It is said that home remedies are universal. Some say that our grand-grandparents shared the same home remedies, no matter the culture they belonged to. But this may not be true. It’s not about culture, but about what nature has to offer. The continents are different so nature is different too. So let’s see those differences.
In Japan, people with flu are drinking tamagozake (egg and sake) before going to bed to keep the boy warm and to help them in the early stage of a cold. Other home remedies for cold symptoms: grilled umeboshi (pickled plum) until it’s burnt, pour very hot green tea over it, then drink to reduce fever; mix 2 tsp of grated ginger and 2 tsp of sugar in a cup, and pour 2/3 cup of hot water in the cup (use fresh ginger root to make shogayu) to clear up a stuffed nose.
In North America, the Native Americans, the Menominees used the inner bark from native hemlock as a cure for influenza. They would also boil it and drink it like a tea. It is said to help by making you sweat and relieving the fever and chills. The Delaware Indians boiled the inner bark of Dogwood to make their fever-reducing tea. Also used in the same way by various tribes are the Willow and the Feverwort. Some used the bark, some the root, and some used the leaves to make the tea. Also known to treat flu symptoms are Rabbit Tobacco, Sage, and Wild Cherry.
The Scots were seamen and used for colds and flu Hot Rum and Pep (rum and peppermint) , drinking nettle tea and going for a walk to get sea air. Not mountain air, not any kind of air but sea air.
In South America, the ancient Maya, Aztec, and Inca cultures each developed sophisticated uses for medicinal plants before the Spanish Conquest in the early part of the sixteenth century. Now, the most used cure for stuffy nose is taking regular whiffs of a sachet containing a pungent mix of crushed garlic, broken bay leaves and coarsely ground nutmeg. They seem to believe that stinky things clear the nostrils.
In South Africa, natives used grind fresh garlic and in soups to create a cold tonic, they inhale a mixture of turmeric and boiled water to clear up nasal congestion, and for coughs they administer a potent cough syrup of half black pepper and half honey.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends the herb astragalus by tincture, pill or even injection to boost the immune system and reduce cold symptoms. Pak fah yeou, which literally translates as “White Flower Oil”, composed of wintergreen, camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint oils, is used to rub backs and chests to relieve chest congestion and cough and under noses to relieve stuffiness.
People from Serbia used to make a hot caramel drink to relieve cough and bronchitis and Serbian tea (slowly melt two to three teaspoons of sugar; add a few drops of water, a cup of plum brandy) to treat the common cold and chills.