Mum’s cold & flu remedy

I am fending off the flu and have fortunately had my mum here looking after me for the last couple of days. I say ‘fortunately’, but I am sweating pure garlic as a result. You see, mum swears by garlic — truckloads of raw garlic — to kill off the dreaded lurgy.

This was yesterday’s brunch, courtesy of my loving mum:

its innocent appearance belies its dark secret...millions of garlic slices concealed within...

Brunch comprised a garlic, tomato and parsley sandwich, accompanied by a Thermomixed salad of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, parsley, garlic and cashew nut mayonnaise [= cashews + water + lemon juice + salt]. Surprisingly delicious, even if the garlic was a little burny on the throat 🙂

Googling “garlic cold remedy” today revealed 66,800 search results, which goes to show that there is plenty of support for mum’s cold & flu cure.

A less offensive fix I have always stood by is the old faithful honey & lemon in boiled water, which is also a good way to keep your fluids up when your body needs them the most. Taking vitamin C and/or zinc (in fruit/veg or tablet form) combats symptoms and boosts immunity; ginger and chilli are also helpful when you’re fighting fever.

When I had the flu a couple of years ago, a project team member shared their failsafe method for kicking a cold or flu: pour a standard glass of wine and top it up — all the way to the top of the glass — with brandy. I didn’t try it, mostly because of the obvious holes in this method:

  1. Size of glass? Wine glasses can vary considerably in size. I used to own 750mL wine glasses…;
  2. Size of person? The team member who shared this information was male and considerably larger than I; and
  3. How was it supposed to work? Was it supposed to knock me out, or just get the germs drunk? Prior reading about alcohol tells me that it destroys vitamins B & C in your body and causes dehydration…

I am thinking that an infusion of garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon and honey will work best for me. In fact, I am off to try it now — via tom yum gai, which pretty much embodies these elements [just substitute lime for lemon, palm sugar for honey].

As always, I am keen to hear from you: What cold & flu remedies have worked for you? What ‘cures’ have you heard about but are just not game enough to try?



  1. I feel for you, as I got the flu a few weeks ago and am still not quite right (despite also having eaten enough garlic to make socialising difficult).

    My mum always tells me when I'm sick to put Vicks on my feet and then some nice thick socks. When I was little I would do it without question, but I haven't done it for years now. Can't quite figure out how it's meant to do anything…?


  2. Thanks for your comment, Conor! I am not even contemplating socialisation at this stage.

    Re the Vicks on feet: a wee bit of googling tells me that there is not much medical evidence for it – but many parents still swear by it. I will certainly give it a go next time my little one has a cold and report back. [As a side note, Vicks-on-feet will make your feet softer and may possibly be a cure for tinea!]

    H 🙂


  3. I'm glad to know it wasn't just some crackpot idea of my Mum's! I wonder where the original idea came from, or if mums all over the world independently came up with it.

    That thermomix salad looks delicious. I wish I had my Mum to look after me in my hour of need! My housemate was even interstate so I only had Dr Phil and Judge Judy to console me (and they don't bring you cups of tea).


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