We’re on the brink of cold-and-flu season, which in our house means a lot of snotty noses and sore throats. With a first-grader, a fourth-grader, and a husband who teaches high school, my family is basically a triple threat of illness, usually ending up with some sort of plague-like gunk during the winter months.
Over the years, I’ve drilled into the kids the importance of hand-washing and coughing into their elbows (Or, basically anywhere other than directly into my mouth … sigh.). As they’re running to the bus, I’m sure I can be heard yelling: “Don’t let anyone breathe on you! Don’t touch anything with your bare hands!” while throwing handfuls of kale and hand sanitizer at them.
And while I can’t send the kids to school wearing hazmat suits, being around other kids means that all of our efforts don’t always go in our favor, and someone ends up getting sick (usually my husband … with the dreaded “man cold,” which we all know is way, way worse than a regular cold.).
I’ve found that using small amounts of spices, such as cayenne, can help alleviate a sore throat and sinus pain. Cayenne is an analgesic, meaning a pain-reliever, and an anti-inflammatory, which can subdue swollen tissue, which is why it is also great for sinus infections.
At about a $1 a bottle, dried cayenne powder is an inexpensive spice that is an effective remedy against sore throats. And, if you grow cayenne peppers in the garden, they’re easy to dry and process into powder with a good blender or food processor for next to nothing.
There are many ways to use cayenne to soothe a sore throat. I’ve made a simple tea with a pinch of cayenne powder in hot water, but I find that kids do not like this. I must admit, the flavor isn’t really that great, but it does offer a nice afterburn in the throat, which ironically, temporarily soothes the inflamed tissue. You can also try adding a pinch of cayenne to a spoonful of honey.
But I’ve found that there’s nothing like a mug of hot soup to help me feel better when I’m suffering from a cold. Here’s a recipe I like to make to utilize my favorite natural pain-reliever: cayenne. In fact, my neighbor asked for the recipe and said that he thought it was good, too. Ryan messaged me later that he upped the cayenne to a half teaspoon and used thyme as his fresh herb. So, adjust the herbs and spices to your preference and enjoy!
Cayenne-Spiced Tomato Soup
• ¼ cup finely minced onion
• ¼ cup finely minced celery
• 3 cloves finely minced garlic
• 3 tbsp butter
• 1 15 oz. can low-sodium tomato sauce
• 1 14.5 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
• ½ cup whole milk OR heavy cream
• 2 tbsp sugar
• ¼ tsp cayenne powder (or more, depending on your preference)
• Salt and pepper to taste (I like celery salt in this soup, but regular salt it fine, too.)
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add onion and celery.
2. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is clear.
3. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add the tomato sauce, broth, and milk. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
4. Add the sugar and seasonings. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with sliced green onions, chopped parsley, or a drizzle of sour cream. Here in the picture, I used a few fresh, torn oregano leaves because I still had some in the herb garden, but you can garnish with any fresh herb you like. Be sure to have plenty of grilled cheese sandwiches to accompany this awesome soup!
Corinne Gompf is a writer and hobby farmer in Morrow County, Ohio. She is a graduate from the University of Toledo, with a BA in English, creative writing concentration. Along with her husband, Matt, and two children, Fletcher and Emery, Corinne raises poultry, Boer goats, rabbits, and chemical-free produce. Connect with Corinne on her Heritage Harvest Farm Facebook page.
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