Many cultures have folk remedies that have been passed down through history. In Russia, common foods are used to help battle tough colds, stuffy noses, and even the chills.
In Russia, raw garlic isn’t just used for eating or cooking.
Russians will chop up raw garlic and leave it on a table so that the whole room fills with the strong odor.
Garlic therapy, as the Russians call it, is a common practice even today. If you visit a Russian family during a flu outbreak or if a member of the family has caught a cold, you’re almost sure to smell the strong and cleansing odor of raw garlic.
Parents of school children have even been known to place small pieces of raw garlic in their kid’s pockets as they head out of the house.
Hot Milk With Honey
You might have had a problem similar to mine during grade school. Remember when you had trouble falling asleep and suddenly started to panic, fearing that you might never get to sleep again? I had those feelings all the time while growing up and it really stressed me out.
To help ease my nerves, my dad would heat up milk on the stove and put a little bit of honey in it. It smelled good, tasted good, and made me think that if I thought relaxing thoughts I might just be able to get to sleep before the sun came up.
Russians though put a little bit of a twist on the hot milk and honey method. They add butter to the mixture. And instead of helping you go to sleep sooner, the hot milk, butter, and honey is meant to keep you healthy and fight colds.
Yelena at Russian Language Blog mentions that some Russians put baking soda in their warm milk!
Aloe and Beet Root
Beet roots are a staple of Russian cooking. You’ll find them as a main ingredient in many dishes, including in a popular soup called borshch.
But in addition to their use as a main ingredient, beet roots can be used in a Russian folk remedy for a stuffed up nose.
Hardcore Russians will grind up and juice beet roots, onions, and aloe vera to produce their own homemade nose drops.
These drops are supposed to help unplug stuffy noses and relieve the soreness and itching that often accompanies a nasty head cold.
Nasal sprays with aloe vera as an ingredient are found in the United States, but in a much nicer looking package – and without the beetroot and onion.
Hot Water and Dry Mustard
If you’re Russian and you have a cold with chills, you’ll use hot water with some dry mustard mixed in to warm your feet.
But this is no ordinary foot bath – the water is supposed to come up to the knees. After soaking your legs, you should go directly to bed, put on heavy socks, and stay warm under a thick blanket. Be careful if you’re also got a fever because you might quickly overheat.
The dry mustard that’s mixed into the water serves an important purpose. Dry mustard is actually used in medicine to cause a sudden rush of blood to the skin, helping to warm patients that are too cold. The dry mustard may even be applied to sheets of paper, called gorchichniki, that are dampened and placed onto the back or shoulders. Using this mustard flour in the foot bath serves much the same purpose as in the gorchichniki.
Over to You
Will you be trying any of these Russian folk remedies the next time you catch a cold or have the chills? What’s the most interesting folk remedy that’s brought you some relief from colds, chills, and a stuffy nose?