5 strange cold remedies you’ve never heard of

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  • When a cold hits all you really want to know is how to shift it, fast.

    Once you’ve tried all the usual lotions and potions, these¬†natural cold remedies,¬†hankering for a quick fix can become overwhelming (well, if you’re anything like us).

    And because – as the saying goes – mum knows best, we’ve rounded up some pretty unusual tips and tricks from women in the know. Think less Strepsils more cold, wet socks. Yes, really…

    See all the slightly off-piste ideas below.

    Put Vicks on your feet

    We’ve all heard of Vicks for curing a chesty cough, so far nothing new. But what about swapping it as a chest rub for smothering your feet in the balm?

    This unusual method has been growing a rather steady following of converts through social media and online forums in recent months. Once your feet are covered in the pungent stuff, you simply pop a pair of socks on, head for bed and hope for the best.

    Writing on Netmums’ forum, ‘Clare C’ said: ‘I saw this tip on Facebook a couple of months ago and tried it when baby had a bad cough. Was amazed it worked – think I can say it is one of the BEST tips I’ve ever read!!’

    With a woman called Julie adding: ‘Yes have done this…it really does work. I put some on my feet last night as I have a cough and had a great night’s sleep.’

    Fellow Netmum user Hodan agrees, writing: ‘It is actually amazing!’


    Many mums swear by blasting a cold with a good dose of chilli, and there might actually be some truth in it. Hot chili peppers contain capsaicin, the element that makes them spicy. This acts as a decongestant to help clear a stuffy nose.

    This obviously isn’t one for children but if you’re a curry lover it could be just the kind of cure you’re looking for.

    Wet socks

    This doesn’t sound all that pleasant but has plenty of backers. In a rather, err, unique take on a cold remedy this requires you to put on a pair of cold, wet, cotton socks before layering a pair of natural wool socks on top. Then you hop into bed and let the wet socks do their thing apparently.

    Naturopathic Doctor Katie Corazzo swears by the treatment. Writing for mindbodygreen she says:

    ‘While dreaming sweet dreams, your feet will be doing all the work. The vessels in your feet will constrict as your feet cool down, which sends all the good nutrients into your organs and tissues.

    ‘These nutrients are needed to fight off infections and stimulate healing.’

    Salt gargle

    Ah, the old salt gargle. You may have heard of this before – like when your mother was trying to pour a saline solution down your throat – but you’ve probably tried to wipe the awful thought from your memory.

    The thing is, no matter how unpleasant it sounds, it could actually help stave a sore throat. Stranger things have happened. The Mayo clinic, along with others, have attested to the fact that gargling a little salt water could be beneficial for loosening mucus and reducing swelling.

    Typically a teaspoon of salt in a cupful of water is considered the optimum quantities. Then a quick gargle, holding the liquid in your throat, is all that’s required.

    Commenting in a Life Hacker forum, user and salt-gargle-fan Kevin Purdey says: ‘My mum and I have fought over this for years especially when I [left home] and got sick…

    ‘…but I had to finally admit that it really does work, and pretty quickly too. If you feel a sore throat coming on do this a few times a day for a few days and you can sometimes fore go the entire thing.’

    Didn’t we tell you mum knows best? And we don’t doubt Kevin, so…

    Steam your face

    There’s something oddly comforting about this one, even though it’s a bit of a curve ball.

    All you have to do is add boiling water to a bowl and rest your head above it, so the steam goes all over your face. Covering your head and the bowl with a towel will create a mini steamy sauna and will help get the maximum benefit from this little trick.

    Some people like to add fragrant oils like eucalyptus or peppermint too, for added oomph.

    Have you heard any other strange cough or cold cures? We’d love to know! Leave us a comment below.