We’ve all been there. I was there earlier this month. Whenever sudden symptoms crop up, we rush to the internet and research them. 99.9% of the time, it tells us we have some rare form of cancer when in actuality, it’s a cold. Next, we look up “easy ways to get over a cold” or “quick cold remedies.” I get a rhino in the room every year it seems, so I think I’ve got my routine down pat, but what about you?
We all know that someone somewhere has got some whacky home cure to give you. You’re also probably feeling just bad enough that you’re willing to try it. In my case, I’ve gargled apple cider vinegar, drank a rancid lime and garlic tea, and have even taken shots of honey and lemon juice with a dash of pepper.
Crazy, right? But what does Japan have to offer?
First, the internet said (pages linked are in Japanese):
(Source #1): Dr. Mako
- Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep
- Do a sinus rinse
- Drink an herbal tea
- Try some Chinese medicine
- Gargle salt water
- Don’t go nuts with OTC drugs
- Suck on some throat drops
- Take care of your gut with probiotics
- For example, yogurt, kimchi, miso, etc. (A.K.A fermented foods)
(Source #2): Meiji Food Co.
- Get some good rest
- If you snore or can’t breathe, use a breathing strip so your sleep isn’t interrupted
- Relax and quiet your body
- Eat nutritious foods (high in vitamins, minerals, and protein)
- Specifically easy to eat foods, like yogurt, fruit slices, and Jello, if your throat is hurting
- Suggested Meal #1: Hot pot
- Recommended because the nutrients from the vegetables and meat bleed into the broth. Eating hot pot ensures you’re getting all of it and not just some of it
- Suggested Meal #2: Miso (instant or otherwise)
- Recommended because it’s chalk-full of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals
- Suggested Meal #3: Rice porridge
- Recommended because it’s easy to swallow and is hot, helping you get some water (especially if you’ve got a fever)
- Drink water along with a sports drink to get electrolytes
- Get some good rest
I went around and asked some of my friends and acquaintances, seeing if they could provide any novel advice. Here’s what they said:
- Drink sports drinks
- Sleep… a lot
- Drink Kakkonto*
- Drink Yunker**
- Gargle with green tea***
- Soak a long time in a hot bath
- Drink water
- Encourage sweating through hot foods like spicy curry with lots of garlic
- Drink warm milk and honey
- Eat vegetable soup with grated daikon root drizzled with ponzu
Basically… it’s all common sense.
As for my personal methods, I pound back black tea with lemon and honey, use my NetiPot religiously, gargle salt water whenever my throat starts feeling thick and sore, swallow way too much cold medicine, and take A LOT of hot baths. A phone call to the family telling them how miserable I am always seems to help, too.
What do you do when you get sick? Bye for now.
*Kakkonto contains the following: (1) puerira root – improves antioxidant function, among other things, (2) ephedra herb – treats membrane inflammation, (3) jujube – packed with minerals and vitamins, it is used to relax the body, (4) cinnamon bark – a Chinese medicinal serve-all, (5) peony root – another medicinal favorite, this helps with inflammation and spasms, (6) glycyrrhiza (aka licorice) – acts as a biological adhesive helping other medicinal components get through the body more efficiently… plus it adds flavor for an unpalatable medicine!
**This English website provides drop-down boxes explaining what the herbs they use do. It’s very convenient.
***Rumor has it is that this is something only people in Shizuoka may do.