Dwelling therapies to fight chilly and flu indications could be comforting, but they are not a heal

Flu instances are soaring — the most recent nationwide details shows instances tripling in just a fortnight — and now we have ticked more than to winter, it’s very likely we are going to see a spike in instances of the frequent cold much too. 

When confronted with chilly or flu signs or symptoms, a lot of of us have go-to residence remedies we insist make a distinction to the trajectory of our sickness. 

But while they may perhaps make us come to feel greater, authorities are quick to issue out that these so-called treatments don’t handle what is actually in fact building us unwell. 

Wanting back again at household solutions from last century

If you flip by way of the archives of Australian newspapers and journals, you may locate a host of strange and wacky tips for chilly treatment plans:

From The Australian Woman’s Mirror, September 29, 1925(The Australian Woman’s Mirror via Trove)
An old newspaper clipping advising people to put oil and nutmeg on brown paper and pin it to their chests to cure colds.
From the Australian Woman’s Mirror, October 11, 1927.(Australian Woman’s Mirror via Trove)
An old newspaper clipping advising that people should sing for four hours a day to ward off the common cold.
From the Australian Woman’s Mirror, Oct 25, 1932.( Australian Woman’s Mirror via Trove)

People clippings may perhaps be aged and yellowed, but their material is just not all that unique from the opinions in online conversations about non-professional medical “cures” for colds and the flu. 

And Royal Australian College or university of GPs president Karen Price suggests we’re correct to be sceptical of them. 

‘Comfort, not a cure’

“Alternative therapies and treatment plans for coughs and colds want to be viewed as with warning simply because there is frequently no scientific evidence base to aid them,” Dr Price explained.

Although some items may come to feel fantastic, they you should not truly do anything at all.

“Household treatments provide comfort and ease, not a overcome,” Dr Value suggests.

“Even though some men and women may well gain from the placebo outcome … the crucial concept is these treatment options do not heal, and folks shouldn’t count on them.”

And Dr Price’s sage information is also mirrored in a piece penned by “Le Medecin” in a 1926 version of the Australian Woman’s Mirror:

A cutting from a newspaper saying there's no cure for a cold, just to go to be for a day or two.
From the Australian Woman’s Mirror, November 23, 1926.(Australian Woman’s Mirror by means of Trove)

Below are a few property therapies and why they will never really cure your chilly.  

Vapor rub on toes

Quite a few men and women swear by smearing vapour rub on their ft and then sealing it in with socks.  

In a submit for the Mayo Clinic, general paediatrician Jay Hoecker writes that these topical ointments are all about the scent. 

Just one of the most prevalent vapour rubs has 3 active ingredients, each and every with very a robust odour:

  • camphor 
  • eucalyptus oil 
  • menthol 
An open jar of vapour rub nestled in the feet of someone wearing a navy blue and a maroon sock.
Medical practitioners say home therapies may well give individuals a bit of ease and comfort, but they never treatment the an infection or virus. (ABC Information: Dannielle Maguire)

Dr Hoecker suggests that menthol smell “may perhaps trick your mind, so you really feel like you happen to be respiratory by way of an unclogged nose”. 

Makers of Vicks VapoRub only recommend making use of it to the upper body and throat — but say almost nothing about the toes. 

The throat and chest are incredibly shut to the nose, but as your toes are further absent, you’re less possible to get the advantages from inhaling it. 

“Please don’t slather your ft with any remedy not built to go there, mainly because you’re just throwing away your dollars,” Dr Price mentioned. 

Gargling with salt h2o

Dr Value states it will not likely actually overcome the an infection, but it can alleviate a prevalent cold symptom. 

“If you have a sore throat, your GP may perhaps effectively suggest you to gargle with salt h2o, as this is known to support relieve the distress,” she reported.

A man tilts his head to the ceiling as he gargles water.
Salt water can soothe a sore throat, but it is not going to remedy the lead to of it. (Flickr: Steve Mileham)

Eating specific meals


The Cochrane Library, a leading independent human body that critiques scientific study, has looked into garlic and the common chilly. 

It stated there was “insufficient” scientific trial proof into the results of garlic on treating or preventing the common chilly.