These days when we feel like we’re coming down with something, we pop a vitamin C pill and maybe some paracetamol. But in the ancient times when medicine wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now, they have to resort to other methods to cure themselves. Here are ten of the weirdest flu and cold medicines in the world, as compiled by Stuff.co.nz:
1. Kogel Mogel
This Russian concoction is believed to have originated from 17th century Central Europe, and is said to alleviate the symptoms not only of flu, but chest colds and laryngitis as well. It is made by whisking raw egg yolks and warm milk with a teaspoon of honey or sugar—whiskey is added to the adult version. While its medical properties are yet to be proven, the egg and honey do soothe sore throat, while warm milk and whiskey are naturally soporific.
2. Lizard Soup
With a long history in ancient China, having been used in its herbal remedies, this soup is just like the good old chicken noodle soup, that is, if you replace chicken with lizards.
A popular dish in Hong Kong even now, it is made by simmering dried lizards with yams and Chinese dates in a thick broth. It works in the same principle chicken noodle soup does—it replenishes lost fluids in the body, hydrates it, and clears the sinuses.
3. Baking Soda
Taken as it is—not with baked goodies like cookies and cakes—baking soda is said to neutralize the body’s acidity, which in turn makes it hard for bacteria to thrive. At the onset of an illness, melt ½ a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it every two hours, gradually minimizing the dosage as you start to feel better.
4. Dirty Socks and Lard Scarf
Dating from the olden days of England, this natural cold and flu remedy requires you to massage lard all over your neck and wrap old socks around it in a makeshift scarf. At best this remedy’s benefits are questionable, but was believed to be a common practice in poorer areas.
5. Frog Skin Cocktail
If you’re feeling that notorious tickle at the back of your throat which signals an upcoming flu, you have one thing you can do to halt its advance: drink a glass of juice—mixed with powdered frog skin, that is.
6. Onion Necklace
If garlands of garlic ward off vampires, onion necklaces ward off a cornucopia of illnesses by absorbing the germs on your body—at least that’s what some people believe, although this hasn’t been scientifically proven to do so. If you’re feeling less adventurous, you can always do the reasonable thing and drink an onion tea instead.
7. Jazz Appreciation
Feeling a little blue? Listen to some blues, particularly jazz blues. According to Newtopia, a 30-minute jazz session helps cure the common cold. It may sound ridiculous, but some studies say jazz stimulates the production of a chemical in the body called Immunogolubulin A, which is known to fight infections.
8. Sock Layering
If you’re feeling a little under the weather, all you have to do is soak your feet in a hot bath. Then soak a pair of socks in cold water, wring them out and then wear it over your toasty feet. Add another layer of dry socks over it and then climb onto bed. Just follow these steps and you should be feeling better in no time. Well, not really, but there’s no harm in trying.
9. Snail Syrup
This German remedy requires you to fight mucus with mucus using snail syrup, which you can buy in Germany over the counter. It is believed to be soothing to sore throats. And if your skin needs some TLC, you can also use snail syrup as a pick me up for better complexion.
10. Eating Chocolate
If all else fails, you can always go back to eating chocolate. While not the most effective remedy out there, chocolate contains a compound called Theobromine, which suppresses the urge to cough. There’s a catch though: dark chocolates have the highest amount of it; the regular milk chocolate we all love won’t work, but we’re not really complaining.
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