Homemade Food Remedies for Colds and Flu

Feed A Cold, Starve A Fever

The following is not intended to be medical advice. It is written solely for the entertainment of our readers. If you require medical advice, see your doctor

It seems that nearly all of our Texas Cooking friends got a big box of virus from Santa this year, with Yours Truly being no exception. Stuffy head, wheezy lungs, headache and a general feeling of doom highlighted the holidays. A suggestion from a friend inspired this piece, as the very thought of food didn't set well with my queasy stomach. So here we have a number of traditional cures for colds, fevers and whatever else may plague your house.

The number one universal fix-it-all for colds, flu and fever is Chicken Soup. Science has decided there is merit in Chicken Soup after all as a treatment for respiratory disorders. I think the fact that someone cares enough about you to make you soup does more for the cure than any ingredients contained therein.

Therapeutic Chicken Soup

In a large stew pot, cover a disjointed young chicken with one or two inches of water. Add, one cup each, chopped onion and chopped celery, about a teaspoon of black pepper, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until very tender.

Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Strain the broth and return it to pot. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove all the bones, skin and other objectionable materials. Dice one half of the breast meat and the meat from one thigh and add to two cups of reserved broth. Warm to a simmer and serve to patient. Serve the patient only about one half cup of the soup at a time allowing at least thirty minutes between servings.

The next day when the patient is feeling stronger, you can add about a cup each of diced potatoes and diced carrots to the broth and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Then add more of the cooked chicken to make a more substantial soup. Members of the family not suffering from the virus will benefit from servings of the second-day soup as a preventative measure.

(See also Cheryl Hill-Burrier's article on stone soup recipes, which is about homemade soup remedies.

Catarrh Cure

Catarrh was once a universal term for any inflammation of a mucus membrane, especially of the respiratory tract, causing excessive secretions. My Grandmother Raven recorded her recipe for catarrh cure along with the cost of ingredients in the back of her cookbook.

1-qt. Alcohol
29 cents
1-oz. Oil of lavender
35 cents
1-oz. Oil of peppermint
75 cents
1-oz. Oil of organmum
50 cents
1-oz. Oil of sassafras
25 cents
1-oz. Oil of cloves
35 cents
1-oz. Oil of hemlock
25 cents
2-oz Chloroform
25 cents

Dilute and use as desired.

Cure for chills and fever (c.)

Boil peach tree leaves to make tea for chills and fever. If you don't have peach tree leaves, button willow roots boiled low will substitute.

Onion Cures and treatments

The pioneers found onions to be quite helpful in treating a variety of ailments.

  • Onion gruel for colds:   >Slice down a few onions and boil them in a pint of new milk, stir in a sprinkle of oatmeal and a very little salt, boil until the onions are quite tender, then sup rapidly and go to bed.
  • Sliced, roasted onions bound on the feet are useful for breaking up a cold or fever.
  • Sliced, raw onions placed in rooms where there are fever or smallpox patients and changed every few hours will absorb much of the poison. Burn the onions immediately.
  • Onions mashed fine and applied at once to snakebite will draw the poison from the wound. The onions should be raw in this case and removed at short intervals. The poison will show green on the onion.

Cough treatments

  • Mix 3 parts warm water, 1 part honey and 1 part apple cider vinegar. Sip.

  • Cover 1 lemon with water and boil slowly ten minutes. Extract the juice and put in pint jar. Add 2 tablespoons glycerin stir well, finish filling jar with honey. Shake well before using. Use as needed as often as every three hours.

  • 1 part honey; 1 part raw linseed oil; 1 part 100 proof whiskey. Take every two hours by taking in mouth and letting trickle down throat.

  • Dissolve 4 sticks of horehound candy in a pint of whiskey. Take a couple of spoonfuls a day. Also good for TB.

    Croup Treatment

    "Hold baby over the smoke until
    he breathes it deeply.
    This will loosen him up."

      For a baby, pour a mixture of turpentine and white whiskey in a saucer and set it afire. Hold baby over the smoke until he breathes it deeply. This will loosen him up.

    As I said in the beginning, this is just for your entertainment. Don't try any of the above without the consent of your doctor.

    Raven's own home treatment for the winter blahs is to drink all the orange juice he can afford and keep warm and dry.

    Everyone get healed up. We are only a couple of weeks away from Spring Cooking, Texas Style.