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Abuela’s Remedies for a Cold

My abuela knew stuff, useful stuff. She could walk around the block and forage for items to make a salad or brew you a hot cup of something wonderful. She’d come back from her walks chewing on something that looked like a weed to me until she’d inform me that it was good for digestion. It is unfortunate that when I had access to this knowledge of hers, I did not take advantage of it. Oh, the folly of youth. Fortunately, some of her wisdom rubbed off when I was too sick to notice. Three of my grandmother’s remedies for the common cold have become standbys and remedios I can pass on to my own children and happily share with you.

At the first sign of an itchy throat, abuela would be at your side with a cup of hot water and salt and urge you to gargle. She was determined to get to those germs before they got to you. I’d complain and fight and tell her how disgusting it was, but she wouldn’t walk away until I had complied. She knew perfectly well that bacteria cannot live in salt.

Más: Enseña a tus Hijos a Respetar a sus Abuelos

When a cold had struck and there was no avoiding it, my nana would keep a steady stream of hot liquids coming: té de yerbabuena, té de manzanilla, or hot water with lemon and honey. The hot liquids keep you hydrated and soothe your throat, the lemon provides you with vitamin C, and the honey is a natural expectorant. The woman knew what she was doing.

My favorite of her remedies, and one that I will actually never be able to have again, was her sopa de fideo. Sure I can make my own version of chicken noodle soup, but somehow it lacks the depth and deliciousness of my grandmother’s touch. My soup may not be as good as hers, but it still works wonders on a cold. The celery, carrots, and onions provide much needed vitamins. The warm salty broth also helps loosen secretions.

What makes my grandmother’s remedies for the common cold effective isn’t just the practical science behind them, but also the comfort they provided when she gave them and the comfort they continue to give in her absence. Knowing that someone cared enough to take care of me made me feel better and even now that she is no longer around she gifted me with her skills and knowledge. Now I can take care of mine, the same way she took care of hers.

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