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5 Old-School Home Remedies I Use to Cure Colds & More

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When I was a hija, my frequent colds were treated with trusted, home remedies that have survived the test of time — natural remedies that had been passed down from generation to generation in my family. In fact, I use them on my own kids. Try ’em out in your household:

1. Vicks Vapor Rub to cure coughing
Vicks is so revered as a homeopathic cure that it’s called vaporu in some Hispanic households. I had persistent bronchitis as a child. To help ease my symptoms, my grandmother would warm Vicks under a lighter, rub the ointment on my chest, and then cover it with a newspaper. Why a newspaper? I haven’t a clue, but I remember that I’d sleep better once she was finished, even though the newspaper made noise every time I turned over in bed; the stuff helped me breathe better and cough less. (I use a warm towel for my kids, instead of a newspaper.) Another trick? Dissolve Vicks in hot water and let your hijo inhale the vapors. 

2. Honey and lemon for sore throats
Try mixing hot tea with honey and lemon to ease your hija‘s sore throat before bedtime. If you have a bad cough, add a splash of Caribbean rum to the tea mixture for a natural cough suppressant. 

3. Manzanilla to combat stomach aches (and more)
This herb is often boiled in hot water and then served with a drizzle of honey. Manzanilla (aka Chamomile) is believed to cure tummy aches, as well as ease sinus congestion.

4. Homemade soup for the soul
Traditional Cuban soup or your grandmother chicken broth (un caldito) always eases the mind, body, and soul. It’s truly magic because it’s home cooked with love.Try this recipe for traditional Cuban-style Sopa de Pollo.

5. Agua de Florida for a fever
Putting a few drops of this cologne over your hijo‘s head when he has a fever is believed to have a cooling and refreshing effect, and most Peruavians (and other Hispanics) swear by it. 

Photo: Getty