We’ve been passing around a cold in our house for the past few weeks (inevitable with 5 kids and the beginning of school!) so I reached out to my friends, my readers, and bloggers at Multicultural Kid Blogs and asked for their home remedies for colds. The exotic variety of antidotes was so much fun I had to share them with you. Who knows? Maybe next time you or your kids have a cold you’ll find some relief.
Latin American Home Remedies for Colds
Mexico: Maria Babin of Trilingual Mama says “My mom is Mexican and she always gave us chamomile or mint tea for a tummy ache, warm lemon juice and honey for a sore throat or a cough or Vicks Vaporub on our chests and backs to calm a really persistent cough. Caldo de pollo to get over a cold or the flu! Homemade tortillas hot off the comal with a generous dab of butter was also used to cure any and all other heartaches.”
A reader on our facebook page, Chela, describes a very common Mexican home remedy: “From San José Iturbide, Guanajuato, Mexico: cut thin rounds of red onions, place them on a plate, and spoon a lot of sugar on the onions. Leave the plate in the kitchen on top of something that makes the plate be inclined and which lets the onions ooze some liquid that will turn into a kind of syrup with the sugar. This makes a really good cough syrup.”
Guatemala: “Warm up butter, and rub it on your neck and chest. Also, try making a tea from boiled marigolds” (from Olga Hernandez, a friend).
Costa Rica: “My mom used to warm up honey and squeeze lemon into it and give it to us for sore throats but I think everyone did that!” (Adriana)
Bolivia: “For my kids I go Bolivian about it and serve hot lemonade with honey, or a ginger tea with lemon and honey. I also rub their chest and soles feet with mentisan (Bolivian vicks). My parents have a Eucalyptus tree in their backyard. They boil the lives to clean and disinfect the environment, and it helps also to clear and decongest noses and chest (from Crianza Bicultural).”
Venezuela: “Saute onions and garlic until soft. Puree them with milk and drink.” Lucy says, “It tastes terrible but does the trick!”
Chile: Paula says “Crush garlic and steep in hot water (like tea). Add honey to taste. Get into bed and cover up completely with blankets. Drink tea and then stay in bed. Works every time.”
Colombia: Mama Tortuga says that in Colombia, “Vick’s Vaporub is rubbed in the chest and feet!! Also, garlic with honey!!! Lots of herbal teas!!! Lemongrass and chamomile with “agua de panela with lemon” with is like piloncillo (raw brown sugar).”
Peru: Daria, of Daria’s Music says “Eucalyptus grows at high altitudes in Peru (where trees will not grow). You can gather the leaves and steep them in water, then carefully breathe in the steam to relive congestion. The smell is wonderful!”
Ecuador: A friend in Ecuador just reports that she “mixes Coke with hot water and add lemon for a cough remedy.” Stephanie Meade from InCulture Parent says “Limonada caliente from Ecuador, which I always use- hot water, lots of lemon and honey. Also, I had a horrible horrible cough that lasted what felt like months and everyone told me to try hot milk, garlic with a few raisins. My cough went away (I am not sure if it was that remedy or if it had run its course.)”
European Home Remedies for Colds
Romanian/German/US: Aimee from Raising World Citizens: “In our family, our go-to cold remedy is always matzo ball soup! For coughs, its usually a spoonful of honey.”
UK: “Honey lemon ginger here too!” (Abbi from Bristol)
Russia: Varya from The Creative World of Varya says: “Dry mustard in socks and another pair of socks on top. My mom swears by it that it stopped coughs when we were little. Another one for fever and cough: hot milk, a tiny pinch of soda, teaspoon of honey and a small piece of butter. It did help us calm down and did soothe chest colds.”
Following the Russian tradition of tea-drinking, Galina of Trilingual Children says “Black tea with lemon is my favorite. Or tea with raspberry jam. Or tea with honey. I also like lemon juice squeezed into water. Sage infusion was something I often had to gargle on as a child. And then there was warm milk with honey (and butter) that also did its miracles. Eating a clove of garlic not only repels vampires (and family members!), it also helps boosting the immune-system.”
Ute, of Expats Since Birth (Swiss, Italian, Dutch), says “What we do when one of us has a sore throat is oil pulling (originally a technique from Ayerveda practices in Southern India) and drinking glasses of hot water with ginger and fresh lemon. We also do leg compresses and lot of warm drinks! (read more here).
Asian Home Remedies for Colds
Taiwan: Amanda (Miss Panda Chinese) says “My mom makes ginger water with or without sugar for the cold remedy. In Taiwan, people also add some salt into Sa-Shi, a soda drink (the flavor is similar to Root Beer but with an herbal flavor) as a home remedy for colds. It works very well. My kids tried it once and thought it was very tasty.”
India: Ayesha from Words and Needles says “Honey and black pepper for coughs. Turmeric in warm milk for colds.”
Meera Sriram who also blogs at InCulture Parent has many home remedies for colds from India: “we make a thick paste of local honey, dry ginger powder, pepper and turmeric and give them a spoonful twice a day starting on the first day of cold. It helps prevent congestion and infections, and helps them get better sooner.
Another thing we do is a homemade cough suppressant – we boil milk, until it’s really creamy and thick, with a pinch of turmeric and pepper and give to them as the last thing before bed (so the medicinal fat coats the throat) and helps keep the cough down.
We also do saline water gargling in the initial stages and eucalyptus oil in hot water steam inhalation for “blocked” noses. I also go overboard with the herbal powder asafoetida (a fennel variety we use a lot in Indian cooking and is called hing in Hindi) during winter months to fight flu. We use a lot tulsi (Indian variety of basil) for colds, we even grow it in a pot at home just to use it for colds for the kids – you can even just eat the leaf raw (which I did a lot in India but now we need to ration the small plant we have, lol), so we boil the leaves to make a concoction, like tea, and then maybe eat the leaves.”
Home Remedies for Colds from the US and Canada
Marie-Claude from Marie’s Pastiche says her French-Canadian remedy is “to steep ginger in boiling water, then add lemon and honey (and take the ginger out).
“My husband likes to hit hard on garlic, ginger and shiitake mushrooms. Usually I make a chicken soup with them for us. Hot and sour soup with an extra touch of cayenne peppers also helps.”
“Raw apple cider vinegar. Drink a splash of it in herbal tea.”
“I received many home remedies from colds that included ginger, honey and lemon. Sally says “Hot tea with lots of honey stirred in, chewable vitamin C throughout the day, and extra sleep if possible. My grandpa was half Native American and therefore, I’ve gone to pow wows where I started buying these Native American tea mixes that I now get in the mail from a woman named Maria for coughing and sore throats; any hot tea with honey helps soothe a throat, loosen mucus, and flush out your system. And good old chicken soup is a good way to get nutrition when you’re not that hungry and cold liquids don’t sound good. I add quite a bit of lemon juice to chicken soup for flavor and vitamin C” (from Sally, a reader of Kid World Citizen).
Elisabeth Edwards Alvarado, bilingual blogger at Spanish Mama says “Chop up raw garlic and put on a spoonful of raw honey. Swallow with liquid (I have to use juice!) and definitely don’t chew it! Not yummy but garlic is the strongest immune booster I know of, and cheap. If your kids won’t do this put garlic and coconut oil/olive oil in the blender, strain, and rub the oil on the soles of their feet and put some (old) socks on for the night.”
Carolyn says “A teaspoon of honey with cinnamon.”
Laura advises “Vicks…on his chest (or undershirt since he is young and on his feet with socks.”
Dee Tee recommends “eating a raw clove of garlic; elderberry syrup also.”
So next time you’re feeling under the weather, try some of these home remedies for colds! Do you have a favorite antidote that I didn’t include? Share it with us in the comments: tell us what home remedy provides relief from colds for you and your kids. Do I need to say that I am not a doctor and if you’re really sick you need to seek professional medical help? 🙂 I know my readers are smarter than that!