Does Whiskey Help Cure A Cold?

By James Madeiros


Gaelic for “water of life,” whiskey has been touted as a cure for everything from toothaches to swine flu. Even the common cold is said to be stymied by whiskey’s magical properties.

So does whiskey help with a cold? Or is it just another excuse for grandpa to take his “medicine?”

Due to a particular production process whereby whiskey is distilled and then aged in wooden casks, the spirit contains uniquely high doses of cancer-fighting antioxidants and heart-saving phenols, but its whiskey’s non-unique property – alcohol – that has the most effect on your common cold.

Studies have shown that occasional consumption of alcohol may decrease susceptibility to the virus. Once you have the sniffles, whiskey can help allay symptoms by relaxing blood vessels and reducing inflammation, but one must be careful not to overdo it. Too much alcohol will inhibit a good night’s rest, dehydrate the body and exacerbate symptoms. It may even give you a combination cold/hangover, which is known to be 100 times worse than the standard version.

Those who are known to indulge in the ancient panacea sometimes like to stir it into a hot toddy made with water and lemon juice. The hot liquid can help relieve nasal passages while the water prevents dehydration, and lemon is known to reduce phlegm and may even help fight the virus itself with a strong punch of vitamin C. If one were so inclined, she or he might also sweeten the mixture with some honey that can also soothe a sore throat.

Related Article: Hot Toddy Recipe

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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