep in mind that odorless garlic capsules may not be as effective as fresh ingredients, whose odors can be minimized by chewing fresh mint.
Ginger has antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. It boosts the immune system, warms and induces sweating (which helps push fever and toxins out of the body), and calms coughs and sore throats quickly. It also stimulates appetite, which is important to sick individuals weakened by infection.
The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of capsaicin.
Topical capsaicin has been shown in studies to be an effective treatment for cluster headaches, osteoarthritis pain and pain caused by diabetic neuropathy. I can verify that it certainly helped take the edge off my ultra sore throat!
Capsaicin not only reduces pain, but its also stimulates the mucus membranes lining the nasal passages to drain, helping to relieve congestion and stuffiness.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar has a litany of amazing uses. It just happens to be very helpful in soothing a sore throat, fighting the flu, and decreasing chest congestion.
Germ-busting vinegar also helps nip the infection process in the bud, as most germs can't survive in the acidic environment it creates.
Honey is proven to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Its consistency and coating ability make it very soothing for sore throats, coughs and bronchial ailments.
And let's not forget that honey hides a multitude of pungent tastes, making it the perfect companion for magic elixirs like this one!