4 Jewish home remedies for the common cold

So? How’s by you?

Have you been sick yet?

It’s winter. It’s inevitable. Viruses LOOOOOOOOVE when the temp drops and we crank up the dry heat, and all that “gathering ’round the table” we do oh so well during Hanukkah (and Solstice and Christmas and New Years) provides ample opportunity for viruses to go fourth and multiply.


Luckily, we’ve got some tried and true Jewish home remedies for the common cold that have been passed down from generation to generation.

1. First, let’s state the obvious Jewish home remedy: Chicken soup, AKA Jewish Penicillin. My Gramma, may she be of blessed memory, used to say chicken soup could cure everything from a bad cold to a broken heart.  And actually, there may even be some science behind it: Chicken soup has anti-inflamatory and healing properties that can make you feel better quicker.

Check out Joy of Kosher for a great recipe for chicken soup.

Or watch this great demo from

2. Raw onion and… honey?

Jewish home remedies for the common cold

WTF. Seriously, this smells vile, but it actually passes a totally scientific taste test: (i.e., my four and five year old really LOVE it and ASK for it even when they aren’t sick.) All you have to do is cover half an onion with honey. Let the honey leach out the water from the onion (usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour) and drink. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

3. Meanwhile, the guy at the shuk swears that you should eat whole cloves of garlic. Marinated in garlic. Sauteed in… garlic.

And my neighbor says that eating a can of tuna with an entire head of garlic will also do the trick. (Sure, it might lessen your cold symptoms, but you’ll probably end up puking your guts out.)

Photo by Phyllis Sommer
Photo by Phyllis Sommer

But seriously, there are a lot of reasons why eating a ton of garlic may be a good idea: 1. Garlic is known for its anti-bacterial properties. 2. It keeps vampires away. 3. Hell, it keeps everyone away, so you’ll be less likely to pass on whatever bug you’re fighting.

4. Guggle muggle. Or Kogl Mogl. Or Gogle Mogle. Or Gygl Mygl.*SlamsHeadOnDesk*

5 Jewish home remedies for the common cold

Ever hear the expression “two Jews, three opinions?” Now imagine finding one uniform spelling for this Eastern European Jewish drink. Or a consistent list of ingredients. Basically, this is like the Jewish version of eggnog, and includes  egg yolk, sugar, milk… and alcohol. Like chicken soup, it’s kind of a cure-all, and loyalists swear by its healing properties.

Check out Kveller for a great recipe.

So, next time you start feeling punk, try these remedies and may you be healthy!

** By Sarah Tuttle-Singer  — special thanks to David Goldberg and Phyllis Sommer. 

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