Does chicken soup really have healing powers? And does Grandma really know what she's talking about when she tells you to eat more garlic to get rid of that cold? FLAVORx has compiled the best in traditional home remedies from around the world. Many people swear by these old traditions and remedies, you might think they are old wives tales but FLAVORx investigates do they have validity?
For most of us, when we start to feel that first sign of a scratchy throat or a runny nose we head straight for the Cough and Cold Aisle of our local pharmacy. But what about when grandma says to eat a clove of garlic or take down a big bowl of hot chicken soup- does she really know what she’s talking about? Studies show that certain foods and herbs may stimulate the right immune response, allowing the body to better fight illness and infection. FLAVORx has compiled a list of some popular, traditional home remedies from across the globe that have been thought by past generations to improve health when ill. Do these old wives tales actually have any restorative properties? If so how do they stack up against todays usual recomendations?
Don't use these methods without consulting your doctor first. It is not the intention of FLAVORx to promote these remedies in lieu of seeking professional medical advice. Rather it is to investigate if and how some of these remedies do eliminate symptoms and aid in a quicker recovery.
Onion Air: Cut an onion in half and place it near your bed. The strong odor and antiviral chemicals from the onion will kill bacteria in the air around you.
Pepper and Vodka: Mix 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper in 1 shot (1.5 ounces) of vodka. Though it won’t be pleasant going down, this fiery elixir will surely induce sweating to treat a fever.
Chicken Soup: Studies show that somehow grandma’s recipe could inhibit the migration of cells that contribute to congestion. Adding cayenne pepper or curry to the mix stimulates circulation and loosens congestion—the heat from the spices acts like an expectorant found in most over-the-counter cough syrups.
Boiled Wine: Mix together ½ cup red wine, ½ cup white wine, 2 cinnamon sticks, cloves and sugar. Boil, filter and drink. This remedy clears nasal passages and the cinnamon allows for a gentle, warming and sweat-inducing effect.
Black Radish or Onion Syrup: To treat a cough, take a black radish, hollow it out and add 1 teaspoon of honey. Let the juices from the radish mix with the honey and drink the mixture like you would cough syrup. Similarly, the same can be done by pouring honey over chopped onion.
Potato Skin Steam: Put potato skin peels in hot water and breathe the steam every hour to treat decongestion by loosening mucous and clearing nasal passages. Similar mixtures can be made with chamomile flowers and eucalyptus. The mixtures can be saved and reheated for several days.
Ginger Tea: Add 1 large teaspoon of grated fresh gingerroot to 1 cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Ginger contains antiviral compounds that have specific effects against most common cold viruses. Additionally ginger can reduce pain and fever, suppress coughing and, because of its mild sedative effect, encourage rest.
Vinegar Wrap: To treat an abnormally high fever, wrap your body in towels soaked in vinegar. The vinegar has been said to counteract toxic effects and treat respiratory infections.
Steamed Pear and Sugar: Halve a pear and remove the core. Fill the emptied core with rock sugar or honey and steam. This is a tasty treat that can be used to treat a persistent cough. The pear and honey help to eliminate mucous and lubricate dryness in the throat.
While most of these remedies have not been scientifically accepted to have curing effects, many swear by these home remedies.
Is there any more validity to cough and cold remedies currently found in the drugstore? Guaifenesin has been labeled one of the best, most recommended expectorants because it is thought to relieve a cough by thinning sputum and increasing its production. Guaifenesin is the only expectorant that has been unconditionaly considered effective by many. Despite its broad use in the treatment of cough, multiple studies have found inconsistent results supporting the effectiveness of guaifenesin as an expectorant or cough suppressant. Little information is available concerning the impact of guaifenesin on the sensitivity of the cough reflex.
This leaves you with the nagging question "are remedies found in the Cough and Cold Aisle more or less effective than Grandma's home remedies"?
If medication is necessary, FLAVORx suggests using a specifically developed and scientifically tested flavoring to improve the typically unpalatable taste of liquid medications. FLAVORx offers 42 flavors that can be applied to both over-the-counter and prescription medications and is available at most pharmacies nationwide. To date, over 50 million prescriptions have been successfully flavored without any report of complication, changes in efficacy or incidence of allergy.
For more information, please contact Teresa Chen at 800.884.5771, extension 234.