Old Fashioned Remedies: Cure Your Cold with Ginger

Ginger root does a lot more than add a zesty flavor to Asian dishes. Ginger fights nausea, alleviates arthritis pain, and protects against cancer. But one of the simplest and most effective uses for ginger is its power over the common cold.

Ginger is a funky-looking root.

Ginger is a funky-looking root.

Ginger boosts the immune system. Taking ginger regularly, whether in meals or in tea, helps prevent colds or the flu with its antioxidant properties.

Ginger helps during a cold, too.

If you have a stuffy nose, a high concentration of ginger will clear it right up (if you’re brave enough)!


Photograph of tea by David J. Fred.

Photo by David J. Fred, CC 2.5

Here’s a simple tea that will help you say adios to your everyday cold symptoms.

The Recipe

You need three ingredients: ginger, lemon juice and honey.

Steep a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger and a splash of lemon in hot water, and add honey to taste.

Five to ten minutes steeping in the water will get you a delicious tea that will help clear the cold right up.

The ginger will clear your sinuses and soothe your throat. Lemon’s high concentration of vitamin C aids the immune system, and honey helps the throat and aids a cough if you have one.

What’s your go-to recipe for a quick cold fix?

Old Fashioned Remedies: The Cure for Insomnia


Do you suffer from insomnia? Numbers estimate that 60 million Americans are affected by insomnia every year.

There are a number of treatments for insomnia. One of the most natural involves soothing herbs. Chamomile is especially famous for its sleep-inducing properties.

In 1911, the cures for insomnia ranged from reasonable to downright ridiculous.

This is an excerpt from the 1911 handbook Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women by Anna M. Galbraith:

Treatment for Insomnia – The mechanical measures for the relief of insomnia have for their purpose the withdrawing of the blood from the brain to the surface of the skin: hot foot-baths, brisk exercise, light massage, and cold rooms. Mental work should be laid aside several hours before retiring; late suppers avoided; coffee, if taken at all, should only be taken for breakfast, and then only one cup. Reading or amusement should be selected that does not excite the nerves.

To woo sleep the woman should put herself in a position of rest, which of itself physiologically induces sleep. Avoid irritations, noises, bad air, cold feet, overloaded bowels, and of which tend to wakefulness to prevent the proper physical rest. Then sleep usually comes of itself.

Some of this advice is sound, but don’t go trusting every word, since modern science has definitely moved forward since then.

Looking for a simple, old-fashioned solution to insomnia? Try drinking tea.


Chamomile has oft-praised properties for curing lack of sleep. Steep a teaspoon of chamomile in hot water for a few minutes and drink up; you can also buy tea bags of chamomile at your local grocery store.

Another old-fashioned cure for sleep troubles is ginger tea. Ginger has soothing properties and is especially good for unsettled stomachs. It draws the blood from the head and toward the stomach.

Drink either of these and you should sleep like a baby. Of course, if your insomnia is especially bad, you should see a doctor, but for a night of restlessness, these should do the trick.


A Brief History of Tea Sets

Fun fact: tea is the most popular drink in the world.



The official history of tea begins in China around the Han Dynasty ( 206-220 B.C.) when tea leaves weren’t loose but were instead pressed into bricks. These bricks were crushed and mixed with spices then placed in bowls (instead of teapots) where hot water was poured over them. At the time tea was probably more medicinal than recreational.

According to historians, the first teapot came from the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) Archeologists found the remnants of a Yixing, or “Purple Sand”, teapot from that era.The_Tea_Party

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) Chinese began steeping whole tea leaves, creating a lighter-colored tea. Teaware was designed to fit around this lighter colored aesthetic.

The Portuguese missionary Father Jasper de Cruz was likely one of the first Europeans to encounter tea thanks to the open ocean routes to China. Previously, Europeans hadn’t known what to do with tea leaves; some thought they were for serving with salt and butter, like vegetables!

The Netherlands encountered a tea craze in the 1600s. Hefty tea prices meant that the drink was only for the wealthy. The tea sets at this time consisted of small teapots and tea cups.Tea02

The Dutch were likely the first to put milk in tea!

The next step in tea-dom was for Russia to have its own tea hype. Russians developed their own pot called the samovar, which served almost 50 cups of tea at a time. A home was only classy if it had a samovar.

By 1675 tea had become widely available in Europe. This was helped along by the trend of anything to do with the Orient. Asian items became the hot commodity, which of course included tea sets.

In 1627 the first silver teapot was made. Only in the 18th century were larger teapots made, thanks to the decreasing price of tea. People didn’t have to be miserly about their tea anymore.


A teapot with a similar profile and shape as this one (S&C ETC.) with a tall, elegant aesthetic.

And tea made its way to the New World, where American pottery was solely for function, not form; the Boston Tea Party brought down tea’s popularity, but only briefly.

Queen Victoria, who has influenced many a trend in history, loved tea and during her reign the modern six piece tea set came into being. The whole set includes the teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, tea kettle, coffee pot, and waste bowl.

Since then, the only main tea invention is the tea bag (purists would argue that loose leaf tea is better, but you can’t beat modern convenience).

Tea seems to command a sort of respect, doesn’t it? And nothing respects tea quite like owning your own tea set.