Why you should care
Because sushi might be the cure for your stuffy nose.
We asked: Which trusted home remedies do you reach for when you have a stuffy nose or a headache? You answered — and with some pretty interesting concoctions (no judging on how many contain booze). From the “sushi cure” to the Coke soda fountain trick, and from whiskey-infused cordials to weed salves, here are some home remedies you won’t find at the drugstore.
Melanie Pogue Semore, Memphis
When my four siblings and I were growing up, my father stirred up a concoction in a teacup and dosed us up at bedtime. The recipe was raw honey, lemon juice and Jack Daniel’s. If even one of us was snotty-nosed or coughing, he would line us all up and give us a couple of tablespoons each and send us to bed. The teacup stayed on his bedside table, and sometimes in the night, he said he’d hear little feet padding down the hall for a second round. Last winter, my brother-in-law had a terrible cough. I told him I’d stir up some of the recipe for him. When I uncapped the Jack Daniel’s, my sister said, “Oh, it smells like home!”
Richard Steele, Brunswick, Maine
My mother taught me this: At the very first signs of a sore throat, gargle with apple cider vinegar. The 5 percent acidity kills the germs. It takes awhile to keep from gagging, but it works. Dilute the vinegar if needed. And gargle often until the sore throat clears.
Dani Smartt, Canby, Oregon
I use a salve made from marijuana scraps for aches and pains. Crush 1/4-pound MJ and add enough water to cover. Add 1 cup olive oil. Simmer five to six hours. Strain out the solids and put in the refrigerator until cold. Skim off olive oil layer and discard the rest. Gently heat in pan, add beeswax shavings to thicken (to preference). I keep mine in the refrigerator in a glass jar. The salve will stay potent for up to a year. It does not get you high; the THC has cooked off. I use it for fibromyalgia and sciatica.
Nan (Nancy) Bergau, Bali, Indonesia
Go to the nearest Japanese restaurant, order sushi and eat it with lots of soy sauce and wasabi, pickled ginger on the side. Seriously, wasabi always works, then drink lots and lots of water to flush out your system and dilute the histamines. Adding more wasabi if you can take it is even more potent. It will clear your nose for a few hours, then you can eat some more ? or not.
Alta Charo, Madison, Wisconsin
Upset stomach: Get pure Coca-Cola syrup from a shop or restaurant with a proper soda fountain and take a few tablespoons. Stuffy nose: Eat something bland slathered with mounds of freshly grated horseradish or a large dollop of wasabi. Sore throat: Drink a googul moogul (warm milk with honey and whiskey).
Sara Frack, San Rafael, California
My husband’s grandfather taught him an amazing remedy for canker sores. Make a paste from salt and vinegar and use a Q-tip to apply the paste on the cold sore. It stings at first, and then the canker sore stops hurting and heals very quickly. My hypothesis for why it works is that the salt removes water from the damaged cells by osmosis. Once those damaged cells are dead, the healing process can begin.
Catherine York, Ocala, Florida
Sore throat and laryngitis: Slippery elm tea does the trick. Cold: Fresh ground ginger, teaspoon of honey, a bit of hot water to mix it all together or hot tea with a shot of whiskey. Congestion: Eucalyptus in a diffuser or vaporizer — it really works. Aches: Arnica gel on area. The remedy came from my daughter who lives in Paris and is an actor, and she used this as her home remedy when she lost her voice from overuse or laryngitis.
Janice Hawkins, Landing, New Jersey
Colds: Put eucalyptus oil in your humidifier to help with a stuffy nose. Chest cold: Put Vicks Vapor Rub on brown paper, warm it up and apply to chest or back. Wrap yourself in lots of blankets to sweat out a cold. Cut up some ginger root and put it in hot tea, add a peppermint ball and a touch of lemon juice and honey. Some folks like rum in it also.
Rosemary Gudelj, Lenexa, Kansas
Nasal/sinus congestion, whether the root cause is allergies, upper respiratory infection or contaminants: hot lemonade with cayenne pepper. You can do hot water with lemon, honey and cayenne pepper. If I suspect a bacterial or fungal infection is involved, I also breathe steam with several drops of oil of oregano in it.
Christine Chaise, Greenwood, Avon, Connecticut
During the flu and cold season, I take vitamin D3 every day, which helps build up the immune system. At the onset of cold symptoms, I usually take Andrographis in combination with Siberian ginseng. Andrographis is a plant that is native to South Asian countries. The leaf and underground stem are used to make antiviral and antimicrobial medicine. It is frequently used for preventing and treating the common cold and flu. I decided to try it when I read that some people claim it stopped the 1919 flu epidemic in India. I’m glad I did.
Aïda Muñoz, Madison Heights, Michigan
Some years ago my friend gave me a recipe she got from her mother when I complained of starting to feel sickness coming on. It’s basically this: Take fresh ginger, red onion and garlic — roughly chopped — and boil together in water and then drink like a tea, discarding the ingredients. I would suggest boiling (or simmering) at least five minutes (longer is better) in about two or three cups of water, using about a tablespoon or two of fresh ginger, a quarter (or so) of a red onion and two or three cloves of garlic. A squeeze of lemon might be good, and I’ve even chewed on the ingredients after they became soft from boiling. My friend told me to take this at the very earliest signs of an oncoming sickness (cold or flu). I have done so through the years and I swear by it! And it’s delicious, hot and savory! Perfect for winter colds and early-spring chills.
Kai Tao, Chicago
A can of Coke/Pepsi + lots of ginger slices + lemon. Boil x 10 minutes and sip. Amazing for sore throat, general head cold. Super child-friendly as this was my favorite reason to get sick.