Food & Drink

Drinking A Little Whiskey Might Actually Help Relieve Cold Symptoms

"Whisky is liquid sunshine.” -- George Bernard Shaw
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There's no real cure for the common cold, but a little bit of whiskey or bourbon (that's a little bit, we said) could offer some relief.

The classic hot toddy, typically made of whiskey, honey, lemon juice and hot water, can subdue the injustices of your inevitable winter cold. The hot water of the toddy helps to relieve nasal congestion, just like heat of a bowl of chicken noodle soup (or Jewish penicillin) does.

And the whiskey helps with sniffle issues, too. “The alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, and that makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection,” Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News.

Before you go ordering a half-dozen Manhattans from the local pub, know that too much alcohol will do anything but make you feel better. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it pulls fluid from the body. You know how after a wild night out you wake up with an unquenchable thirst (and a horrible headache)? This is because you're dehydrated. When you're already feeling like crap, you'll especially want to avoid hangover symptoms. So if you are self-medicating with one (ONE!) hot toddy, make sure to drink extra amounts of other, non-alcoholic beverages, like water, to replenish. Like your mother always told you, drink plenty of fluids, especially when you're nursing a toddy.

Here's a simple toddy recipe to get you through the winter:

Editor's note: If you can't even stomach the idea of alcohol mixed with incessant sneezing, try fire cider vinegar -- the ultimate, non-alcoholic homemade remedy.

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Before You Go

Home Remedies For Cold Or Flu
Apple Cider Vinegar Brew(01 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Apple cider vinegar, which can help boost the immune system.Find the recipe at Pop Sugar.
Flu Season Ginger Honey Lemon Tonic(02 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Ginger, which can help with nausea, as well as promote sweating, which, according to WH Foods, can help fight infection.Learn how to make this at The Kitchn.
Bourbon Cough Syrup For Grownups(03 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Lemon, which is chock full of vitamin C, is often found in home remedies. Learn how to make this at The Kitchn.
Cold And Flu Replenishment Drink(04 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Raw honey, which has been reported to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. (But remember, never give any honey to kids under one year.) Get the recipe at The Simple Moms.
Coconut And Orange Smoothie(05 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: There's a ton in this drink, which includes chia seeds to keep up your energy and oranges (of course) for vitamin C. Get the recipe at Simple Sue.
Cold And Flu Zapper(06 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Turmeric, which can help boost the immune system, as well as garlic (which has antibacterial properties). Learn how to make this at Life Made Full.
Homemade Electrolyte Drink(07 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Salt (yes, salt!). Because of all the electrolytes you can lose while sick (i.e. vomiting), putting salt in the drink can help replace them. Get the recipe at MNN.
Fire Cider Cold and Flu Remedy(08 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: It's all meant to be good for you, but the horseradish can apparently help increase blood flow to the parts of your body infected by cold or flu. Learn how to make this at MommyPotamus.
The Flu Buster Juice(09 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Immune booster cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is also anti-bacterial. Learn how to make this at For The Love Of Food.
Flu-Fighting Tea(10 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Echinacea, an herb used for many inflammatory illnesses and diseases. Learn how to make this at Thank Your Body.
All-Natural Cold and Flu Remedy(11 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredients: Lemon, ginger and honey. Learn how to make this at Simple Green Smoothies.
Green Monster Smoothie(12 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredients: Kale and spinach both have plenty of antioxidants to help your body heal. Learn how to make this at Blendtec.
Homemade Electrolyte Drink(13 of 17)
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Beneficial ingredients: You see 'em all right there, don't you? Learn how to make this at Don't Mess With Mama.
Honey + Cinnamon 'Serum'(14 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Cinnamon, which has antifungal properties, and can be particularly potent when mixed with honey. Learn how to make this at Health Extremist.
The Not Toddy(15 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredients: Lemon, cinnamon and honey. Learn how to make this at Inspiration for Moms.
Turmeric Milk(16 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredients: Turmeric and ginger. Learn how to make this at Fresh Bites Daily.
Vitamin C Booster Smoothie(17 of 17)
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The beneficial ingredient: Carrots, which have beta carotene to help boost infection-fighting T cells. Learn how to make this at Crunchy Creamy Sweet.
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