No one enjoys getting sick, particularly when it’s the ubiquitous cold with no cure. All you can really do is wait it out, but treating the symptoms can help you feel significantly better in the meantime. When the American way of chicken noodle soup and honey lemon tea isn’t cutting it, maybe it’s time to try a natural cold remedy from another country. If you’re feeling adventurous, here are seven international cold remedies to choose from.
1. Lizard Soup (Hong Kong)
Before you make a face, hear us out on this one. Lizard soup — typically made with dried lizards, yams and Chinese dates — is the Hong Kong equivalent of chicken soup for treating sickness. Plus, you’re not actually eating the lizards — you’re just simmering them in the broth (apparently they give the soup a fishy flavor).
2. Garlic Tea (Mexico, Spain)
If you’ve ever been sick with a sore throat, you’ve probably consumed quite a bit of hot tea. You may have even kicked the healing properties up a notch with honey and lemon. Well, Spaniards and Latin Americans take it to another level by adding some garlic. Sure, your breath will reek, but the garlic is said to reduce coughing and act as a decongestant.
3. Gogol-Mogol (Russia, Ukraine)
This one is at the top of our must-try list. It’s a Slavic eggnog comprising warm milk, whipped egg yolks, vanilla, nutmeg, honey and sometimes butter. Sounds delicious! The texture of this drink coats and soothes a sore throat, and the warm milk helps you fall asleep. Some adventurous types will add a dash of rum or cognac to make it a little more potent.
4. Rum And Peppermint (Scotland)
Another good option for alcohol lovers, hot rum and peppermint (or “hot rum and pep,” as the Scots call it) is a Scottish cure for the common cold. Legend has it that Royal Marines in Scotland used it as a decongestant when they were sick at sea. Another Scottish remedy? Taking a walk and breathing in that fresh sea air. But that one’s less fun.
5. Pickled Plum (Japan)
Called umeboshi (“dried plum”), these tart and salty pickled fruit are more closely related to apricots than plums. Regardless of genealogy, umeboshi are known across Japan for their incredible health benefits. They’re said to reduce fatigue, help eliminate toxins and aid in digestion. In addition to treating colds, umeboshi are a popular hangover cure.
6. Golden Turmeric Milk (India)
This hot drink is very popular in India for treating basically any ailment, but especially colds and sore throats. It’s also the hottest new trend among hipsters from Brooklyn to San Francisco. The Hindi name for it is haldi ka doodh (“turmeric milk”), and it’s simply warm milk with turmeric in it. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, making it a smart choice for treating illness. Because of turmeric’s yellow color, the concoction is often called “golden milk.” Add ghee (clarified butter from India) and honey to make it a little tastier.
7. Snail Syrup (Germany)
It may sound unappetizing, but snails have been used in medicine since the time of Hippocrates. The mucus-like trail snails leave behind apparently can help reduce coughs and soothe sore throats. The process has been commercialized, so rather than dealing with an actual snail, Germans can just buy a bottle of Schnecken (“snails”) extract, also referred to as “snail syrup.” We wouldn’t recommend putting it on pancakes.