Did you know that ancient Chinese and Iranian people used to use a plant called Dung of the Devil to treat the common cold? Though the smell of the root was horrifically foul, the chemical compounds in the plant were more potent in killing the flu virus than proven prescription drugs.

Just like China and Iran, every culture in the world has their own unique method of fighting illnesses. Some seem rather reasonable; others are strange enough that perhaps they simply make you forget how terrible you feel. Decide for yourself after reading these six strange sickness solutions.

1)    Britain

Though the mysterious powers of chocolate have been called upon since Incan times, a British study released research proving that an active ingredient in cocoa, theobromine, is more effective in treating a cough than prescription strength codeine. The theobromine soothes the vagus nerve, the host of a dreadful cough.

Better yet? A cup of hot cocoa before bed (made with low-fat milk and at least 70 percent cocoa) will not only help you sleep better but it’s packed with age-reversing antioxidants.

2)    Africa

Long ago Africans used the tallow, or fat, from a sheep or cow to treat skin irritations and deep pneumonia-like coughs. They would wrap the tallow in a heavy cloth, like flannel, warm it over the fire and place it directly on the patient’s chest. Before urgent care clinics or village doctors were available, sheep and cattle were cheap and always useable. Eventually the Europeans picked up on this remedy and even nowadays this is a common practice in the state of Texas.

3)    Scotland

Don’t like the taste of cough syrup? Try this old-school remedy commonly used in Scotland. Scottish seamen frequently drink hot rum and peppermint (AKA “Hot rum and pep”). The concoction was frequently distributed on the ships as a treatment for the common cold. This concoction, along with the occasional nettled tea, would quickly decongest any ill-feeling sailor.

4)    North America

Before the pilgrims came to America, Native American Indians used to combine two tablespoons of chickweed herb and mullein leaves with a pot of boiling water. It had to steep for 30 minutes. As long as the sick patient drank this mixture for the entire day, they were guaranteed to feel better on the following day.

5)    China

Sure, chicken soup may make you feel better for a moment, but Hong Kong natives swear by the medicinal effects of lizard soup. Boiled with dates and yams, dried lizard soup helps soothe the common cold. Dried lizard soup is also particularly beneficial for the heart and lungs and can be eaten regularly. However, finding dry lizard parts might be a bit of a challenge. Consider visiting a Chinese herbal medicine health practitioner.

6)    Germany

If you come down with a cold in Germany, be ready to rid your mucus with, well… more mucus. Snail mucus that is. The mucus-y trail left by mollusks has been used for years to soothe sore throats and calm coughs. Thankfully no visit to the doctor will be necessary, as this “snail syrup” can be purchased over the counter. Just be thankful that you probably can’t taste anything anyway.


Let’s take a quick look back at some of the world’s most unique medicines used for cold remedies. We have chocolate in Britain, sheep fat in Africa, rum and peppermint in Scotland, lizard soup in China and snail syrup in Germany. With a broader perspective of what fighting a common cold can entail, the idea of gargling salt water isn’t all that odd.

Dr. Hagen of the Mayo Clinic explained in a New York Times article that, though salt water won’t cure a cold, it could definitely make the experience less miserable. The saltwater solution draws out built-up, excess fluid from irritated throats and loosens thick mucus.

So skip the snail syrup and sheep fat and try GoGargle!’s saltwater solution for yourself. Click HERE to claim a $1.00 OFF coupon and learn more about the benefits of GoGargle!

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