Worldwide Cultural Remedies for the Common Cold

As the editor, of the Multi Cultural Cooking Network Iproudly have friends from all walks of life.  While pressing through a cold and sore throat I became aware of the plethora of remedies hitting my face book page.   When Chef Jay Bonilla of our upcoming show En La Cocina Para Mi Amore and executive chef D’Cache in Los Angeles suggested tea with lime, it suddenly dawned on me there is a twist to all this.  Whether mothers, chefs, anthropologist or PhD’s gave me advice it all came from a cultural place of familiarity or generational word of mouth.- Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor

In a Report from ABC News Health,Dr. Marjorie Mau, chair of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii said as the daughter of a Chinese father and Hawaiian Chinese mother, Mau fondly recalled her mother’s spin on chicken soup, which she loves to this day. It combines chicken in a clear broth, ginger root … and a little bit of whiskey.

Chinese people may use folk remedies. These remedies are applied to a wide variety of aliments and may be used for general health maintenance as well. Because colds and flu are usually self-limiting, certain remedies are likely to shorten their course and help alleviate associated symptoms.

Wind-Heat Type Cold and Flu

Foods like peppermint, chrysanthemum, Chinese box thorn, mung beans, lotus leaves, olives, Chinese spinach and spinach are recommended. They are cold or cool in properties, which help to relieve heat symptoms.

Chrysanthemum and peppermint tea: Boil the chrysanthemum (6g) with 400ml of water. When brought to a boil, add in peppermint (3g) and crystal sugar (15g), boil for 2-3 minutes. Take the hot tea twice a day. It helps to relieve symptoms like sore throat, nasal congestion, headache and fever that occur in “heat” type flu.

Cayenne pepper was used by South American Native Americans thousands of years ago. In fact, it has been traced back to as early as 7000 B.C. Natives used it most often as an edible spice; the combination of peppers and cocoa was reserved for royalty only.

  • John Gerard, an herbalist, used the plant to treat ailments of the skin and throat. His contemporaries in England used it to treat all sorts of other ailments, such as indigestion, arthritis and kidney stones.

Cayenne dissolved in water and drunk or gargled, can relieve the symptoms of a sore throat. This is because cayenne peppers contain a great deal of Vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant. They also contain Vitamin A, which helps avoid mucous membrane infections. Lastly, the pain is lessened by capsaicin, the chemical in peppers. Capsaicin works by reducing a substance that transmits pain signals to the brain.

Cultural Cold Remedies

  • Korean- Miso Soup
  • The United States- Chicken Soup
  • French- Marhmallow Mint Tea(sore throat)
  • Seminole Indians of Florida- Gargled with Grapefruit Juice
  • Middle East- Pomegranate Juice
  • Skiers of the European slopes- Blueberry soup
  • Outer Mongolia: Cold remedy of Grated Garlic, ghee and yak milked mixed in a cup and heated
  • Greek- Fenugreek(discovered in Egypt) seeds are boiled into a tea.(eases congestion)
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