You’ve been sick for days. Your tissue supply is quickly dwindling and every time you message someone for notes you feel like more of a burden. Although you’re sticking to a regimen of cold medicine and orange juice, you still can’t breathe and you’re willing to try anything. Before you dive too deep into the wormhole of cheap remedies from the internet, read up on Pipe Dream’s top choices.
Gargling salt water
Good news: Your grandmother was on to something every time she told you to do this. According to a 2010 article in The New York Times, gargling salt water can not only lower inflammation in the throat, but it can also loosen thick mucus, which can be a home to allergens, bacteria and fungi. For best results, dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle for a few seconds and then spit out.
Sleeping with a potato in your sock
This remedy went viral when Facebook user and mom Debbie Vigan posted about putting sliced potatoes into her baby’s sock. According to the post, which now has over 300,000 shares, after Vaughn’s son spent the night with potatoes in his sock, his cold was gone. Many users have speculated that the potato draws out toxins, but according to blogger Jordyn Smith of CafeMom, there is no scientific evidence that this remedy works. Still, pediatrician Dr. Jarret Patton told CafeMom that testing the method won’t hurt. He said that if it’s working for people, they should keep doing it, but if it doesn’t work, they shouldn’t feel discouraged.
Vitamin C supplements
If you’ve spent this cold and flu season downing Emergen-C and Airborne, you might not have noticed results unless you were actually sick. According to WebMD, taking vitamin C isn’t helpful in preventing the common cold, but the National Institutes of Health suggests that regularly taking vitamin C supplements might shorten the duration of the common cold and make your symptoms less severe. You have to start now, though — if you only start taking vitamin C after you get sick, it won’t have the same benefit.
Ginger is a go-to remedy for stomach ailments, but it can also help keep you warm when you’re shivering from the cold or flu. Ginger is a diaphoretic, meaning it promotes sweating, so it works to warm your body from within, according to Medical News Today. To make ginger tea at home, allow 20 to 40 grams of fresh ginger to steep in hot water for a few minutes. For more flavor, you can add lemon or honey.
Due to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, honey has long been championed as a remedy for a sore throat. A 2012 study also found that honey helps to suppress coughing. In the study, children between one and five years old who had upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime, and parents reported that the honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep.