Natural Remedies for Cold-Weather Ailments

Did all that snow shoveling leave you with chapped lips and sandpapery skin? Are you fighting off the beginnings of a pesky cold? The solution just might be hiding in your pantry (or at the Farmstand).

To treat and prevent dry or sensitive skin, try Stinky Girl's all-natural deodorants, body oils, and hair powders, handcrafted by Food & Ferments co-owner Carly Dougherty and fully stocked at the 'stand. Oma Herbal Teas, a recent addition to our value-added section, are also handy for melting away stress and the winter blues, boosting your immune system, and keeping you warm on frigid nights. But these aren't the only natural soothers you can get at the market. Here are five common (and locally grown/produced) foods that boast surprising benefits for your health and skin.

BEE POLLEN

pollen-for-website
pollen-for-website

Unlike the airborne pollen that causes sneeze attacks in spring and summer, bee pollen—the yellow granules packed and transported by honeybees back to their hives—is one of nature’s most nourishing foods. It is an excellent source of protein, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and has been shown to increase energy levels, reduce inflammation, treat allergies, aid in digestion, support heart health, and boost the immune system. Due to its potency, bee pollen should be taken in small doses, starting at 1 teaspoon and working up to a maximum of 1 tablespoon per day for adults. Take it straight or add it to smoothies, parfaits, porridge, and even salad dressings. (And for fun, here’s a quick interview with our bee pollen vendor Bob’s Buzzy Bees, via Zone 7.)

BUTTERMILK & WHOLE MILK

dairy-for-website
dairy-for-website

It is said that Cleopatra bathed in milk to keep her skin extra-soft, and as it turns out, this beauty trend still holds weight today. The lactic acid contained in milk can help clear age spots, reduce the appearance of minor scars, soothe skin irritation, and work as a natural moisturizer and exfoliant. And it's a great remedy for dry and tangled hair, too. Add 2 cups of buttermilk or whole milk and 3 tablespoons of honey to your next hot bath for a luxurious, restorative soak. Or swap out your daily face cleanser for a few tablespoons of whole milk or buttermilk, which will remove excess oil and makeup without drying out your skin.

GARLIC

garlic-for-website
garlic-for-website

There’s a reason garlic is used prolifically in almost every cuisine throughout the world. In addition to its pungent flavor, this member of the lily family also offers a plethora of health benefits. Garlic has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure; regulate blood sugar levels; fight fungal, viral, and bacterial infections; prevent and treat symptoms of colds and the flu; boost the immune system; and even reduce the risk of certain cancers. Munch on a clove or two daily or sip on some garlic tea when you feel a cold coming on. Treat skin irritations by rubbing raw garlic or garlic oil on the affected areas. Or simply add more garlic in your weekly cooking routine to reap the health benefits of this common ingredient.

HONEY

tea-and-honey-for-website
tea-and-honey-for-website

Sure, we all know tea with honey works wonders on a sore throat, but that’s just one of the many reasons you should always keep a jar of liquid gold in your pantry. Honey has been known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties since ancient times, and it has been said to help ease allergies, suppress coughs, promote memory retention and brain health, improve the quality of sleep, and treat and disinfect burns, wounds, and other skin irritations. And it also makes a fantastic moisturizer for cracked, winter skin. Whip up a batch of honey cough syrup to get you through cold season, and try this skin salve recipe to treat topical irritations.

PROBIOTICS

kraut-for-website
kraut-for-website

What do sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, yogurt, and kefir have in common? They’re all packed with probiotics—microorganisms (“good bacteria”) that help boost overall health and treat/prevent all sorts of ailments. Most notably, when you ingest probiotics, the good bacteria crowds the bad bacteria out of your gut, aiding in digestion and resulting in other benefits like increased immunity to infection, improved brain function, and better cholesterol regulation.