my go-to winter remedies

serenity tea and handmade cup from the very generous The Golden Heart Gift Company

Every second person is coughing. Or sneezing. Or apologising profusely for their symptoms as they breathe into their scarf. There’s lots of bleary eyes, huddled shoulders and general malaise.

The change in season will do it every time but this year it’s made worse by the fact that we skipped the transitional autumn and fell from an Indian summer straight into winter. I’d become so complacent with the mild weather that I wasn’t really prepared for the turn, hence I was madly rifling through the kids’ wardrobe on Monday morning, searching for wool socks and layers.

(…touching wood as I type this…) So far, we’ve managed to steer clear of the recent bout of bugs. Che had a dry, irritating cough a few weeks ago which I treated with eucalyptus balm, plenty of water and this remedy from Brauer which worked immediately…as in, the cough completely subsided one hour after the initial four doses. Amazing! But now I’m feeling like we’re in a vulnerable place. Che returned home from camp a little damp after being caught in a downpour, Daniel is teetering on the edge of sickness and I woke this morning with a scratchy throat and a grumpy disposition (5am is not on, Percy).

I have my go-to remedies to keep us all healthy and at this time of year I’m extra vigilant about eating well and staying cosy. I bellow from sun-up till sun-down about feet staying warm and lower backs being covered. Call me an old wife – I take no offence. No one gets away with bare feet or an exposed lower back under my roof!

I aim to establish a seasonal ritual to ensure I stay well during winter. This includes:


  • Immune boosting supplements : I take iron and a probiotic to keep me energised and well. If I’m particularly run down I’ll take olive leaf extract, too. I regularly see a naturopath and have been doing so for years and I usually have a herbal tonic made especially for me. I’m still breastfeeding Percy so I need to take extra care to supplement my stores that are currently quite depleted.
  • Epsom salt baths : I take a few baths a week and use epsom salts to increase circulation (making it easier to stay warm) and magnesium levels.
  • Drinking room temperature water : it’s easy to drink less water in winter when, in fact, we should be drinking more. My skin gets really dry as soon as it gets cold but regular water breaks keeps the skin sensitivity to a minimum. In the morning I drink one big glass with fresh lemon to kick start the body (and my sleep deprived brain).
  • Early nights + chamomile tea : it’s the best medicine and regardless of the fact that Percy still feeds through the night, I find that a cup of chamomile keeps me calm and relaxed when he wakes. Currently drinking Serenity Tea from this divine pack.
  • Garlic : you can never have enough and I add it to every meal – in abundance. Usually I add it at the beginning when I’m sautéing onion but Jo, a naturopath from Franjo’s Kitchen, recently advised me to add it at the end of the meal so it remains potent when eaten.
  • Broth : I harp on about it, I know, but it’s like a big dose of immune boosting goodness. As a bonus, it also works to soothe the nervous system, hence it contributes to a calm, relaxed, wintry state. I’m making one batch a week at the moment – keeping some in the fridge for soup and freezing the rest (if you do freeze in glass containers make sure you leave a gap at the top as the broth will expand once frozen).
  • Eucalyptus balm : I rub it on the soles of my feet whenever I feel a little bit under the weather and I’ll rub it on my upper chest if I’m coughing.
  • Diffuse oils : eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and frankincense to dilate the airways and clear the air. This video explains in much more detail.
What are your go-to remedies?
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Showing 8 comments
  • Reply

    If I get a sore throat or feel one coming on I start drinking tea made with fresh thyme and fresh sage. Lots of natural antiseptic properties and if my throat is really sore a quick gargle of vodka kills all the germs.

    • Jodi

      I use sage tea to dry my milk up when I've weaned so I won't be drinking it this winter 😉 – but I'll try the thyme! I've been putting thyme in my broth, too x

  • Caroline Beeson

    Lots of garlic and echinacea & I gargle salt water but you need to do it at the slightest hint of anything …. and sometimes you still just get sick 🙁

    • Jodi

      Garlic – yes! I add it in abundance to everything! I've just added a little tip in the post that I learnt recently…x

  • Bex Jenkins

    When we lived in Beijing, one of the first things I noticed was how no-one drinks cold water. Our ayi was always encouraging me to drink hot water – especially when I was pregnant and breastfeeding. It took a while to adapt but now I quite like it – it's comforting and perhaps it is gentler on the tummy. Regardless, it's a great way to drink water in winter.

  • Audrey

    Every meal I make at the moment has a maybe-too-hearty dose of garlic in it 🙂 The kids are on some echinacea drops and I keep raving about how well they clear up the mucous when they have had sniffles this season.

  • Marnie

    I make an Oxymel of apple cider vinegar, honey and berries and keep in a jar for 10 days then strain and keep in the fridge. We have a little bit each day in winter or when you start to feel something coming on just have a few tablespoons and it knocks it right on the head! Garlic, onion, rosemary, thyme and honey left in a jar for 24 hours and then strained is great for coughs too xx

  • Anna - Sweet Peas

    I swear by lots of fresh grated ginger, raw honey, lemon and turmeric steeped in boiling water. It is delicious and so good for colds. I'm convinced it keeps me healthy during the winter, ha! Fresh thyme and lots of garlic, citrus, tonnes of fresh greens (kale, broccoli etc) and exercise are also on my list of natural remedies.

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