Mama's Must-Have Kitchen Remedies for Winter

| Modified on Dec 27, 2021
Kitchen Remedies

by Mama to Many
December 19, 2014

Cheap Kitchen Medicine: Are You Ready 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?

Here 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!

For more information see the following links:

Cayenne and Garlic for Strep Throat

Bill Munroe’s Hydrogen Peroxide Inhalation Method

Black Tea

Garlic Oil Recipe


Have you tried any of Mama's kitchen remedies? Please send us your feedback!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Sybille (Billings, Montana) on 04/21/2015

Hello Mama to Many! I just want to know if drinking apple cider vinegar for cough and cold would cause diarrhea to a 28 month-old toddler? My son has them right now and his pediatrician prescribed cough and cold medicine. However, I noticed that he's stool is watery and foul smelling. I already asked his pedia about it and he told me that the medicines he's taking affect the good bacteria in he's gut so he prescribed probiotics. Have you experienced like these before with your children? What did you do?

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sybille,

We have used Apple Cider Vinegar for all ages for years and never have had it cause diarrhea, in fact, we have used it to stop diarrhea. But, of course, there could always be an exception to the rule.

You say the doctor says the medication is killing the good bacteria? Is he on an antibiotic? That can cause diarrhea in some...sounds like a probiotic is a good idea.

There have been some pretty nasty viruses going around this year that have included bad coughs and diarrhea and/or vomiting.

The best solution we have had for coughing is garlic salve or garlic oil.

  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or olive, but it won't be salve like.)
  • 8 drops of lavender (optional)

Mix in a blender. Store in fridge. Apply to back over the lung area and on bottoms of feet every couple of hours. If it seems irritating to the skin, just use on the feet or dilute with some more oil.

The nice thing about this is that it is a remedy that won't cause digestive distress. (It will just make the house smell like a pizza place.)

For diarrhea, I use turmeric or activated charcoal. 1/8 of a teaspoon of either mixed in applesauce or yogurt, every couple of hours. If you could get charcoal tablets (not capsules) some little ones will just take a capsule as they are tasteless. Mine did, anyway. Do not use charcoal within 2 hours of any medications.

I hope your little guy feels much better soon!

~Mama to Many~

Elderberry Vinegar

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 10/27/2015

I have been making some Herbal Vinegars. New territory for me, but I am excited about the possibilities.

This is how I made my Herbal Vinegars:

Fill a jar half full with herb of choice. Fill jar (almost to the top) with raw apple cider vinegar. Cover, label, let sit in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks.

Today I strained the herbs out of my vinegars. I made an Elderberry Vinegar, a Mullein leaf vinegar, a comfrey vinegar.

I put 1 Tablespoon of my Elderberry Vinegar into a glass with about 8 ounces of water. It tastes delicious and looks beautiful! I am hoping it will be as good at immune building as homemade Elderberry syrup. I think it would also be great on a salad.

My four year old likes it better than my 22 year old. The 22 year old said, "Well, I can see why you like it. It tastes like Elderberry and Vinegar." Maybe my liking of it is biased because I think it is good for me. :)

I made the Mullein Vinegar to use in Vinegar Tea for a cough. I will let you know how that one goes when a cough comes around.

~Mama to Many~

Healing Winter Recipes

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 10/26/2015

I recently mixed up a batch of Chai Spices. I originally mixed it up to add to black or red rooibos tea to make my own Chai Teas. One day while mixing up a mug of Vinegar Tea, I thought to add the spices to it. It made a tasty tea and adds some extra healing power to the tea.

Chai Spice Mix

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix spices together and store in a glass jar in a cool dry place. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the mix to each mug of tea.

Chai Spice Vinegar Tea

  • 1 Tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chai Spice Mix
  • 6 ounces boiling water

Add vinegar, honey and spices to a mug. Pour boiling water over the tea. Stir and enjoy!

The Chai Spice Mix is also delicious sprinkled on oatmeal or toast.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Tina

Hi Mama to Many,

Your chai spice recipe, apart from coriander, is exactly what I use too! I buy dry ginger powder from the Indian grocery store and add a tsp of that along with a tsp of organic pepper, cardamom pods skin and all, whole clove and cinnamon sticks in my coffee grinder and process into a fine powder. Stored in a air tight jar this can last for a month or more depending on frequency of usage. A 1/4 tsp of this powder can be stirred into a cup of warm milk sweetened with brown sugar and sipped to ease a child's sore throat or cold. This is especially effective as a bed time drink.

Adding whole coriander, cumin, mace, bay leaf and star anise to the above mix and processing in the coffee grinder turns it into garam masala - the rich, flavorful spice that livens so many Indian dishes!

Pepper Juice

Posted by Mikell (Louisville, Kentucky) on 02/12/2015

Hi Mama To Many!

I am addressing this question to you because I've read from your posts that you have many remedies with regards to children's ailments and emergencies.

Do you know any remedies that can help relieve the stinging pain from pepper juice? My toddler is fond of picking peppers from our small garden and he usually does it behind our backs. We have already talked to him about picking/eating plants in the garden that may harm him but he won't stop. Just now, he ran back to me crying while rubbing his eyes. I saw bits of pepper on his fingers so I believe this caused the crying. What I did is wash his eyes and face with water to wash away the juice but I know from my own experience that the pain will not be removed that easily especially if the pepper juice was already absorbed by the skin around the eyes.

Can you help me please so I can have a remedy to use when this happens again? Thank you!

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Mikell,

My son once burned his fingers with jalapeno peppers. Here is the story of what helped.

Dealing with a burn from Peppers

For a toddler, to make a nettle tea to take internally, I would pour 4 ounces of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried nettle leaf. Let sit for 10 minutes. Strain. Sweeten a bit if desired and drink. You may do well to just get a bottle of nettle leaf tincture. Then you could just add some to water and have an instant "nettle leaf tea." This is also good for other allergic reactions, so great to have on hand.

Here is a chart to help figure out herbal dosages for children:

herbal dosages for children

Also, when you initial try to rinse off the residue, use something with fat in it to bind with the oils. Coconut oil or olive oil would help to dilute the oils on the skin. This is also the solution for diluting an essential oil on the skin if it turns out to have been too much. Similarly, when one gets too much hot pepper in the mouth, milk (with fat) is generally recommended to quickly dilute the misery.

Your little one is blessed to have a garden to pick peppers (and probably lots of other great stuff! )

Hope your little one is feel great again soon!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Mikell Rondo
(Louisville, Kentucky)

I'm so happy to read your recommendation, Mama to Many! A bottle of nettle leaf tincture would be great for pepper emergencies.

My son is still picking peppers in the garden. He really likes to play there and the pepper-burning accident did not even make him stay away from the peppers. We also have okra, tomatoes, and beans in there but its the red peppers that he wants to pick.

I also had a bad experience with cooking fresh red peppers. I was trying to create chili oil for dumplings by frying sliced red peppers in coconut oil. The smoke from the frying peppers touched my hands, face, and eyes and I can't forget how painful it was! I tried to wash the residue with soap and water but the burning just went on for more than an hour. I don't how to ease the pain so I just endured it but I did not fry peppers since then.

Winter Health Tips

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5 star (1) 

Posted by Charity (faithville, Us) on 12/27/2021

The season where we eat too much and hibernate in winter. I use castor oil and ginger this time of year. Ginger is very warming and calms the stomach and fights bacteria. I use castor oil daily in my mouth, and on my skin. I use hydrogen peroxide on a q tip in each ear until it fizzes out and repeat to make sure I got whatever might be out of order in the ear, then I add some castor oil on a q tip in each ear. It is said that 4 out of 5 people get relief from flu or colds if they do this when they first notice symptoms. I do it about once a week. My hair has turned a bit grey, so I have recently added molasses to my morning coffee about 1/2 tsp. Hope to see some youthful color return by spring. A good shampoo/ cream rinse is to use your own urine. It cleans out the hair follicles and resets the hormone balance in them and hair loves it. I usually shampoo if I think my hair is dirty, then rinse with the urine and let it sit a bit and rinse out with water. Urine is also good for skin and foot fungal issues. It helps stop hair falling out. 50-100 hairs a day is normal hair fall. I take a lot of supplements. Castor oil also helps hair grow. It is messy and I use baking soda if I put castor oil on my head to remove it, I sprinkle my scalp with baking soda and rub it around to soak up the castor oil and shampoo it out.

I would recommend you take small amounts until you adjust to things, so you don't have die off misery and do some research, these things are good for much more than what I wrote here. Stay hydrated and keep your salts in balance. HOPE YOUR WINTERS REST RESTORES YOU. Blessings, Charity