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Natural home remedies – prevent a cold & boost your immune system

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY, Thrifty
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Natural home remedies can save you money and boost your immune system

Try these natural home remedies this winter, they may help to boost your immune system, or help you to recover faster from colds and flu. Traditional over-the-counter treatments and medicine can be quite expensive. You can often achieve the same results for a fraction of the cost by making your own alternative natural remedies.

Obviously, these are alternative, natural, home remedies, but if you are feeling unwell, use common sense to determine if you need to visit the doctor also.

If you are feeling unwell or have a fever, give your body the best chance of recovery by resting, staying warm and keeping hydrated.

Drinking warm drinks will help to hydrate you. Breathing in the steam will also help to relieve congestion. Some herbal teas have additional benefits, which you might be quite surprised to discover. You can buy herbal teas, but why not get thrifty and make your own – just steep fresh herbs in warm water and drink!


Herbal Tea & Warm Drink Home Remedies:

Echinacea – a natural antibiotic, immune stimulant, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory. Taking echinacea as a tea, or in tablet form, can help to boost the immune system and also prevent recurrent infections.

Peppermint – to help the digestive process and relieve stomach ache, the menthol released in the steam can help to clear a stuffy head and also loosen catarrh.

Ginger tea – is an aromatic, spicy tea that helps to combat nausea, sooth the digestive system as well as warming the body. Ginger is a natural antiseptic, circulation stimulant, and can also help the body to expel catarrh. Breathing in the steam from the tea will help if you have a blocked or sore nose. To make your own, buy a piece of ginger root from the supermarket, slice off a few chunks, pop it in a mug and top up with hot water.. leave it to steep for a couple of minutes then enjoy. If this is too spicy for you, simply add a teaspoon of honey.

Honey lemon ginger herbal tea home remedy remedies boost immune system thrifty

Home remedies can be rather tasty! Honey, lemon & ginger.

Honey and Lemon – a teaspoon of honey and a couple of slices of fresh lemon in a mug with warm water… soothing and wonderful at relieving cold symptoms. Lemon is great for the immune system as it is naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, an antihistamine, antiviral and antioxidant. It can also help to reduce a fever.

Honey, lemon and turmeric -To make a more medicinal honey and lemon tea, why not try adding a teaspoon of turmeric. Turmeric is anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

Honey, lemon and ginger – Another more medicinal honey and lemon tea, adding fresh ginger as it is an antiseptic, circulation stimulant, and can help the body to expel catarrh.

Lemon and Basil tea – Basil leaves can really help to relieve a sore throat as well as lift your spirits. Basil is a natural antidepressant, antiseptic, can relieve bloating and can help to clear catarrh naturally.

Honey and cinnamon tea – Cinnamon is an effective antiviral and antibiotic. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey to warm water and drink. Cinnamon can also help to lower a fever.

Cider vinegar – drink a couple of teaspoons mixed with a teaspoon of honey in a mug of warm water. You can also use cider vinegar as a gargle if you have a cold or sore throat. Cider vinegar has quite a strong taste so the honey really helps! The Cider vinegar is antibacterial and anti-viral.

Lavender tea – As well as having antibacterial properties, to treat your cold symptoms, this is a soothing tea that can help if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia. Why not save money and make your own. Just add a few heads of lavender to warm water in a mug and leave it to steep for a few minutes. It tastes delicious and is very relaxing.

Lavender and Lemon balm – For a truly delicious tea, try adding lavender heads and lemon balm leaves, the combination is fantastic. Lemon balm is a naturally uplifting herb so works very well for those who are feeling a little low as well as anxious. Lemon balm is sedative, antidepressant, antiviral, antibacterial, relaxant for the nervous system and a digestive stimulant. It can also be used to treat tension headaches.


Food Home Remedies

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Cheap and effective remedy for fighting colds & flu

Onions  – are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. A great natural remedy if you have a persistent cold. Try adding onions to meals or eating raw in a salad.

Garlic – the king of home remedies, is a natural antibiotic, packed with antioxidants. It is a real all-rounder, especially good at helping to prevent coughs and colds. Garlic is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antihistamine and anti-fungal. Garlic is also an expectorant, so can help your body to naturally get rid of catarrh. Add it to your meals often or, if you are feeling brave, eat raw garlic for maximum benefit.

Chilli – Spicy food is a tasty way of clearing congestion and helping the body to expel infection by loosening mucus. Chillies are wonderful for this and simply adding a chopped chilli or two to any soup, stew or curry will certainly do the job.
Chillies are a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, digestive stimulant and circulation stimulant. Again, if you are feeling brave.. just eat one raw!


Home-made Syrups

Both Elderberry and Rose Hip syrups are traditionally taken to help prevent and combat cold and flu symptoms.

Rose hips – also known as the fruits of the wild or dog rose, are absolutely packed with vitamin C.. 20x as much as oranges! Can be foraged in the late summer and early autumn.

Elderberries – are also packed with vitamins A, B & C, they are anti-inflammatory, help to boost the immune system and can help to prevent recurrent infections. Can be foraged in the late summer and early autumn.

There is a recipe for each at the bottom of this article, or you can jump straight to each:

Rose hip Syrup recipe

Elderberry Syrup recipe


Home-made Ointment

Inhaling Eucalyptus or peppermint oil can help to decongest a stuffy nose.
Mix 5 drops of oil with 2 teaspoons of Vaseline and apply the ointment – either a little under the nose, or rub into the chest for best effect. This can also help to warm you and boost circulation. If you don’t fancy walking around smelling of eucalyptus or mint, simply apply a few drops of the oil to a tissue and inhale.


Steam Home Remedies

You can breathe in your favourite essential oils and fresh herbs using a home-made steamer. Breathing them in via steam will really help to clear a stuffy head. It can loosen congestion whilst killing viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchials or sinuses.

steam inhale home remedy inhalation of herbs cold and flu remedies thrifty health

Inhaling herbal steam to help fight a cold

Get a large mixing bowl and carefully fill it with boiling water. Add a few drops of essential oil or a handful of herbs. Lean over the bowl so that the steam is rising into your face. Place a towel over your head covering both your head and the bowl, so that the steam does not escape, and breath deeply for a few minutes.

The steam will not only help to open your pores and cleanse the skin but the essential oil or herbs will have a chance to enter your respiratory system via the steam.

Herbs such as mint, oregano and rosemary and oils such as Eucalyptus, and Tea-tree will help if you have a cold.

Eucalyptus – is a natural antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal.

tee tree essential oil herbal home remedy for colds and flu healing steam

Worried that essential oils are expensive? This tea tree oil was £1 in Poundworld.

Rosemary – is a natural antiseptic, antidepressant, circulation stimulant, bile stimulant and digestive remedy.

Tea-tree – is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and immune stimulant.

Peppermint – is a natural antiviral, bile stimulant, and can relieve bloating and calm the digestive system. Additionally, the menthol released from peppermint can help to clear catarrh.

Oregano – is a natural antibiotic and antiviral and is often used to treat infections of the respiratory system and digestive discomfort.

Lavender – If you also suffer from anxiety or insomnia, breathing in Lavender oil, either directly or as a steam, can really help to ease and sooth a busy mind. As well as having antibacterial properties, to treat your cold symptoms, it is also very calming and is often used to treat tension headaches. Lavender is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, antidepressant, relaxant and can also help to stimulate circulation.


Enjoy the benefits of naturally boosting your immune system with these delicious home remedies:


Rose Hip Syrup Recipe

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Rose hips


  • 1kg rose hips
  • 3 litres of water
  • 500g dark brown soft sugar


1. Bring to the boil 2 litres of water.
2. Mash rose hips by hand or in a food processor, then add to the boiling water.
3. Bring water back to the boil, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.
4. Strain the rose hips and liquid through a cheesecloth or jelly bag into the sink.
5. Take the separated rose hip pulp add it to the saucepan add 1 litre of water and bring back to the boil. Then remove from heat and allow the contents to steep for another 20 minutes before straining through the cheesecloth or jelly bag once more, this time keeping the strained liquid and pouring into a saucepan.
6. Add sugar to the strained rose hip liquid and dissolve, allow to simmer for five minutes, then pour into hot, sterilised bottles.

Use the syrup as a drink made up with water, or serve on pancakes, or with thick yogurt, or ice cream. Alternatively, just take a spoonful when you need a vitamin C boost because it is a delicious way to help your immune system.


Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberry syrup recipe elderberries home remedy home remedies thrifty



  • 1 part fresh elderberries (or ½ part if using dried elderberries)
  • 2 parts water
  • 1 part honey (you may like to use raw honey for its antiviral properties)
  • optional – you can add a little raw ginger, cloves or a cinamon stick to taste

**please be sure to remove all of the stems from the elderberries before adding the fruit to the recipe, because they can contain toxins and are not good for you**


1. Pour water into a saucepan and add the elderberries (and ginger, cinnamon and cloves if you are adding these)
2. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Then remove from heat and let it cool. Mash the elderberries, then pour the mixture through a strainer/cheesecloth into a glass jar or bowl.
3. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm, then add the honey to the liquid and stir well.
4. Once well mixed, pour the syrup into a pint sized, sterilised jar or bottles.
5. Store in the fridge and take a tablespoon or two a day for its immune system boosting properties.


There are many more natural home remedies out there. Why not do a little research on google, or at your local library, or ask family and friends if they’ve tried anything that has worked for them.


Enjoy naturally good health!

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Lemons – multi-talented, powerful… cheap!

Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty
lemon lemons healthy thrifty cheap versatile sustainable saving money

Lemons – not just for gin!

Lemons, often only chosen in the supermarket as a companion to gin & tonic or perhaps for squeezing over a piece of fish, but this cheeky little fruit has so much more to offer as you embrace a thrifty and sustainable lifestyle.

Ahh, the humble lemon, look closer and you will discover, not only that it is cheap and tasty, but that it has many other uses for the house, garden, health, beauty and cleaning, uses that can save you money whilst helping the environment.

A few ideas for using lemons

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Air freshener –
mix equal amounts of water and lemon juice into a spray bottle. You can re-use the bottle as many times as you like and the spray will last for ages. The lemon smell is fresh, disguises odours and you can rest assured that you will not be breathing in lots of the chemicals that you find in regular air fresheners. Not only does this air freshener only cost pence but it also cuts down on the amount of aerosols and packaging that you may use – this helps the environment.


Sink/bath cleaner – Lemons are a natural bleaching agent and can dissolve soap scum and limescale on baths and sinks. As the acidic lemon is also antibacterial and antiseptic, it disinfects as it cleans too! You can apply neat lemon juice on problem areas, using a sponge, leave for a few hours and then rinse off. If it’s only a light scum, you only need to leave the lemon juice to do its lemony magic for 10mins.


All-purpose cleaner – If you want an amazing all-rounder, look no further than this powerful cleaning solution: Mix together some bicarbonate of soda with lemon juice and some warm water to make a paste. This powerful cleaning paste will clean the oven, hob, microwave… any tough, grimy, greasy, built-up, caked-in dirt. The bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) is an abrasive, the lemon juice has fabulous de-greasing properties and together they are a force to be reckoned with! Rinse the surface well after using, to remove any of the powdery residue.


lemons lemon natural stain remover clean clothes thrifty sustainability sustainable effective

A natural, effective stain remover

Stain-remover – If you suffer from sweat stains on shirts or tops, mix together half lemon juice and half water and scrub the stain gently to remove the marks before putting the shirt or top in the wash. This will also work for stains caused by fruit juice, tea, ink etc… if it’s a really bad stain, add a little salt into the mix as an abrasive. You can also add lemon juice to your wash if you are washing white clothes as the slight, natural bleaching properties of the lemon will keep your whites whiter for longer… at a fraction of the price of the branded whiteners… and using zero harmful chemicals.


Disinfectant – Pour the juice of a couple of lemons down the kitchen or bathroom sinks or drains to disinfect them and to remove odours. You can also spray a mix of lemon juice and water over kitchen work surfaces as the lemon has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will keep your kitchen germ-free. The lemonine in the lemon is also toxic to insects so will help to keep flies from having a fly party in your food preparation area.


Natural insect deterrent – If you want to keep insects away from your plants, or from entering your home. Try leaving strips of lemon peel dotted around as insects can’t stand the smell of lemon. Try squeezing lots of lemon juice onto doorsteps or windowsills to keep insects at bay. Ants, flies, fleas and cockroaches all hate the smell of lemon.


natural weed killer lemon juice thrifty sustainable environmentally friendly

A natural weed killer

Natural weed killer – Soil becomes polluted with the harmful chemicals used in commercial weed-killers. Why not try using lemon juice directly on the weeds instead. Pouring lemon juice between paving cracks will prevent the weeds from growing. It’s a much cheaper solution and much kinder to our environment.


Skincare – Fill a bowl with boiling hot water, add the peel of half a lemon, put your head over the bowl, put a towel over your head to cover your head and the bowl, and allow the steam from the bowl to cover and clean your face. The lemony steam will help to clean out pores at a very deep level. This is especially good for greasy skin. It feels amazingly fresh and energising too. Afterwards you can tone the skin and close the pores by dabbing a mix of two parts cold water to one part lemon juice on the skin and allowing it to dry naturally, then wash off with tap water. You can even apply sliced lemons directly to the face as lemon acids are smoothing and moisturising for even the driest skin types. Lemons – Who knew?!


lemons lemon juice hair rinse haircare healthy shiny cheap thrifty sustainability

Shiny, healthy, natural haircare

Haircare – To treat damaged hair or to give healthy hair a fantastic shine: Rinse hair with water and the juice of half a lemon. The lemon juice cleans out any residual soaps or shampoos, encourages natural proteins in the hair which can repair hair damage and creates fatty acids which give your hair a natural shine. All for the cost of half a lemon!


lemon juice in water hangover cure thrifty health healthy vitamin c

A hangover cure! – You’re welcome

Health – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin C encourages the body to make collagen. Having lemons in your daily diet will help your body to repair muscles and skin and will help you to enjoy the humble lemon’s amazing anti-ageing properties. Lemon can also help reduce the amount of cholesterol that we take in from food.


Hangover prevention – If you’ve had a heavy night of drinking and suffer from hangovers, try drinking a glass of water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it before you go to bed… the lemon will help the liver to process the alcohol and will give you a dose of Vitamin C at the same time… you will have a much better time when you wake up – you’re welcome!


There are hundreds of similarly amazing uses for lemons and you can discover more by google-ing ‘household uses for lemons’ ‘uses for lemons’ ‘lemon uses’ ‘lemon benefits’ etc

You can, of course, also use the lemon in lots of delicious recipes such as lemon drizzle cake, lemon cheesecake or lemon and ginger tea.

If you discover a great use for lemons, please let us know in the comments section below.
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