Licorice and Ginger: Herbal Decongestants
For many of us, the worst thing about getting a cold is the seemingly interminable congestion that takes over our respiratory system. It’s distracting enough to make us miserable, but isn’t enough of an issue to allow us to call in sick from work or school. And not only does the offending mucus seem to come from everywhere, it can often take weeks to clear its way out of our system.
What is it we typically do to counteract these symptoms? We take a nasal decongestant like pseudoephedrine for getting rid of nasal congestion and a chest decongestant made with guaifenesin to act as an expectorant for the lungs. But because these medications don’t resolve the infection that has caused the congestion, their most productive action is to lessen the severity of the symptoms.
They may cause side effects in the user such as the pseudoephedrine potentially causing issues like headaches and nausea, and the guaifenesin causing issues like constipation and diarrhea.
Of course, herbs can provide a natural alternative to many over-the-counter medications. And while we may need one over-the-counter medication for nasal congestion and another for chest congestion, creating a single herbal decoction can help us to resolve both nasal and chest congestion in one fell swoop. We can do this when we combine ginger and licorice powders and take it as a tea.
You can find ginger powder here and licorice powder here.
The strength of this decoction stems from the fact that both ginger and licorice powders help to resolve the imbalances associated with respiratory infections. Ginger helps to resolve the inflammation that takes place in the throat and can help resolve a runny nose, nasal congestion, and coughing. Licorice is taken to aid in the act of expectoration and can settle some of the same symptoms as ginger including congestion and coughs.
To make this remedy, simply combine equal parts ginger powder and licorice powder and mix it in hot water to take as a tea. Use about half a teaspoon of each in a regular sized mug and take it twice a day until the symptoms begin to resolve themselves.
As is the case with practicing herbalism for other ailments, resolving the annoying symptoms of the common cold with ginger and licorice can offer us a way to send ourselves on the road back to health. And as we continue to use natural remedies in response to different types of illness more and more, our body will experience those illnesses less and less.