What’s your favorite cold remedy?

I’m sick. It kind of snuck up on me. Yesterday I was tired all day and it just got worse. By about 6 I had a full-bore sore throat and I felt ready for bed.
And it all went downhill from there. My girlfriend came over around 8, after her workday ended, and by then I was two tons of fun. Not that I was a jerk, or whiney, or anything. That was the problem: I wasn’t saying anything.

I guess it’s good that it hit on a weekend, since the first day or two is usually the worst. I can’t really afford to miss much work, so I’m going to hit this thing hard.

Zinc lozenges. As soon as I can drag my sorry butt down to the store I’m going to get a couple of packages of these. Nobody knows why they work. I discovered them in college. They work.

Orange juice. My freezer is full of it right now. By the end of the week it won’t be. Vitamin C is your friend.

Raw garlic. Steve DeLassus taught me about this one. Take a clove, cut it up into pill-size pieces, then swallow them like pills. Take with milk to cut down on the aftertaste, or eat a piece of bread afterward.

Chicken soup and anything else steamy. A classmate of my dad’s told me why this works. (It’s a shame it’s next to impossible to find an osteopath in St. Louis.) Our bodies make us miserable because they feel dried out. The body absorbs steam readily, cutting down on its perceived need to handle the problem via other methods. So there really is something to the old adage about chicken soup. Besides the psychological effects.

Hot tea can benefit you as well. Something about tea soothes a sore throat. But caffeine’s bad when you’re trying to rest, so stick to decaf tea.

Rest. I slept 10 hours. I’m going to take another nap here in a bit.

Vitamins, minerals and herbals. Zinc. (The lozenges don’t go through your whole system, so zinc lozenges and zinc tablets aren’t redundant.) Vitamin C. Echinacea. Antioxidants like Vitamin E and Beta Carotene. It’s all about strengthening the immune system and building resistance.

Gargling salt water. My girlfriend mentioned this one. I think my dad used to have me to this, way back when. The body absorbs water that’s slightly saline a lot better than it absorbs plain old tap water. That’s why you use saline solution on contact lenses rather than pure water.

I’ve gargled four times this morning. It seems to be starting to help.

So… Those are my tricks. What works for you?

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9 thoughts on “What’s your favorite cold remedy?

  • February 9, 2003 at 12:16 pm

    There are some new products on the market which are supposed to shorten the duration and lesson the symptoms of a cold. I don’t know if any of them work; I haven’t tried any of them. I would think, though, that you would need to use them as soon as you feel symptoms coming on. You might want to add some L-Lysine to the Vitamin C and echinacea. Your dad used to say that, when you get a cold, you can hit it with everything but the kitchen sink and it will last ten days. Rest, get lots of fluids and it will last a week and a half. Take care.

  • February 9, 2003 at 10:53 pm

    Since my daughter is getting over a bout with the flu, I browsed WebMD.com recently. They have a good article on natural treatment tips. Take a peek at their cold and flu survivor’s guide for more tips, as well as some recipes (yes, chicken soup is included, as well as hot lemonade, which I can remember my grandma giving me when I was a pup).

  • February 10, 2003 at 7:49 am

    Heres my 2 cents

    1) This one is from my mom and has to be done at the first signs of a cold or a flu. I would get this from 10 years onwards: juice from one lemon, approx one ounce of gin, spoonful of honey and about a cupful of boiling water. Stir the toddy, drink it all quickly…retire to bed with a T-shirt and sweat the cold out. I usually have to change by T-shirt and sometimes my bedclothes but usually the next morning I feel better.

    2)Cut up fresh ginger root, about 2cm. Cut up a lemon and throw it in a pot with about a litre of water. Boil it all together for about 15 minutes…add honey and enjoy the bitter sweet taste. Full of vitamin C

  • February 10, 2003 at 10:13 am

    Green tea is better for you than regular tea. It is one of the few things we can drink that does not need to be replaced with water. For every glass of pop, coffee, tea you drink, you are supposed to drink a glass of water as well. You should drink half your body weight in ounces in water per day.(ie 160lbs. = 80oz. water) More water is needed if you drink other liquids just to neutralize them in your body. Green tea does not have this effect, however. Plus, most green teas are caffiene free.

  • February 10, 2003 at 4:05 pm

    Definitely drink lots of OJ. I’ve gotten in the habit of drinking about a gallon of it a day, to replace my soda-guzzling habit. I got a cold a couple of weeks ago. Now, my immune system is pretty weak, and when I get sick, I can be down for weeks or months. My cold cleared up in 5 days, where it took around 2 weeks before.

  • February 11, 2003 at 12:12 am

    You won’t believe it, but… Habanero pepper. It’s a natural vasodilator, and it also helps loosen the mucus… With everything running free, remember not to swallow the gunk. your body is leaking it outside for a reason.

    It also helps cool your body by flushing the skin. It works wonders in helping break a fever for me.

    Not much. For some, tabasco may work, but… I am masochistic with the spices. 😉

    Garlic is good, as is Ginger…

    Put a bit of hot sauce in your soup to taste, and it will help. Or at least you’ll have a different manner of suffering, which breaks the tedium of any illness… 😀

  • February 11, 2003 at 9:57 am

    Taran, you’ve got the kind of cures I like. But being a chilehead, whatddya expect? As for “suffering” from the habs, don’t you like the endorphine rush? No pain, no gain. 🙂

    And Jean Paul, I tried your recipe #1 last night (I’m fighting off a cold myself now). Seemed to work pretty well, though I used brandy. I felt OK when I got up, though I’m tired. And I’ve got zinc lozenges going in a steady three hour stream. We’ll see how things go. I assume you’re supposed to have a toddy every night you’re sick? Tastes good in any case…

  • February 12, 2003 at 11:33 am

    Heh. I grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, most peppers are mild. My sister’s last gift to me were some delectable habanero jelly beans…

    (And I had a lot of fun leaving them in plain site at the workplace, where people often take without asking. They learned. ***MANIACAL LAUGHTER***)

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