I-Team: Taste-Testing 4 Home Flu Remedies From Around the World

What to Know

  • Throughout history and across the globe, mankind has come up with home remedies to battle the flu
  • The remedies range from lizard soup, to a Jewish take on eggnog that Barbra Streisand used to give her daughter
  • We looked at 7 home remedies from around the world, and taste-tested 4 of them

Throughout history, mankind has come up with some bizarre concoctions to combat the dreaded flu

The fear of being sick with influenza has driven people all around the world to ingest otherwise unbelievable things. For example, during the flu pandemic following World War I in the early 20th century, eating pine tar was a folk remedy, Nancy Bristow writes in her book ‘American Pandemic.'

Other popular remedies of the time included strychnine -- used in pesticides to kill rodents -- and chloroform.

But not all homemade flu remedies have to be literal poison. Here are some strange, but possibly effective, flu solutions used around the globe. And we even taste-tested some of them in the newsroom. Watch the video above.

Lizard soup

Popular in Hong Kong, this dish might not sound as appetizing to many as chicken noodle soup. No matter how strange the protein, hot soup is always a good idea to help put fluids back in your body.

Rum with lemon

In some South American and Caribbean countries where the sugarcane-based alcohol is popular this rum-based flu therapy is common. Variations of the remedy call for honey to be added as well. Be warned, however, that doctors say drinking any amount of alcohol will only worsen flu symptoms.

Garlic tea

Garlic with lemon tea is a common flu aid in both Mexico and Spain and it makes sense, as garlic is noted for its antiseptic values.

Palm oil

Taking palm oil and combining it with sugar is popular in Nigeria. But take it in low doses, as palm oil is notoriously bad for heart health due to its high saturated fat.

Cayenne pepper

Bringing some spice into your life might be necessary when you think you’re coming down with the flu. Cayenne can act as a natural decongestant

Passion fruit with onion

Because of the high content of vitamin C in passion fruit and the ability for onion to decongest your system, this strange combination is a go-to flu stopper in some cultures. The two principal ingredients are usually combined into a tea where lemon and/or honey can be added.

Gogol Mogol

A Jewish take on eggnog is an intense way to get rid of the flu that is still prevalent in countries like Russia and Poland. The drink recipe most normally calls for raw egg yolks, sugar, honey, milk and butter, although there are many variations. And just like eggnog, Gogol Mogol can be made with or without alcohol.

On a side note, Barbra Streisand’s mother gave her young daughter the drink to strengthen her vocal cords, according to a New York Times profile on the singer. So even if Gogol Mogol doesn’t cure your flu, maybe it will help you finally reach a soprano pitch.

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