Cough Cough Hack Wheeze

I’m trying vigilantly to write up the epic trip report for the last two weeks of travel, but this cold keeps conspiring to get in my way. It has largely segued from “I think there’s a fist in my throat” to “It feels like I just swallowed a broken Coke bottle” to “IT LIVES IN MY FACE” to, at present, “I am coughing up lung goblins, and those lung goblins are building an army with which to destroy me.”

This makes sleeping really fun.

All that hacking. All the rumble-tumble of goblin drums.

It was a Friday night and I didn’t get to sleep until 4:30 in the morning. Awesome.

So, while I continue pecking away at this trip report, let us ponder (drum roll please) the cold remedy.

Everybody’s got one. Everybody has their own personal alchemical recipe that turns leaden phlegm into golden light. Some people have their own recipe for OTC meds (my current medication situation stands at: mint Cold-Eeze, Neti pot parties, Mucinex, Advil). But you also get people who have their own folksy remedies (“Reduce a pan of root beer and deer urine down to a thick syrup, then rub that sweet homemade sap onto your bare chest and upper lip, then wrap yourself in a roll of tinfoil and sleep under the full moon. That’s how you become a werewolf. I mean, cure a cold”).

So, I turn to you, my buzzing hive-mind.

Cold remedies.

Weirdest you’ve ever heard or tried?

Best? Worst?

What’s your go-to solution for kicking a cold out of your body?


  • My friend swears by her Hot Buttered Rum recipe to get rid of a cold:

    1 stick of butter
    1/2 C Brown Sugar
    2 C boiling water
    1/2 C Spiced Rum
    2 tsp Apple Pie Spice

    1. Boil the water, take the pan off the heat.
    2. Add the butter and sugar, stir until the butter is melted.
    3. Add the spices, stir some more.
    4. Add the rum.
    5. Ladle into cups.

    And, y’know, it’s good for when you don’t have a cold. Or for Tuesdays, and other days that end in Y.

  • I take Sambuccol. It’s available at Walgreen’s and other drug stores.

    You have to understand that before I discovered Sambuccol, I got every cold, virus, goblin or gremlin that was going around and held onto it for weeks. Now, I start taking it at first sign of any symptoms (along with Airborne & double my normal multivitamin) and I’m symptom free within 1-3 days. It’s never to late to start taking it and it works much better and faster than zinc (cold-eze). It’s made of black Sambucca and it’s my miracle cure.

    Seriously, try it.

  • I agree with Darren G. Miller, Zinc and Vitamin C shorten the life of the cold and booze makes you feel better about it. Fluids, fluids, sleep and more sleep help tons too. The craziest thing I ever saw was a room-mate of mine who mixed Vaseline with maple syrup and ate it with a spoon out of the jar. Great thing about that cure was it kept us healthier because we all stayed away from him after we saw that. Best of luck! Get well soon!

  • October 30, 2010 at 12:17 PM // Reply

    I dope up on Sudafed and hot tea with lemon, honey and a big slug of Bushmills. Really more the other way around. Hell, just heat up the Bushmills and wave a lemon over it.

    Oh, and lots of daytime television. Lifetime movies, The View, Ellen. After a couple hours of that your body will realize you’re not fucking around and if it wants any hope of surviving it better rally the troops and kick those white blood cells into high gear but fast.

  • Here is the cauldron concoction I recommend:

    For your cough – Juice of half a lemon in a mug. Fill with boiling water. To it add as much cayenne as you can tolerate (1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon) and honey to sweeten. Sip slowly. The capsascin (sp?) in the cayenne will actually help heal sore throat, and loosen phlegm. Lemon is a natural anti-viral. Drink this a couple times a day it should help and soothe. But if you don’t normally eat spicy things, then just start with a small pinch of cayenne and work yourself up. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for exploding the crown off the head of a successful author. Also your “tweets” make me snicker.

  • OK so here it is. And believe me it WORKS.

    Heat up one cup of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (if you don’t have this, you can use bottled or you can use lemon juice and add more honey, but fresh grapefruit is the best)

    Add: 1-4 (yes, FOUR) crushed cloves of garlic
    1 – 3 tsp honey
    A good sprinkling of hot cayenne pepper.

    Don’t boil.
    Drink while hot.
    Drink several cups and if your cold doesn’t go away at least any unwanted friends or family might.

  • What you need is a Phlegm Buster — get some NyQuil, the original, nasty, quasi-licorice tasting green stuff. Pour a full measure of that. Then pour an equal measure of bourbon. Slam the NyQuil, slam the bourbon. Have another shot of bourbon. Repeat bourbon as necessary. I don’t know if it actually assists with the healing process or even really alleviates the symptoms much, but it does decrease the amount of time during which you are actually AWARE of your discomfort. Think of it as a Berklian remedy. If to be is to be perceived, then if you ain’t perceiving, the cold ceases to exist.

  • Sliced garlic, sauteed in olive oil, spread on toast.

    Oregano oil (I recommend capsule form, as the liquid drops make me gag)

    Don a velour track suit and wrap yourself in a heavy blanket. Lay in front of the fireplace or the warmest window in your house.


    Keep notepad at hand to record the inevitable bizarre fever dreams.

    Hope you feel better soon, Chuck.

  • Mince mountains of fresh garlic, mix them with local honey into a paste, add some minced up fresh sage leaves if you like, and eat with a teaspoon several times a day.

    Hot pepper. As much as you can stand. One easy way is to squirt sriracha into a cup of hot chicken broth.

    Keep a bottle of cheaper scotch in the house for sick days. Brew strong tea. Add honey and lemon juice. Add scotch until the aroma kicks you backwards. Drink.

    Right now I am boiling a pot of water on the stove with eucalyptus oil poured in and will be sticking my head over it shortly.

    OW my effing sinuses hurt. When I pinch the bridge of my nose hard and long enough I’m getting *some* drainage.

  • Best I’ve come across is one table spoon of Cider Apple vinegar and one table spoon of honey mixed into a pint of boiling water. It’s great for catarrh, coughs, snot and generally gooey mucous products. Good for alienating family too, since it doesn’t taste all that good..

  • have yet to discover something that cures a cold, but if you are really congested and your throat hurts, jasmine tea with honey really helps. I’ve been known to down three cups of tea so I can go sing.

  • I use NyQuil and DayQuil gel caps when I absolutely have to take something. I suck down Vit C like it’s going out of style. I smoke a teeny bit more, to encourage hacking up lung-butter. Warm vinegar washes to unclog my nose and ears (when they get infected) And when I need my sinuses cleared out quick, I reach way back in the darkest places in my medicine cabinet and bring forth the Ancient and Fearsome Bottle of Buckley’s. (“It tastes awful, but it works!”) It’s like sucking down a little piece of hell. Eye-popping, throat-searing, almost-want-to-throw-up OMFG-I’M-AWAKE hell. But it works.

    Unfortunately, right now I can’t take the NyQuil I have in the house, because of another drug I’m temporarily taking, which is a moderately-severe-pain painkiller. So I’m dying with a runny nose, tickly throat, and stuffy nose, even though the NyQuil is right. there. I’m eying the Buckley’s more and more with every passing minute.

  • Here’s what I do to kill colds before they kill me.

    Step one, or “Hmm. I have a tickle in my throat. Frak.”

    Hot and Sour Soup. Find the corner Chinese take out which has the hottest and keep it on your phone like your doctor’s number. Will sear out both nose and throat (and gut, since that’s where the cold chills out) and the syrupiness of the soup coats as it kills.

    Step two or “The soup didn’t work ‘Sell the car, sell the house, sell the kids, I’m not coming home!'”

    You like whisky? Fine. I prefer vodka, since it smells like disinfectant. But that’s what we seek in step two. You must infuse your system with antiseptic (IE strong booze) and ginger ale, because everybody knows that’s what one drinks when one is ill. Also, another point for vodka: It’s a clear liquid, just like the doc recommends. He can’t say vodka because of the cops, but that’s what he means.

    It will heal you.


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