When you're suffering from a horrible cold, the only thing you want to do is pass out and wake up when it's over. While there are many forms of medication that can do that for you, I find the easiest way to drift into unconsciousness is consuming copious amounts of alcohol. The thing is, when you're sick, most don't think imbibing a substance that's literally poison for your body is a good idea.
But if we're going by the "tried and true" methods of old-heads everywhere, they act like there's nothing a stiff shot of whiskey can't solve. About to get a bullet taken out of your arm? Pour some booze on it. Going under the knife? Drink some whiskey. Unhappy with your life and inability to get out of a rut because embracing change and going after dreams that actually mean something to you is too scary? Drink whiskey!
While it seems like an unreasonable and unhealthy coping mechanism, especially if you're using booze to mollify your pain and feelings for just about anything, it turns out the old-heads were actually on to something when they started slurping down whiskey whenever they felt cold symptoms coming on. A recent study shows there's some medical benefits to drinking cold remedy cocktails.
According to Venderbilt University Medical Center's chair of preventative medicine, Dr. William Schaffner, while drinking booze will do nothing to thwart the cold virus itself, booze can actually help to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the illness. How? Well that has to do with your blood vessels, my dearies. It sounds, creepy, I know, but let Schaffner explain it.
"The alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, and that makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection."
So a hot toddy will help pave the way for your mucus membranes by giving them more room to work. With the membranes sufficiently, err, lubricated, and with their newfound space, they're able to more swiftly help rid your body of that cold once and for all.
It also doesn't hurt that you're getting a little tipsy, which helps numb you to whatever pain and congestion your cold brought on, which is always a plus.
If you're like me and have a certain fake-cowboy image you're trying to uphold, you could just drink your whiskey neat and call it a day. But if you like to, you know, actually enjoy your alcohol like some kind of flavor-centric wimp, you could always craft a cocktail like a hot toddy.
This Imgur user's come up with a pretty great recipe, but the premise is the same: you make yourself a hot cinnamon/honey/lemon tea mixture. You can even go crazy and add some turmeric and ginger. The heat of the beverage will help soothe your throat and open up your nasal passages. The honey sweetens the beverage and also soothes your throat, and some lemon rind will give you a boost of vitamin C while helping to break down some built-up mucus in your gullet. Mix some booze into that and voila.
You might get to thinking that a good way to prevent yourself from ever feeling the effects of a cold would be to self-medicate with some alcohol every single day. I'm sure you don't need a doctor to tell you that's a horrible idea, but in case you do, Schaffner staunchly advises against it.
"We would not recommend going out and drinking 30 bottles of beer every day to ward off the flu."
Sorry to burst your bubble, but at least you have something to look forward to the next time you're feeling sick. Cozy with up a nice warm, boozey beverage, but just don't go overboard.