Sweet Ways to Treat a Cold
Catching a cold is virtually mandatory during winter in Russia but it doesn’t have to be all bitter pills and fake cherry syrups. How about some traditional (even if unscientific) remedies that have long become part of the local culture? The best part - they’re sweet!
Honey everything. This is an easy one - honey is a popular cold remedy around the world, but here in Russia its medicinal qualities are amplified by all sorts of additions, including grated ginger and lemon, grated onions, and aloe vera juice. People eat it by the spoonful or add it to teas, warm water or milk. The trick here is not to add it to boiling hot liquids “to maximize the effect” because high temperatures supposedly kill its magic.
My favorite use of it is a black radish syrup. You cut the top off the radish (available in the vegetable sections of most grocery stores), hollow out most of the insides, replace them with honey and put the top back on. Let it sit for a day and enjoy homemade syrup by the spoonful.
Tea with raspberry jam. Some people keep a jar of homemade raspberry preserves in the depths of their fridge just for this purpose. You make a cup of black tea, add as much raspberry jam as you can without “having your buns stick together,” put on a pair of woolen socks and climb in bed. It’s your passport to watching TV guilt-free for the next week. Or some might say its purpose is to help you sweat in your sleep and wake up healthy and happy.
Burnt sugar. This recipe goes back to when we were kids and there were no lollipops available at every cash register. Moms would melt sugar in a heavy iron pan and just as it turns to dark, rich caramel, would pour it onto a plate covered with oil. “Burnt” sugar would quickly solidify into yummy wafers and kids would suck on them to help ease the cough.
Gogol Mogol. The popularity of this concoction goes back to when my mom was a kid, and there were even fewer lollipops available. The recipe calls for a cup of warm milk, one egg, a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of honey, all mixed together. To me it sounds like it would make a nice omelette but many swear by its sore throat soothing effect. I object to drinking raw eggs because they can carry salmonella and I’m not sure I’d rather have a violent stomach age than a cough so I just do warm milk with butter and honey.
Feel like going all natural in treating your cold? Here are some other traditional ways to treat a cold in Russia. Keep in mind that the contents of this story are provided for educational purposes only and not intended to serve as medical advice. There is no known cure for a cold. In case of sickness, please contact your local doctor.