Garlic, Chili Pepper, Alcohol-dipped Scarf: Cold Remedies Through the Ages

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We promised to help you get well, sooner—so today we are talking home remedies, from famous civilizations past, and our very own fan base!

Home remedies have been around as long as the common cold—for thousands of years. One famous Aztec remedy was a mixture of chili pepper, honey, and tobacco. That fearsome combo sounds like it might scare a cold out of your system…but needless to say, we’re very suspicious of any remedy that includes tobacco as an ingredient!

To fight colds, Native Americans chewed osha root—turns out, that it’s an immune system stimulator. But cold-sufferers today will probably have an easier time getting their hands on Echinacea and yerba santa, also from the Native American tradition. Another popular solution: garlic, which the ancient Egyptians used during the building of the Great Pyramids.

Of course, there are some easy steps you can take at home. There’s the ever popular “drink plenty of fluids”, which is spoken of often— and actually, really does work! Gargling with salt-water also provides some relief. And a humidifier can be helpful in keeping the air around you moist (cold viruses thrive in dry air).

Our favorite home remedies, however, are yours! We asked on our Facebook page for suggestions of home remedies and comforting concoctions, and received some great responses. Laurie D. swore by the old classic—chicken noodle soup. Not just comforting, some studies show that chicken soup can be anti-inflammatory. It’s also nutritious and helps you stay hydrated! Laurie also likes oatmeal, another popular choice. Diane P. told us that she adds peanut butter to her oatmeal—stirring in the PB after the oatmeal is cooked so that it melts right in. It may not have much effect on the cold itself, but oatmeal is a hearty, sweet and warm way to feel comforted and give you energy when you are sick. Sean K. is also a peanut butter fan, but he goes for the more traditional sandwiches. Feeling like a kid again is a sure-fire comforter, too! And, like the Egyptians before us, Jan P. likes raw garlic (also an anti-inflammatory immune system booster).

But the most innovative suggestion that we heard had to be Bia F.’s—she recommended wetting a silk scarf with alcohol and tying it around her neck. There’s one that we’ve never heard before! Please be sure to consult your physician before trying any new remedies like this one – though we certainly have to give it points for creativity!

What about you—what are your favorite, no-fail home remedies for when you’re stuck at home with a bad cold?