Have a Cough or Flu (But Not Coronavirus)? Try These Home Remedies - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Have a Cough or Flu (But Not Coronavirus)? Try These Home Remedies


Have a Cough or Flu (But Not Coronavirus)? Try These Home Remedies

By OZY Editors and Barbara Fletcher


Because sometimes a little home medicine and magic can do the trick.

By OZY Editors and Barbara Fletcher

The world is watching the journey of coronavirus with bated breath. But it’s also still flu season in the U.S. –– last year influenza impacted 35 million people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. And to help prevent catching any nasties, we’ve seen recommendations of everything from Vitamin D dosing to downing turmeric and cinnamon drinks to enduring drops of fiery oil of oregano under our tongues.

When you do get sick with a cold or flu, lots of chicken soup (or vegan equivalent) and fluids can help (and dare we say, hot toddies). But you can also get relief from concoctions made from everyday ingredients in your pantry. Turns out, when it comes to sniffles, coughs and upset tummies, Grandma knew what she was doing when she made you that spicy warm drink (which may or may not have been a hot toddy).

Here are some home remedies from around the world –– sometimes herbal, sometimes a little bit “magic.”

The Home Remedies Indians Swear By


Girl with a turmeric plant.

First a caveat: These garden and cupboard concoctions aren’t going to taste good. But they’re gonna work. You’ll thank your auntie when you’re an adult for rubbing alcohol on your chest to clear congestion or making you that warm milk with haldi and garlic for a sore throat. If you’re looking for relief from stomachache, nausea, diarrhea, earache or even colic in babies, these traditional Indian home remedies have you covered. Plus, there’s always feni.

About 30 minutes after drinking, the sorcery sets in and you’ll be hacking up so much nastiness.

Got a Cough? Try Bosnia’s Witchy Brew

Bosnians have known the secrets to busting up troublesome coughs for hundreds of years. They already have a great cough syrup (Apisirup) made from honey and thymol. But it’s a simple drink, made from just three ingredients you’d typically find in caramel sauce or fudge, that gets the congested expectorating nicely (note: it tastes nothing like caramel sauce or fudge). About 30 minutes after drinking, the sorcery sets in and you’ll be hacking up so much nastiness. But afterward? Look forward to breathing easier and coughing less.

Ancient Mexican Cures Treat the Body and the Mind


A shaman during Day Of The Dead Festivities at Xcaret near Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Source Getty Images

Feeling the need to purge yourself of toxins? Try a traditional eucalyptus-infused steam treatment. Or for respiratory issues, boil eucalyptus and drink it as a tea. In Mexico, curandería (“the practice of healing”) uses everything from herbal medicine to ancient native spiritual practices to get you better. But here you also have a big role to play in your own health, and that means talk therapy and focus on relationships. And speaking of getting calm, if the coronavirus has you all panicky, try rubbing dry sage all over your body.

The Magic Guarri Tree Is a Natural Medicine Cabinet in Africa

As its Latin name suggests, Euclea divinorum is used for divination in Zambia, sorcery in Angola and to remove spells in Uganda. And while it has loads of uses (tanning hides, dying material, fermenting beer) the Magic Guarri’s roots are also used throughout Africa to “cure” everything from cancer and arthritis to miscarriage, snakebites and leprosy. There’s a lot of witchcraft and wizardry at play, but the tree’s bark is known to work as a strong laxative and the roots contain compounds that have healing effects on the nervous system. So again, in times that call for calm, psychoactive plants (not the drugs) can be your friends.

Our dear readers also suggest a host of other home remedies –– many involving booze, but also lemon, wasabi, ginger, cayenne and … marijuana scraps and Coca-Cola syrup.

Of course, see a doctor if you have worsening or worrisome symptoms. If you’re sure it’s the common flu? Try a home remedy and head to bed with a good book or your phone. And keep washing your hands!

Sign up for the weekly newsletter!

Related Stories