Mama’s Must-Have Kitchen Remedies for Winter


Snow and cold temperatures are coming fast and early this winter in some areas of the world!  When there is risk of being snowed in, many make sure they have plenty of milk and toilet paper, but is your medicine cabinet ready?  What if you are snowed in and sick? What if one of those winter bugs hits and you are too sick to go out even if weather permits?

Remedies For WinterHere are some “Must Have’s” in my medicine cabinet.  Actually, most of them are more suited to my kitchen cabinet!  I love the ancient phrase, “Let thy medicine be thy food, and thy food be thy medicine.” (Hippocrates.)

Raw Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar

We use this every day for a general tonic and also for sickness.

  • For diarrhea – 1 to 2 tablespoons in juice as needed.
  • For indigestion, reflux, gallbladder attack – 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon in a glass of water as needed.
  • For cough/cold/flu – 1 tablespoon in a mug of hot water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of Honey.

Raw Honey

Honey has antiviral, antibacterial and healing properties.

Honey can be taken by the spoonful for a cough or the hiccups.  I also add it to hot black tea or herbal tea.

Honey can also be used in a wound or on a burn in an emergency.

Fresh Garlic

Garlic is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic oil is a great remedy for an ear ache. (Link to recipe below.) Chop and take a garlic clove several times a day when antibiotic action is desired. An easy way to take garlic is to mix 1 clove of chopped garlic with 1 teaspoon of honey, since honey has its own healing properties and makes the garlic go down easier!

Garlic is a wonderful addition to soup if you have a cough or cold.

Garlic is also excellent for a sudden toothache.  Unwrap the papery part from a small clove of garlic and wrap the clove with a piece of paper towel or coffee filter. Place against the sore tooth for 20 minutes as needed.


I think turmeric may well be my favorite spice. I don’t care for the taste but am astonished at turmeric’s healing properties.

Take 1 teaspoon of turmeric a few times a day to stop diarrhea when nothing else seems to help.  The same dose often will cure impetigo or MRSA. We mix it into applesauce, yogurt, smoothies or warm milk.

I find that turmeric usually works as well as ibuprofen when an anti-inflammatory is needed, without the risks and side effects.  I take it every two hours when using it for pain.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne is critical for a sore throat, especially strep throat.  Combined with 4 doses of garlic a day, gargling cayenne pepper cured my daughter of strep throat very quickly.  (I use 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in 1/4 cup water. Use some lip balm on the lips before gargling to avoid burning the lips.)

Adding a bit of cayenne pepper to food will help to keep you warm.

If you have cold feet, you can sprinkle a little bit of cayenne into your socks and it will increase circulation!

Should you accidentally cut yourself, cayenne will stop the bleeding when packed into a wound. It will sting a bit at first but that subsides quickly.

1 teaspoon in a mug of hot water has been used to stop hemorrhage after childbirth and has been given to heart attack victims while waiting for emergency medical care.

Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)

I often add a pinch of baking soda to my apple cider vinegar drinks to make them less strong tasting.

Baking soda and water can be made into a paste for a spider bite. Even in winter, one can get a spider bite. In fact, in my house, we are more likely to get a wasp sting in the winter as the wasps are cold too and find their way into my attic and then the rest of the house.

A nice hot baking soda bath is soothing when you are sick. I suspect that it helps the pH of the body and that is why it helps one to feel better.  I add a cup of baking soda to the bath water.

Black Tea

When it is cold outside, I love a mug of hot tea.

Black tea is a better drink than water if someone is vomiting.  It is also a good drink for diarrhea.

A black tea bag helps stop bleeding in the mouth (My children use a tea bag in the hole where they have lost a tooth to stop the bleeding.)

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is cheap and wonderful for a variety of things.  I LOVE cheap and easily available remedies.

We use 3% Hydrogen peroxide straight in the ears for ear pain. (If pain continues we switch to garlic oil.) It also dissolves ear wax.

We used 5 drops of Hydrogen peroxide and 35 drops of distilled water in a nebulizer machine for a cough.  Alternately, Bill Munroe’s Hydrogen Peroxide Inhalation Therapy method is wonderful and helpful for a cough as well as many other ailments!

And, of course, hydrogen peroxide is a must to use to clean a wound before applying a bandage or other treatment.

Castor Oil

The thought of castor oil used to make me crinkle up my nose. I only knew of taking it internally for constipation or to begin labor in an overdue pregnant woman.

Castor Oil is also great for pain.  I use it topically for ovarian cyst pain, gall bladder pain and for sore muscles and joints. It also makes a wonderful facial moisturizer for nighttime use.


It turns out Grandma was right after all. Gargling salt water IS effective for sore throats!  I use about 1/4 teaspoon in 3 ounces of warm water. Gargle every couple of hours or as often as desired.

Salt is also wonderful in a Neti Pot for sinus infections.  But don’t worry if you don’t have a Neti Pot.  You can just drip some salt water solution into your nostrils with an eyedropper and snuff it up (1/4 teaspoon plus 3 ounces boiled or distilled water, warmed to a comfortable temperature). This is moisturizing to the nasal passages and helps to kill infection.  Salt and water made into a paste also are great for bites and stings.  A pinch of salt added to water or tea is helpful if someone is dehydrated from diarrhea.  (It’s best to add it to tea if they are vomiting as water tends to induce vomiting.)

The abovementioned items are easily found in most grocery stores or pharmacies quite inexpensively. Be ready to help yourself, your family or your neighbors this winter!