Caribbean Cold Remedies


The common cold is one of those seasonal annoyances that everyone experiences. It can last from five to 10 days and include symptoms such as a runny nose, post nasal drip, sore throat, stuffiness and body aches. There is no cure for the common cold, only medicine to ease the symptoms. Residents of the Caribbean, however, believe they have found cures. But unless you live in that hemisphere, these miracle remedies may prove difficult to follow.

The Healing Power of Jamaican Rum

  • According to the Thirsty Traveler on Episode FLTHR-108, "Jamaicans apply rum to their foreheads for a chill, and mix it with lime and honey as a drink to ward off a cold."

    Writer Lauren Lesmeister, a writer, explained that her travels in the Caribbean earned her a Jamaican secret for a cold and flu remedy, also containing rum and lime. A local bartender advised her: In the morning, pour two fingers worth of overproof Jamaican rum (approximately 3 oz.) into a glass, then squeeze two lime wedges into it, dropping them in, and stirring. The rum mixture should be sipped slowly. When finished, go and lay out in the sun for 20 minutes, swim in the ocean for 20 minutes. Then repeat with the sun, swim, sun, swim for a total of three times. If you're absolutely hungry at lunchtime, you can have a bowl of soup, but otherwise, try to keep your stomach empty. After lunch, repeat above steps starting from the rum and lime drink. If cold symptoms are still present, take Tylenol and sleep it off. The writer of never needed the Tylenol because she felt better.

How Does it Work?

  • Theory has it that the alcohol in the rum opens up the pores in your skin. The lime juice adds needed Vitamin C. When you lay out in the sun, it causes your glands to sweat, the heat bringing the virus to the surface of your skin. This is similar to a fever, which is our body's natural way to rid an infection. With open pores and the virus near the surface of your skin, the cleansing quality of the ocean's salt water is the final step in removing the toxins from your body.

Bush Cures

  • The Caribbean culture utilizes local bush herbs for many illnesses, including colds. According to, the following herbs will cure, or at least alleviate, cold-like symptoms: Aureliia, Cerassee, Fever Grass, Ginger, Comfrey, Spirit Weed, Soursop Leaves, and Spanish Needle. Out of these, ginger is the only common herb available to most. Below is a tea recipe from Everything Jamaican, which uses ginger and garlic (another natural home remedy source).

    Add the following to one cup of boiling water:

    2 cloves of crushed garlic
    1 root of crushed ginger
    4 lemon slices, plus the juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 lime
    sweeten with honey

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