Cold and Flu Remedies From Around the World

Well surprise surprise, I’m sick again. This has been a banner year for my immune system thus far, as it seems to have adopted a “come one, come all!” policy for viruses. I have now taken more sick days in the three months of 2012 than I did in ALL of 2010 and 2011 combined. Seriously!

At any rate, there was no blog on Sunday. Or Monday. or Tuesday. I had a lot of time on my hands today whilst lying flat on my couch, and I decided to investigate how people around the world like to fight colds and flus. I heard some pretty wacky suggestions when I was ill in Laos (I just stuck with fluids), but here’s some of my other favourites:

Oh those Russians. While I’ve read a lot of remedies that just involve shots of various liquors, this one intrigued me – drink a cup of kefir (a yogurt-like milk drink). Chop two gloves of raw garlic and swallow.

Thoughts: The idea of consuming dairy when congested makes my stomach churn, as does the thought of eating that much garlic. At the very least, it would ensure that you wouldn’t transmit any germs to others as who would come near you with such wicked garlic breath? But garlic does have massive antibiotic properties, and the kefir coats your stomach to ease stomach upset.

Verdict: Let’s file this one under “maybe”.

A concoction of hominy (a processed corn), garlic cloves (again with the garlic), scallions, cilantro, red chilli sauce and tripe. Tripe comes from the lining of a cow’s stomach, and is considered a delicacy in many countries.

Thoughts: You had me at cow’s stomach. And by had, I mean there’s no way I’d try this.

Verdict: Noooooo.

Blend ginger, Chinese dates, cinnamon sticks, scallions, honey, and ginseng.

Thoughts: Well this sounds delicious (as long as it’s not too scallion-y). Ginseng helps with fatigue, and cinnamon strengthens the immune system and apparently has antibacterial properties.

Verdict: I’m down.

Origin Unknown (Maybe US)
Wet sock treatment – Popular with naturopaths, this involves putting on ice cold, wet socks and sleeping in them. As someone who regularly sleeps with thick socks and a hot water bottle, this sounds horrendous.

Thoughts: There is method to this madness. The body reacts to the cold by revving up the immune system, and it increases circulation and decreases congestion in the respiratory passages, head and throat. Apparently patients also sleep better during the treatment. This I question, because when I have ice cold feet I’m not lulled into a deep sleep – I’m thinking about how damn cold my feet are.

I feel like this treatment was developed by a dude.

Verdict: I’ll keep my hot water bottle, thanks.

United Kingdom
Hot toddy – Blend whiskey, warm milk or water, and honey. Lemon wedges or sticks of cinnamon can also be added.

Thoughts: One of my favourites, although alcohol is generally discouraged by fancy pants doctors because it dehydrates you when you need liquids most.

Verdict: Suck it medicine, bottoms up.

What remedies from near and afar have you discovered? Leave a comment!


2 thoughts on “Cold and Flu Remedies From Around the World

  1. I’ve never tried this but a couple of my friends from Asia (one from China and one from Singapore) grew up eating a rice porridge with honey and ginger for upset stomachs. They said it was pretty common. It was easy on the stomach (ginger helps with nausea) and tasted good!

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