Curing the Common Cold: Tips from around the world
A common cold is, well, common
A cold is one illness that affects people around the world pretty frequently that it isn’t unusual for one to be down with a cold up to four times a year. A cold is the highest reason for absenteeism at school or at work. A cold spreads fast, so if you let yourself be exposed to sick people, there is a tendency you will get infected as well. You know someone is having a cold when they have nasal congestion, a runny nose or frequent sneezing. You also can catch a cold from overexposure to low temperatures. If having a blocked or runny nose isn’t bad enough, a common cold may also cause you to have a sore throat, cough and headaches. Having a cold makes you feel uncomfortable and miserable, so a quick and effective treatment is vital in getting you back on your feet.
It is most likely that you’ll make a dash to the doctor’s or pharmacy for some pills to pop to ride you of your cold. Did you know that you can find many cures in your kitchen itself? These cures are not only inexpensive and natural but they make cold-curing interesting too. Let’s take a tour and get some ideas from people around the world on how they cure their common cold.
Sweet and simple Americans
One of the simplest cures for a cold comes from the States. You only need an onion and some honey. Start by slicing the onion into halves. Remove some of the inner layers and pour honey into the core of onions before keeping them in the refrigerator. After 3 hours, take the onions out and drink the honey. It is best that you take 3 teaspoons of honey every 2 hours.
The Mexicans’ tongue-burning cure
If you are up for the challenge, eat a spoonful of crushed chillies to rid the cold! Eating crushed chillies is a traditional Mexican-Apache cure for the common cold. Get some hot chilli pods and soak them in hot water for 15 minutes. Next, grind the chillies with the water they were soaked in. The Mexicans eat the paste with a piece of tortilla but you can spread the paste on a cracker or bread, just like jam! Chillies are believed to be a cure-all remedy because they are packed with vitamins. If you wish to, you can add garlic and onions to the chillies for a better-tasting concoction!
Good ol’ English Bacon
Bacon isn’t just good for breakfast; it makes a good cure for colds too. Bacon is an old English way to treat a common cold. If you are having an endless bout of sneezing, get a slice of bacon and cut off the joints. Next, find two pieces of cheesecloth. Now, place the bacon between the two pieces of cheesecloth and ‘plaster’ the bacon on your chest! You might not like the smell and grease but just put up with it as the bacon will keep your chest clear and chase away the congestion.
Germans love onions
Germans believe that onions have healing power for the common cold. Cut one whole onion into 6 pieces and put them in a paper bag. Bring the paper bag to bed. Before you sleep, take a shot of brandy and inhale a few times from the paper bag. When you are ready to sleep, take out the onions and put them near your pillow. The onion scent is believed to be a good cure for cold. Alternatively, you can plunge slices of onion in hot water for a few seconds before taking them out and drinking the water.
The Russians’ garlic and bathtub combo
Based on scientific research, garlic produces allicin, an element that can reduce mucus and kill bacteria.
It is no wonder that garlic is known as penicillin among the Russians! To cure the common cold, Russians peel a clove of garlic and put it in their mouth. They don’t chew the garlic but keep it between the cheek and teeth. After four hours, they replace the garlic with another new clove. Another simple Russian way to cure cold is to keep feet in hot water. Before you go to sleep, fill the bathtub with hot water. Keep your feet in it for 20 minutes before drying your feet, wearing socks and subsequently having a good sleep.
Mongolians breathe the steam
If you are not very sick from the cold, you might want to try this home-remedy from Mongolia. However, if you can barely get out of bed, it is advisable to get someone to help you in preparing the remedy. What you need are 2-3 unpeeled potatoes, 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic and 3-4 teaspoons of baking soda. Boil the potatoes in a pot. After 20 minutes, carefully lift up the pot from the gas stove and put it on the floor and add the garlic to the pot. Sit next to the pot, cover yourself with a blanket and lean towards the pot to breathe the steam. Also, remember to add 1 teaspoon of baking soda every 5 minutes for improved efficacy.
Coke and the Chinese
Who would have thought that the sugar-laden can of carbonated drink is a good cure for a cold? Get a can of Coca Cola, some ginger and a lemon. Mix all the ingredients in a pan and heat up the mixture on the gas stove until it boils. Cool the mixture down before drinking it. Boiled Coke with ginger must be an effective remedy as even Hong Kong restaurants here have the drink on their menu!
Indians stick with their curry
Dhal, cumin seeds, black pepper, dry red chillies, coriander seeds and curry leaves sounds like ingredients for a curry but no, they’re made into a soup to drive away the cold. First, some tamarind juice is boiled with water, salt and turmeric powder. When the mixture starts to boil, the other ingredients are added in. Simmer for a few minutes and then it is ready to be served to the patient. A flavourful soup – certainly not a bad cure for a cold.
Sweet and sour (and salty) Thailand
Thais are famous for their sweet and sour cooking. It looks like they’ve extended their specialty to creating a special cure for common cold too. All you need to do is to squeeze a little lime into a cup of honey. Next, add in some salt, stir well and enjoy. You’ll not only be ridden of the cold but also will have all your taste buds tickled.
From Malaysia itself
And last but not least is the traditional cure from our country itself. A combination of rambutan leaves and a blanket is said to be able to draw out excessive ‘heat’ from the body and subsequently driving your cold away. Crush some rambutan leaves and soak them in water. Next, wet your hair with the rambutan ‘juice’ water as well as place a towel dampened with the ‘juice’ on your forehead too. As you lie down soaked in rambutan juice, wrap yourself in a blanket to trap the heat. It is believed that sweating is a sign of recovering from the cold.
In other countries
The people in Uzbekistan use lamb fat to cure a cold. First, they put the lamb fat in a frying pan and melt it under a low heat. Then, they boil some milk in a pot. Next, they put the melted fat into the milk and add some honey. This concoction is best drunk twice a day. The mixture gives out a strong smell but it works great in healing a cold.
In Ukraine, they mix home-made raspberry jam with hot water to drive away their blocked or runny noses. The mixture must be stirred well before drinking and ideally, it should be drunk every hour.
This cure comes all the way from Canada. Chop half of an onion and put the chopped onions in a bowl. Coat the onions with some brown sugar and leave it for 30 minutes. When the time is up, strain the onions and collect the juice. Drink the juice every 2 or 3 hours.
The end of the tour
The next time you are down in bed with a cold, try one of the methods above to see if they work as well for you as they did for the people in the country of its origin. It would of course be a challenge to swallow crushed chillies or to plaster bacon on your chest but there is certainly no harm in trying to discover what honey, onions, garlic or Coke can do for your cold.