For those of us in financial difficulty these days, it’s not always possible to run off to the doctor or drugstore in the event winter has taken hold in a nasty way. Even here in Southern California, many people find that money is tight. A great number of Americans all throughout the nation are still without health insurance, so finding affordable, effective over-the-counter help for a sore throat, cough or other signs of the season can be rough.
Earlier generations didn't fare so well in their economic hardships, either, and turned to natural means in many cases for health treatment. Should you find, however, that your condition is hanging on long-term or is debilitating, by all means seek a physician's help if possible. However, it is recognized by many people that access to medical treatment is not always financially a real option. Penalizing the poor for not buying health insurance is definitely not a solution, but instead only increases the burden.
Natural treatments can, in some minor situations, be dealt with at home. One such remedy--a tincture--is made by the process, very simply put, of soaking an herbal substance in alcohol. In the case of a sore throat, sage is used as it has long been found effective for sore throats as well as many respiratory problems. This method of soothing your throat can be made ahead, as it will take some time before it is ready for use. It is best to have some on hand in advance of the cold season.
Measure out 2 oz. of sage (preferably not ground but as crushed leaves) and pour about 2 oz. of alcohol (such as beer, vodka, etc.--NOT rubbing alcohol or other non-consumable types!) into the herbs. Place this mixture into a container (a brown bottle is best to protect it from light, therefore beer is the best choice, since it comes in such a bottle) and cap it securely. Shake the mixture daily for a period of two weeks.
Following this time frame, the sage will have given the alcohol its essence. Strain the tincture into a clean empty container, removing the solids. Return the clear liquid to the brown bottle and recap it. You'll find when you sample the tincture, it will taste more like the herb than like the original alcohol (beer or whatever). Take it by the teaspoonful twice daily. Of course, it is important not to use any alcohol-based solution in conjunction with other alcohol such as in beverages, as well as with any pharmaceutical medicines. Caution also must be exercised in regard to driving, operation machinery or doing any work involving a clear head. The amount of alcohol may be minor in this tincture, but many people, due to their own body chemistry, metabolism and weight, can be much more susceptible to intoxication.
Having this tincture on hand is a good idea, but it's always even better to try to ward off a sore throat in advance if you can. Keeping your immune system up and avoiding sick people if possible, washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, are all important measures to avoid a sore throat in the first place. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.