-- Feeling feverish, achey, and just generally flu-like? Quick, grab your gun and kill a deer!
Okay, fine, just lie in bed with a hot water bottle and a jar of Vick’s Vapo-Rub, but know that in some cultures, alleviating cold and flu symptoms goes beyond the pharmacy aisle of your local grocery story and into some pretty amazing territory. For example, in many cultures, deer antler velvet is key for treating a whole host of symptoms. Who would have thought?
Sometimes, ancient holistic treatments veer into some pretty off-the-beaten path territory. For example, Dr. Doug Cutler of Cutler Integrative Medicine in Bingham Farms, Mich., recommends the “wet sock treatment” for congestion, throat, and neck pain. To try it, warm your feet in a bath for 5-10 minutes then slip on a pair of socks that have been soaked in ice cold water. Layer those cold socks with a second pair of warm wool socks, and hop into bed (yes, wet socks and all).
“The dry wool socks provide insulation against the air to prevent drying or warming of the cold, wet socks,” Dr. Cutlet says. “Your body then has to work harder to both warm and dry your feet. As the body warms, your cold feet, more circulation is directed to the lower extremities, and as a result, your whole body receives more circulation and decreased congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat.”
But not all home remedies involve harvesting a deer or icing your feet; others sound downright delicious. Dr. Daniel N. Hsu, an accredited New York acupuncture and Oriental medicine specialist who has appeared on both the Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz shows, recommends ginger cinnamon tea for cold and flu. The cinnamon helps relieve headaches and can stabilize blood sugar while the ginger soothes upset stomachs and has anti-inflammatory properties, Dr. Hsu says.
No matter where you call home, cold and flu season is miserable, Cultures around the world have customs and rituals surrounding a speedy recovery. Scroll through to see how the rest of the world feels better.
And tell us your trick for bouncing back from cold and flu in the comments below!
Deer Antler Velvet
In ancient Chinese medicine, the deer antler is known as one of the “kingly” herbs, or those most recognized as having extraordinary medicinal value. Velvet from the tip of the antler is believed to be most effective at treating influenza.
In Hong Kong, dried lizard soup boiled with dates and yams is popular cure for the common cold. Eating lizards is also thought to be beneficial for the heart and lungs.
Emily Alford is a special contributor to The Daily Meal.