Although ye olde days of leaching, bloodletting and forced medicinal purging have tainted our appreciation for natural remedies, many DIY home cures still have a lot of merit—especially in college. After going to classes, facilitating extracurricular group meetings, playing on an intramural team and meeting with professors, you just might be able to carve out enough time in the day to make a trip to the health center on campus. It’s far likelier, however, that you’ll try to deal with being sick on your own before you decide to make a two-hour appointment with a campus MD, just to get a prescription for Sudafed PE.
Her Campus has sorted through many of the rumors out there concerning the best ways to get better fast, and we’ve picked out some of the best at-home remedies that you can pick up in your local area or at school before you spend hours sitting around in campus health services. We’ve also enlisted the help of nutrition expert, Connie Diekman, Director of Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and past President of the American Dietetic Association, to sort what’s fact from what’s fiction.
For fending off vampires and colds
Since few odors linger like the heavy, pungent smell of garlic, lots of people avoid Everything bagels and bialys like the plague before going to meetings or on hot dates. But if you start feeling a bit under the weather and don’t want to reach for the antibiotics just yet, try eating a small amount of raw garlic. According to Merisenda Bills, a Her Campus correspondent from the University of Southern California, the smooth white bulb keeps the undead as well as the common cold at bay. “My mom said whenever I feel like I’m getting sick to eat a whole clove of garlic. It sounds crazy but it’s worked!”
“All plant foods contain a variety of phytonutrients which may provide health benefits, one such example is the phytonutrients in garlic. Preliminary research indicates garlic might help with immune function but more studies are needed. Consuming garlic isn’t going to hurt anyone so doing this is fine, but it may not be the sole reason for fighting off illness.”
Bottoms up! While garlic isn’t a cure-all, it may help you stave off sickness when taken in conjunction with traditional over-the-counter medication.
The iced tea eye-rinse for bloodshot eyes
Here’s a little-known fact: college students love to hate pulling all-nighters. Staying up all night to finish a term paper and missing sleep over an Orgo exam are excruciating occurrences, but students who are forced to stay awake often wear their delirium like a badge of honor. “I haven’t slept in 31 hours!,” one student might say, while another boasts that she’s seen the sun rise three days in a row. But even if you’re someone who totes the bags under her eyes with pride, burning retinas aren’t as easy to ignore. Merisenda from USC also suggests that sleepy students try a chamomile tea eye-rinse to soothe red, irritated eyes. “Whenever I have sore, red eyes, I rinse [them] with chamomile tea,” she says. “I make the tea and wait for it to get cold. Then I put some in a shot glass, put it over my eye, and throw my head back. I do this a few times.” Merisenda notes that the process can get messy, but if you have an eyedropper (or a friend with a steady hand) you might have a better time avoiding spillage.
Connie reveals that chamomile can actually act as an inflammatory agent, and a study published by the NIH National Library of Medicine shows that the soothing herb has anti-inflammatory benefits
As LMFAO so wisely ordered, “Shots!” Of chamomile tea, that is…
Gypsy cold tea
The herbal anti-congestant brew
One of the best accessories to have on campus when the weather gets cold is a hot beverage thermos. Carrying a mug or reusable container keeps you from wasting loads of cups from the campus café, and also allows you to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated right in class. Wannabe tea-drinkers who have a hard time choosing from all the peppermints, chais, lemon and herbal blends on the market might want to try Gypsy Cold Care herbal tea. Daylina Miller, an HC correspondent from the University of South Florida admits that the drink tastes “like really watered-down hot tea and isn’t the most pleasant to drink, but [that] you feel the difference in your sinuses right away.” Gypsy Cold Care’s mix of organic elder flower, yarrow flower and organic peppermint and hyssop leaves may sound a little more New Age-y than you’re used to, but the drink also sounds like a great alternative to the Airborne in your campus bookstore.
According to Connie, “elder flower and peppermint are reported to help fight congestion.”
Embrace your inner tea guru. Gypsy Cold Care might sound like a mix of rubbish, but it actually has enough substance to make the incurable common cold a little more bearable.