Holiday weekends are always nuts. An abundance of food, mixed with an overload of sugar and booze, then topped off with enough event obligations to destroy your calendar as well as your immune system. That's why it's no surprise that even the healthiest of folks will often succumb to the bug that might be going around the office after a jam-packed holiday.
Last week over Thanksgiving, I found myself over-fed, under-rested, and surrounded by my adorable (yet continuously coughing) nieces. So, when I started to notice the slow burn feeling in the back of my throat Saturday night I immediately did two things: ate a giant bowl of Phở and made a batch of daikon & honey cough syrup.
The first time I made this syrup was around 2006, after a nasty sore throat kept me home from work, sick. A co-worker at the time told me how daikon radish mixed with honey was a traditional Japanese remedy for sore throats and coughs. So, obviously, I ran to the local co-op, picked up a daikon radish, and within 24 hrs was feeling great and back to work. Turns out that a serving of daikon radish contains 27% of our recommended daily allowance of vitamin C (i), and also provides a multitude of enzymes that act as a decongestant in the body - thinning the mucus mucus in the respiratory system and allowingthe body to easily expel it (ii).
Drinking warm water or tea with honey may have been your grandmother's cure for a sore throat for good reason. A 2010 study showed that honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses for children ages 2 and older (iii). Raw honey also contains enzymes that haven't been destroyed by heat and has anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties (iv). Since honey is cheaper, safer, and more natural than over the counter cough syrup, it is worth giving it a try the next time you feel under the weather.
DIY DAIKON & HONEY COUGH AND COLD SYRUP RECIPE:
1. Chop the daikon - the finer you shred or chop the radish the quicker the syrup will take to make, but then it will have a shorter lifespan. If you want to make a larger batch and store it longer, you can chop it into larger chunks that can be fished out before storing.
2. Place chopped daikon into a glass jar and cover with raw honey.
3. Use a spoon to tamp down the daikon, allowing air bubbles to escape, and making sure the daikon is covered. If using larger chunks of daikon, don't worry if the honey doesn't completely cover the daikon - the honey will still pull most of the moisture from the radish easily.
4. Cover your jar, place in a cool, dark spot, and go do something fun for a few hours - ride your bike, read a book, go sledding! The finer you chopped or shredded your daikon, the quicker the syrup will be ready (1 hour for shredded radish vs 2 hrs for chopped). While you're entertaining yourself, the honey will be pulling the moisture and nutrients out of the daikon, creating your own DIY cough syrup (aka elixir of health!).
Directions for Use:
Once your syrup has sat for a few hours you can beat that cough or cold by taking the syrup straight by the spoonful, or make a sore-throat busting tea by diluting a tablespoon of the syrup into a cup of hot water and adding a squeeze of fresh lemon.
The syrup (with grated daikon still in it) can be stored in the fridge for a few days. If you want to make a larger batch and store it for longer, just fish out the chunks of daikon. The syrup with the daikon removed will keep in the fridge for several weeks.
**The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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