Writer: Isabella Calissi
Designer and Illustrator: Milena Sinyakina
Last month I had a cold and had to stay home for a couple of days. I tried everything I could think of to get better; cough medicines, antibacterial teas, day and night pills, soups, orange juice; all to still have an annoying cough for the next couple of weeks. In my Victorian Child-esque state, I got curious about what possible home remedies I could use to try and fight off my illness.
First, we’ll start with the easiest way to stay hydrated, while helping your throat and sinuses; tea! There are of course the classics; chamomile, mint, lemon, cinnamon; but there’s also some more unusual concoctions that are great for treating your cold.
Passion Fruit and Onion Tea is a popular cure in the Dominican Republic, the fruit itself is full of antioxidants and Vitamin C, which helps build your immunity against colds. Onion is known to help draw out mucus and fluids from your body and may help reduce inflammation.
Next, we have Grilled Plum with Green Tea from Japan. You take a pickled plum, and grill it until it’s burnt, then you pour a very hot green tea over it and drink it. Plums are rich in nutrients like Vitamin C, Potassium, and Calcium. Green tea is great for you too due to its antioxidants and antiviral properties.
An unusual sailor’s cure is Hot Rum and Peppermint from Scotland. You use a small amount of rum to help soothe your throat from any cough you might be suffering from, the alcohol also helps to warm you up. The peppermint aspect is to help with any congestion you might be suffering from. Another added measure to the drink is to take a walk by the sea, as the salt in the ocean spray helps clear up the sinuses.
The last of our teas is called Golden Milk, it’s a Turmeric and Milk combination that’s popular in India. While milk is known to sometimes increase your mucus content, Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties due to its natural compound called ‘Curcumin’. You can add more taste to the drink by adding in some cinnamon (also full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory), and some ginger (great for sore throats and inflammation).
Now, if you’re awake enough to eat something, there are a variety of soups around that are supposed to help you get better. There’s of course the classic Chicken Noodle, but if you’re on the scourge for something else, then here’s some recommendations on what to include in your meal!
Look for something spicy! The spice can help clear your sinuses, and generally just warm you up. Dark green and leafy vegetables are great too because they help prevent cell damage and fight off inflammation. Finally try to add some fibre to your food, it’s a good thickener to your soups, and great for gut health!
If you feel like you can’t stomach any food, then try sipping on some broth! It’s great for staying hydrated while still taking in some nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Some other, more physical remedies are around as well. For instance, when I got sick when I was younger, my mum would always boil a kettle in my room, because steam is supposed to help loosen up your mucus and make your voice less scratchy.
There seems to be quite a pattern with inhaling things to help open your sinuses. Of course, you can go the safe route and rub some menthol on your chest and breathe it in to open your sinuses; but if you’re really looking for something new, you can go the more interesting route and inhale some chopped onions! Just like when you’re cutting them, the tears won’t stop, and neither will your mucus!
This next one sounds like something my old choir teacher would recommend. If you mix water with a teaspoon or two of salt and gargle it, it will help relieve a scratchy or sore throat. It helps to loosen your mucus and any other irritants.
Finally, there’s the classic trick of putting an extra pillow under your head. It helps to drain your nasal
passages, and it makes a difference to have your head held up while you’re sleeping, rather than lying flat.
These are just a couple of cool remedies to help fight off that cold! I found that although lots of tea and honey helped to fight off my infection, it also helped to take my mind off it by doing research on stuff like this. Remember to relax and get lots of rest as you’re sipping your teas, eating your soups, and smelling your onions.