Cold Remedies, Reviewed

Cold Remedies, Reviewed

I came down with a big sloppy cold over the holiday weekend.  Fun!  It gave me time to reflect on all the crazy-ass folk remedies people have "prescribed" for me over the years.

Massive Doses of Vitamin C
Instructions: Take at least 3,000mg of vitamin C every 24 hours.


This has actually worked for me in the past.  Whether it's the placebo effect or not, I can't say.  The key is to catch it early.  Like, the first time you think, "Hmm, I wonder if I'm coming down with something?"  

There is some good scientific data that vitamin C can't stop a cold, but it can accelerate the process so you're sick for fewer days.  That's not a cure, but it's the best we're going to get.

Echinacea and Goldenseal
Instructions: Take "some" at the first signs of illness.


Echinacea and Goldenseal, either together or separately, have never done a damned thing for me.  Except to give me strange musty plant-y burps.  

Zinc
Instructions: Take "some" at the first signs of illness.


I have a zinc supplement that I take when I get sick.  I can't say if it helps or not, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something, and that's important.  

Zinc nasal sprays can be effective against the cold and flu.  However, they can also give you permanent anosmia, which is where you lose your sense of smell for life.  I have a friend with anosmia, and trust me, you don't want it. You know that grade school biology class experiment where you hold your nose and take a bite out of an onion and an apple, and you can't tell the difference?  Yeah.  That.  Forever.

Chicken Soup

Instructions: Ideally, prepared from scratch.  By someone else.


This is certainly the most pleasant of the folk remedies.  It gives you fluids, and salts, and a little bit of protein, all of which are things you need when you're sick and lacking an appetite.  

Raw Garlic
Instructions: Mash and spread on toast.  


I tried this once.  I love garlic, but even so, I couldn't do it.  I just couldn't do it.

Garlic in Brandy
Instructions: Mince several garlic cloves and steep in a bottle of brandy.


This sounds like it would be strangely tasty.  But it is not.  It's like garlic flavored lighter fluid.  I know someone who insists on pushing some on me whenever I get sick.  I have taken to pretending that I just have allergies.

Hot Toddy
Instructions: Add a shot of whiskey, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of honey to a small cup of hot water.


My #1 favorite "cure."  It doesn't make you less sick, but it makes you a lot more willing to cope with the misery.  And hey, there's lemon, that's good for you, right?  Sure.

Wait Seven Days

Instructions: Try not to whine too much.  Get plenty of rest.  Try not to watch too much television.


Amazingly, this one works like a charm, first time, every time.

Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user sualk61