Winter Solstice Man Flu

Winter solstice early morning moon-set

Posy and I are celebrating the winter solstice with terrible, terrible Man Colds. Living in a male-free household it behoves us to take up the slack in all things manly - in this case having a worse cold than anyone has ever had in the history of humanity. Probably the flu. Probably we will die. Actually, I can't speak at all except in a whisper, which I can raise to a pathetic croak in an emergency, like calling in sick to work today.

Today we have slept the day away, happy to be safe and warm out of the wind and the rain (always more satisfying to be ill in bad weather), with a brief foray out into the very fresh air to bring in more wood for the fire.

Apart from two panadol at midnight last night when I couldn't sleep due to sore sinuses I have resisted the urge for drugs (none of which 'treat' the cold, merely alleviate the symptoms), and stayed with old fashioned and gentle remedies from the kitchen and garden.

Restorative Tea


This potion is from my friend Sharon, herbalist and nurse. 

Two long lemon skin strips, peeled with a vegie peeler.

One cinnamon stick.

One knob of fresh ginger.

Several sprigs fresh thyme (excellent for loosening mucous. Good for coughs).

Several sage leaves (wonderful for soothing sore throats).

Pop in infuser, pour over boiling water and sip all day. One infuser full of herbs lasts me all day. I store it on the window sill between doses.

'I AM GRACEFUL' Green Sludge er, Smoothie.

This recipe is from Sarah Wilson's excellent I Quit Sugar for Life book.

Ice, 1 tablespoon chia seeds (we soak these in water overnight), 1 large cucumber, 1 lemon, 1/2 green apple, 2 celery stalks, handful coriander (we substitute parsley), 3cm knob ginger and turmeric (no fresh turmeric in our kitchen), 1 cup coconut water (we use about a third of that, due to my, er, thrifty gene, and add extra water). Whiz up in blender. Make sure the lid is on properly. Rosy didn't. Once.

Now, if you are not a green smoothie enthusiast you will be looking at this and thinking, "But that is green sludge." And yes, indeed it is. But it is green sludge that is very good for you and very easy to digest when your immune system is busy doing other things. It is magnificently refreshing, and also when you have a man-cold you can't even taste how healthy it is. I chug down several small glasses over the course of a delicate day.

As I write Rosy is home from hockey practice and making chicken soup with the stock I providentially made a few days ago, and tonight I will dose myself with a steam inhalation laced with the eye-watering sinus goodness of eucalyptus oil. None of these things will likely cure me, but all of them will add to my health and happiness, instead of merely suppressing some useful biological functions as over-the-counter medications do, and they are green and thrifty as well. Win, win!

Please tell me your home remedies for a really dreadful man-cold. We need everything you've got!


fran7narf said…
Welcome to the club. I was wondering why we appeared to be the only people suffering from this flu. Steve is just about to enter his 9th week of it! It appears to be very selective about who it hits and who it ignores so I am guessing it only takes the very best. Something to ponder over whilst mainlining that chook soup...
Unknown said…
So sorry to hear about your flu, I hope both of you feel better soon. Your remedies sound very effective (especially the chicken soup)! Having had some minor surgery on my hand, I promptly came down with a cold the day I left hospital. But it definitely wasn't man flu! Rest up, and enjoy your nice, warm house.
Jo said…
Fran, I am feeling the love of being one of The Chosen:)

Hazel, so glad you escaped that man flu, hope all is well with you, but of course you caught a cold at the hospital, that's where all the best germs are! Mine no doubt resulted from constantly hanging out with a bunch of five year olds, also very germy. Sweet, but contagious.
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

That was very funny, in a feeling very unwell sort of a way. Glad to see that your humour was not dampened by the dreaded man-flu. Horrid stuff that. Hope you all get better soon.

Well, that herbal mixture would be pretty much the same thing I'd recommend, although I wasn't aware of the use of thyme for that purpose. Nice stuff. For some strange reason lemon thyme grows better here than proper thyme... Dunno why.

I was going to recommend Salvia officinalis - showing that I can lift latin from my herb books! - but you are already onto the Sage. It is good stuff for mouth and throat issues, although it tastes like rubbish.

A few years back I collected some herb books, but the absolute best of the lot was a book called: The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Edited by Malcolm Stuart and published by Orbis. It is the bees knees and was written before the inevitable legal disclaimers filled most of the pages of those types of books. I spotted a hard back edition of that book a few months back, so it can still be found.

Apparently it may snow here tomorrow!


Anonymous said…
Touching copious wood, I've never had the actual flu, and I rarely get sick. I'm a bit of a soldier on type of sick person, although when I do succumb to the illness, I like to be left alone and not fussed with. I tend to head for the drugs though, particularly at night time. One can deal with most things after a decent night's sleep (When I was up the duff with Mayhem, I was attempting to study for a business ethics exam, and I got one of those pregnant person colds - every time I put my head down to read - my nose was like a fire hydrant. I ended up badgering a pharmacist to find something that wouldn't kill the baby but would dry up my damned nose. He made me promise to stop taking it the moment my exam was over and to only take it when I was studying)
Jo said…
Chris, Sage is the best - it actually does help dry things up. I drink it as quite weak tea, it goes down much better than strong - that's why I take the infuser out instead of leaving it in the teapot all afternoon.

Miss Maudy, I definitely don't have the flu, just 'man-flu'. I am getting better today, although still can't talk. Children are quite chuffed.

My philosophy is that soldiering on makes colds worse and spreads germs, especially when parents send their darling five year olds to school coughing and sneezing. Which most likely is why I am home coughing and sneezing today. I am sure you are much more circumspect with your coughing and sneezing. Like you, I rarely get sick, so when I do I feel like I must be dying..

..btw, have been commenting regularly on your blog, but wordpress eats everything I write. Hopefully you will find comments in yr spam folder??
Anonymous said…
I did fish one out of the spam folder... But that was all. I shall have to be more stern with the silly thing. (They moved the spam folder on me, bastards). I think I'd stay home if I had an actual cold that was more than just a sniffle. Mayhem has come home from athletics today with an interestingly husky voice. Fingers crossed it's just from yelling.
Anonymous said…
So I know it is not a competition but I have been sick for 8 weeks this term. So I win the man-flu trophy. It maybe something to do with turning 50? My body is too old to recover.

Littlw advice on remedies (rest, keep warm and drink fluids) but that sludge looks like radioactive-toxic swamp. I don't like swamps. Chicken soup. Now that's a soothing thing I've brought back into my life this term since being sick.

Do you know in Japan you never see or hear people cough? And at the slightest sign of a cold, people wear masks! Maybe you need to pop some on the kindie kids who are spluttering? Won't that go down a treat with the parents!
Jo said…
Poor Lucinda, that is terrible, I know... hope you are on the mend? I am feeling reasonable but still can't talk in more than a croak and every time I talk I cough. So it has been very quiet here. I have realised how much I rely on raising my voice to summon my children. Now I actually have to trudge to wherever they are and croak pathetically at them.

Hmm, masks. Tempting. It's the full-blown sneeze in the face that makes me want to curl up and die..

Btw yes, you definitely win at man-flu. You may have a gold star now:)
Unknown said…
Wow, these man cold hacks actually sound pretty good! When I am coming down with a bad cold, I usually revert to my herbal tea concoction. The base includes either camomile or mint tea. I infuse the tea with some fresh ginger, lemon, and honey. This not only makes me feel better but it actually tastes really good as well.

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