The only thing worse than catching a cold is feeling like you’re about to catch a cold. That achiness you can feel in your bones, followed by dread, worry and the thought, “I’m too busy to get sick now!” It’s enough to make you sick on the spot.
But fear not, the grandmothers of Japan have a plethora of home remedies that’ll get you feeling better in no time. Some may be little more than old wives’ tales, but when you’re feeling under the weather, why not drink hot onion water or smear ginger on your forehead. It actually might be good for what ails you.
The following foods are said to cure anything from a headache to a sore throat:
Umeboshi (pickled plums)
Heat two or three umeboshi on low heat, making sure they don’t burn and add them to a cup of hot tea. Drinking the tea causes you to sweat, which is said to lower your temperature and make you get better faster.
Grilled spring onion
Cut off a good portion of the white part of a few spring onions. Grill on low heat, making sure it doesn’t burn. Wrap in gauze and press the bundle together. Unwrap and enjoy. It’s said that spring onions are good for blood circulation and reduces inflammation and not only cures a sore throat, but is good for a stuffy nose, too.
Don’t just go finding the nearest gingko tree and stripping it of its nuts. The little fruits are incredibly smelly and cause some people to have an allergic reaction, so be sure to use gloves if harvesting them yourself. But if you have easy access to gingko nuts, eating five or six of them is said to ease a cough and reduce phlegm.
Honey & daikon radish juice
Cutting daikon radishes and soaking it in honey for two to three days creates a juice that can be used as an effective cough suppressant.
Drinking a broth of grated lotus root, soy sauce, ginger, arrowroot and hot water is said to get rid of a cold fast.
Hot onion water
Grate a quarter of an onion and a small amount of ginger. Add the two to a cup of hot water with one tablespoon of honey. The mixture is said to be good for a stuffy nose.
To finish off the list of home remedies from Japan, here are two that seem a little odd:
Sniff an onion
For a temporary fix for a stuffy nose, grandmas in Japan suggest taking a big whiff of an onion. Just hold a cut onion near your nose and sniff repeatedly. It’s said to clear your sinuses and give you temporary relief from a stuffy nose.
Smear ginger and sesame oil on your head
To relieve a headache, little old ladies in Japan say to apply a paste of grated ginger and sesame oil to your forehead and temples.
We can’t say if these home remedies actually work, but that cute little granny around the corner sure thinks they do. If you’re feeling a cold coming on, give some of them a try and let us know if they made you feel any better. Maybe the real magic to these medicines is in the love and care of a kindly relative and not the actual ingredients that go into them.