Happy New Year 2017 and welcome to my first post of the year! I do hope you had a restful holidays and are positive about the rest of the year! If you are reading this and wondering what harmattan is, then I take it that you are not familiar with the Nigerian/West Africa weather conditions. Harmattan season usually occurs from early December to Late February. It is characterized by dry and dusty wind blown from the Sahara desert over West Africa. Depending on its severity breathing can be quite difficult during this season, sometimes causing blisters in the nostrils. Since the start of this years harmattan, I have been down with a cough and common cold, both conditions are viral during this season. When I developed a cough I had immediately walked in to a pharmacy to pick up some cough syrup (which I ended up using once) as I did not want my baby to contract it. The pharmacist had recommended that I buy some antibiotics (Antibiotics are given liberally in Nigeria) and I probably would have bought it if not for its high price tag. I thought to myself "No thank you, I'll go look for some home remedies to make me well!" I did just that and after doing some research and seeking advice from my dad, I found the following five ingredients life saving:

Honey: I have always known honey to be an effective cough remedy. Honey helps in soothing a sore throat (you know that dry, itching feeling you get in your throat from coughing persistently). You can either have it alone by taking a few teaspoons and let the honey glide slowly down your throat, or you can make a hot drink with it in combination with so many other powerful ingredients, lemons for example. 

Ginger: ginger works as an expectorant, helping loosen and expel mucus from the lungs. It can also stop the discomforting tickle at the back of throat that can trigger a cough in the first place. You can crush ginger and add to tea, together with honey. In my case, I bit on the ginger to get the juice, yes, the symptoms were that bad and I needed to feel better asap! 

Garlic: My dad had persistently asked that I bought some garlic and chew on it. But I kept thinking about the bad breath that comes with it. I had no choice but to given when my symptoms worsened. Surprisingly, after the first bite, the itch in my throat immediately stopped. You can also crush some garlic and mix with honey. Research shows that garlic has antibiotic properties and is a powerful antioxidant.

Black Pepper: I got this ingredient on my dads advice and it worked magic as well. Boil some water and add some honey and 1 teaspoon of black pepper to help loosen mucus. Research shows that black pepper acts as an effective natural remedy to prevent cough and cold. It contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon and honey is also a good mixture to soothe a sore throat. You can make a paste with both ingredients or make a hot drink using both ingredients.

Next time you come down with the flu or to prevent one, try one of this mixtures. Do you have other remedies, kindly share and help save a life!

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