A Few Healing Remedies

There was a recent discussion amongst Ayurvedic students regarding the flu shot. A number of them said that their preferred choice is not a shot, but a food: garlic. It inspired me to post a few of our own preferred Ayurvedic cold and flu formulas, some with garlic, some without, so you’d have a few of your own home remedies to choose from.

Honey Garlic


To be or not to be – that is the question for me when it comes to garlic. To include it or eschew it? Ayurveda likes it. Western Ayurvedis seem to love it. After all, Garlic is Kapha-reducing, immune-boosting, antiviral, antibacterial, and touted for its power to shorten the duration of a cold or flu.

But Yogis say no to garlic because it is rajasic-tamasic and, truthfully, you can notice how “sattvic” you feel when you have a complete meal balanced in all six tastes, with no garlic added. Apart from winter days when I feel one of us is getting sick, I avoid it. On the other hand, when a cold is coming on, there is nothing like garlic to snuff it.

Garlic Honey Cold Remedy

1/2 c honey
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled.

Put the cloves of garlic in a clean, glass jar and cover with the honey. Seal the lid and let sit for 3 days. Do not taste it or try it until at least 72 hours have passed. (I’m warning you. Enough said.) After three days you can eat it by the spoonful.

Since you don’t usually know when you will need it, and when the need arises you won’t want to wait three days (warning: wait!), it’s a good remedy to make up and store in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to 1 year.

Check out Nouveau Raw’s version with great research from author Amie Sue ~ including the CDC’s ruling that children under the age of 1 should not be given honey.

Garlic Honey

I learned this next simplest of remedies ages ago from an Italian Nonna. More recently, in India, I was so sick I didn’t get up, barely even woke up, for over a week. I tried every remedy. Finally, I asked for a garlic clove, did this little trick, and instantly began to improve.

Garlic Sore Throat Remedy

1 unpeeled clove of garlic

Place the unpeeled clove in the back of your mouth, behind your molars, and close down on it. The juices of the garlic will trickle down your throat, killing bacteria. Keep it there for 20 minutes, or until the garlic peel is shredded. You will know when it needs to be removed.

I have to warn you again: this is anti-social behavior. Avoid taking if you must go out. Instead, try it at night before bed. And not to get personal, but if you share your bed, have your sleep mate take it, too!



While garlic is superior once the cold has begun, ginger reigns supreme when it comes to maintaining overall wellness in body and mind. Ayurveda has long used ginger to help relieve colds, fevers, headaches, as well as arthritis, digestive disorders, intestinal gas, menstrual cramps, nausea, anxiety, asthma, depression. It is showing benefits in tests for heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, sciatica, ulcerative colitis. Best of all, ginger is sattvic, meaning light, balanced, and peace-promoting, unlike garlic’s anti-social assault.

One simple way to keep a medicinal store of ginger handy is this Lemon Ginger Remedy. It, too, will keep in the refrigerator, but I make it fresh – enough to last a few days covered and sealed on the counter, so it’s never chilled and never taken cold. Come over to our house and you will see little bowls of this, and its variations, scattered about. I am always moving it to keep it in the line of sight: furtive missions to keep the family strong.

Ginger Lemon

Lemon Ginger Cold Remedy

2 inch piece of Ginger, peeled
1-2 T Raw Honey
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

Chop the ginger into little match-sticks. Place in a small bowl with the raw honey. Put this bowl in a larger bowl filled with hot water and let stand a few minutes until the honey is runny. Remove the bowl and add the lemon juice and cinnamon. Give it a light stir to coat the ginger thoroughly.

Take small bites throughout the day if you are sick, or just before a meal to kindle your digestive fire.



Honey is outrageous. An utter miracle. “It has sweetness (madhura rasa) with added astringent as end taste (Kashaya anu rasa). It is heavy (guru guna), dry (ruksha) and cold (sheeta). Its effect on doshas is as follows: It aggravates vata, scrapes kapha and normalizes pitta and rakta. It promotes healing process.” ~ Ashtanga Hridaya

It is also a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant that speeds up the healing process. Last winter I posted this honey based remedy to avoid or dispel winter colds. But another popular remedy is this Honey Ginger Tea, using the same ingredients as above but with hot water to liquefy mucus and help warm the cold.

Honey Ginger Tea

2 inch piece of Ginger, peeled
1-2 T Raw Honey
Juice of half a lemon

Chop the ginger into chunks and put in a pot of two cups boiling water. Boil gently for about ten minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover and allow it to steep another 10 – 15 minutes. Once it is cooled enough that it wouldn’t burn you if you put a drip on your inner forearm, ladle yourself a cup, add the lemon juice, give it a shake of cinnamon, and stir in the honey. Drink daily in winter, or if you are sick, drink regularly throughout the day.

For a spicier version of this, try our Lemony Ginger Tea.


How about you? What do you do to stay healthy and strong in flu season? Do you have any natural recipes from “Nonna” that you rely on?


Wishing you warmth, health and happiness!

Namaste ~

35 thoughts on “A Few Healing Remedies

  1. Trying this right now… wow, that raw garlic in the back of the mouth is strong! Will keep you posted. Flying on Friday and don’t want to get sick. Perhaps it works by keeping people far away from you so you don’t get their germs? 🙂

    1. Yes, Stephanie! That may be one reason it was once worn around the neck! Be sure you are putting it way back so that the juices flow down your throat. If it is in the right place you’ll hardly taste it. Happy Travels!

  2. Having this wisdom feels so empowering and connecting to nature (my true nature). I will hold this remedies close by and ready to soothe any ailing throats or sniffling noses. This used to be common knowledge back when people had a healing garden, a dyeing garden and an eating garden. Lets keep moving back to that empowered place.

    Big Love,

  3. I love these natural remedies. My parents used different concoctions for cold and other symptoms. They gave it to us too but I never got the recipes. BTW you must know Jen avoid garlic too though I absolutely love it.

  4. Thank you so much for the remedies Laura. The ginger is so easy to make and tasty.
    Now, for the garlic. I made my batch and waited almost 72 hours … popped a big clove in and ate it, and oooyah, … quite the burn. Very strong. The tip on swirling the jar a few times a day to move the honey around is a good one.
    Based on my experience, I will use smaller cloves, wait 4 days, and if the clove looks similar to when I put it in the jar with honey, then it’s not far enough along to eat. I just took a smaller clove that had “browned” and gotten soft … it was actually quite tasty and no burn.
    As for my cold, it’s almost gone. And I took no over-the-counter stuff. I feel even better because of that.
    Happy Healing Everyone!

    1. Thank you, Ed, divine soul. Thanks for sharing your experience. That burn and its attendant affects ~ that was the warning I hoped would protect you. Sorry that three days weren’t enough. This is another reason it is a good idea to make this at the beginning of the season, and keep it to cure until you need it. Thanks again!

  5. Been eating ginger sticks everyday for a week, also ate a garlic clove. Haven’t gotten sick yet, and I work with elementary kids in public schools! That’s a testimony. Thanks Laura. I’ve shared this wisdom with many.
    My grandpa swears by a spoonful of raw honey w/ raw applecider vinegar. Yum

  6. We looked for your link to cold remedies for our grown daughter and ended up making the honey ginger tea for the whole family. Pure comfort! So nice that you can touch lives in Italy while in California. Thank you!

  7. I remember my mother made me get a flu shot when I was in college and it made me feel like ass. Never again!

    I love all of these remedies and will definitely scope them out if I become under the weather, which rarely happens. This is my full-on preventative care method: Neti every morning, regular Yoga, organic food, beauty rest, and lots of love. And, it works!

  8. Thanks for sharing this Laura, personally I have always found that natural remedies work in harmony faster then chemical based ones. I have also found that mind-set is one of the greatest deterrent to illness. When I ‘choose’ to be well and allow myself to be healthy then I very rarely attract illness. Sending love to you for all your great work. Keep sharing. Siobhan

  9. Such potent and practical advice this time of year! Thank you, Laura-ji. I’m also sucking on the raw garlic as I type. I’m fending off my second bug this winter. Is it an especially Vata-heavy one as it seems to me? I do enjoy my lemon-ginger-honey tea and was surprised to read that honey can be aggravating for Vata. Say it’s not so!? Love and gratitude to you, Rebecca

    1. Rebecca love, thank you. Colds do have a Vata element to them – we feel cold, irregular, weak, sometimes there is pain in the joints or headache. But they also have a Kapha element to them, right? With respiratory congestion, fatigue, stagnation? So honey is ideal with its sweet taste but heating, astringent Vipak.

      Day-to-day for Vata, moderation, versus elimination, is the key. But Rebecca, with that jolly moon sitting in your first house, I’d say you have just enough K to continue enjoying your honey ~ raw, of course!

      Here is a fuller article on Honey from an Ayurvedic perspective ~ http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=1117

      1. So sweet of you to remember that moon in my first house, Laura! I’ve got some Kapha nurturing in me after all 😉 This is all fascinating and helpful. Cheers to honey! (in moderation, of course) Love to you.

  10. I would love to do the garlic honey remedy but Henri has fever today so I hope in 3 days he will be good! I will do the ginger tea for him. He has a sore throat. My helper so far is making sage tea and make him gargling it. It kills the germs. I use every time they have a sore throat. We can add lavender to it but It’s more difficult to find lavender here than in France. Thank you for all these remedies, I will add them to my list of what to do in case of flu and cold.

  11. I tried the little piece of ginger in honey with lemon and cinnamon. I tasted it before giving to Henri. Well, no way he would handle it. It kind of burned my mouth where I bite it, I just as to take it out of my mouth. Amazing! I think that stuff will kill the bacteria instantly, almost killed me, just joking 🙂 .So better stick for the tea.

    1. Thanks Sophie! Please cut your ginger into tiny matchsticks and let it sit an hour in the lemon and cinnamon. I’ve never found it to be too hot, but like the garlic, put it in the back of your mouth. Its vapors will rise to open your sinuses, while its juices will roll right down the throat to clear soreness, congestion, cold and flu.

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