There’s no escape: It’s cold and flu season in Philadelphia.
But set aside the hand sanitizer, Airborne, and Zicam for a moment, and consider instead the immunity-improving powers of some natural alternatives, such as vitamin C, turmeric, and ginger. Homeopathic remedies have long been embraced by all sorts of people — including some Philadelphia business owners — as a way to ward off a tickle in the throat or to soothe a full-blown cold. As a bonus, they go down a lot easier than some of their more medicinal counterparts.
From soothing hot toddies and sinus-clearing noodle soup to vitamin C-packed juice blends, here’s a range of comforting, cold-fighting products from local retailers.
Philadelphia juice specialists Sip-N-Glo have taken orange juice to another level this year. To punch up their popular blend the Flu Fighter — a vibrant mixture of orange, kale, and carrot juices — they infused the vitamin C-heavy drink with two ingredients shown to reduce your risk of catching a cold: zinc and echinacea.
Sip-N-Glo has locations in Rittenhouse, Center City, and Bella Vista. Besides juice, you can choose from smoothies, protein shakes, nut milks, and more. General manager Julia Feldbaum especially recommends 1-ounce wellness shots for those looking to stay well. Both the Healer shot (made with turmeric, lemon, black pepper, and oregano oil) and the Immunity shot (made with lemon, ginger, elderberry, and apple cider vinegar) have anti-inflammatory properties.
As much as a cup of hot tea hits the spot when you’re sick, stirring in a nip of whiskey might add some kick.
New Liberty Distillery barrel-ages and blends a variety of whiskeys at its Kensington distillery. Any of them make a great base for a hot toddy, traditionally made with hot water, lemon juice, throat-soothing honey, and potent whiskey. Add a cinnamon stick, star anise pod, or slices of fresh ginger to give your toddy stimulating spice.
The fermented tea drink kombucha helps stimulate good bacteria in your gut, keeping your immune system strong. That’s one reason why the team at Inspired Brews, which ferments the probiotic beverage at their flagship location in Old City, suggests drinking it regularly.
Inspired Brews has two offerings specifically crafted for those looking to stay well. The Dr. kombucha is made with apples, lemon, ginger, and chlorophyll — the pigment that gives plants their green color and plays a role in photosynthesis. (Mineral-rich chlorophyll has been studied for various health benefits, including its ability to heal wounds and prevent cancer.) Another popular choice is the Immunity, infused with elderberries, hibiscus, and echinacea — three ingredients studied for their ability to lessen cold symptoms and other conditions.
Look for the Dr. and the Immunity at Inspired Brews' Old City fermentary and dozens of other shops throughout the city.
For those feeling under the weather, P.S. & Co. owner Andrea Kyan recommends ordering mohinga, a Burmese noodle soup “full of turmeric, ginger, and optional chilies that have a healing effect on those with colds.” The soup is available on weekends at the organic/gluten-free/vegan restaurant, located near Rittenhouse Square.
Kyan draws inspiration from the phrase “food is thy medicine.” Every day, she offers anti-inflammatory wellness shots with ginger juice, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric, as well as cold-pressed juices spiked with lemon, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne.
Philly-based Penn Herb Company is one of the largest distributors of Olbas Oil, a Swiss-made blend of six essential oils: peppermint, eucalyptus, wintergreen, juniper, clove, and cajeput (a member of the tea tree family). Olbas is said to relieve nasal congestion due to colds, flus, or allergies. Penn Herb offers a variety of Olbas-based items, including a vaporizer, cough syrups, throat lozenges, and a bubble bath.