Indoor air quality is directly affected by the use of hazardous cleaners inside the home and with too few rules governing ingredient safety, the best solution is to use homemade cleaning supplies.
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!
So you bought a reusable stainless steel water bottle and now you're wondering the best way to clean it so that it lasts as long as possible, huh? It's no small investment, but the great news is that there's a safe, easy way to clean your bottle that will make it last longer.
Most stainless steel bottles are dishwasher safe, but many manufacturers recommend hand-washing for greater longevity. I know – it sounds like a pain, but you can use ingredients you already have in your kitchen for pennies per cleaning!
General cleaning for the bottle interior
- Gather the following supplies: bottle brush (I use a baby bottle brush), vinegar, baking soda, water
- Pour 1 – 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda into the bottle
- Use the bottle brush to swirl the vinegar/baking soda, then scrub the inside of the bottle
- Add water to the mix until about half-way full, screw the cap on and shake
- Pour out the contents and rinse thoroughly with cold water
Cleaning the lid and/or spout
- Scrub the cap with the vinegar and water
- Rinse well with clean water
- With more complicated caps (such as one with a valve or sport cap) you may need to soak it in enough vinegar and baking soda and water for a while (you can even use the mixture you just finished using for the bottle cleaning)
- If you need a little extra abrasion, use a little more baking soda
- If you're cleaning a bottle with logos/graphics on the outside, you probably won't want to scrub it, but rather wipe clean with vinegar water mix
- Vinegar is an amazingly powerful chemical-free cleaner and sanitizer: it kills bacteria, germs, mildew and mold (my favorite vinegar cleaning resource is Vinegar Tips)
- I soak my new water bottles in water and vinegar overnight, as it helps get reduce the chances of a metallic taste during the first use
- Vinegar breaks up dirt and grease, leaving a nice shine
If you're inclined to extend the life of your bottle, hand-washing is best. But if life's just too hectic, the dishwasher will be fine for most bottles.
P.S. Need to remove heat stains from your stainless steel cookware and cutlery? Try cleaning surfaces by scrubbing with vinegar and salt. Mix 2oz vinegar with 2 tablespoons of salt and scrub the stained area. Rinse well with clean water and repeat. It may not be perfect but if you keep working at it extreme discolorations will begin to lessen.
Photo Credit: Flickr