Tequila as cold remedy?
October 22, 2008 5:59 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend has a cold. Multiple people today have told her to take a shot of tequila before bed as a remedy.

This sounds like a load of spit to us. Can anyone confirm or refute this? Thanks.
posted by buriednexttoyou to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Tequila? Really? Whiskey and honey works wonders for me, but never heard of tequila.
posted by Ugh at 6:02 PM on October 22, 2008

It would certainly help her care less, briefly.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:07 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by fixedgear at 6:10 PM on October 22, 2008

"Of all the things that won't help a cold, bourbon is the best." I heard that one time.

Liquor isn't a remedy for anything except sobriety, but some people think it makes a cold more tolerable.
posted by Class Goat at 6:13 PM on October 22, 2008 [14 favorites]

It is generally accepted among doctors and scientists that alcohol has an inhibitory effect upon the immune system [1]. However, the user may find a brief relief of symptoms, due to both the topical numbing effect of alcohol in the throat, and the generally pleasant feeling of intoxication. As Ugh says, most people prefer whiskey and honey, which has double the topical-soothing qualities.
posted by emyd at 6:32 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Tequila won't cure her cold. Indeed, very little will. Modern medical science can't even do that.

But it might make her feel a little less shitty, or help her sleep a bit more soundly.

So it's not really a remedy, but more like a treatment.
posted by Mephisto at 7:13 PM on October 22, 2008

Anecdotally, I once killed a cold with lots of beer. But it only worked once, which means it was just coincidence. Which is unfortunate. Of course, if one shot of tequila helps her sleep better, it probably won't hurt. If it takes eight shots of tequila, on the other hand, it is most likely counterproductive.
posted by mollweide at 7:34 PM on October 22, 2008

Heh, when I was little and got sick, my parents would always give me a shot of bourbon. I couldn't stand cough syrup (it always made me violently ill, and to this day I can't even look at the stuff with out getting nauseous) and the whiskey seemed to clear up my sinuses and, most importantly to my parents, knock me right out. And nothing helps being sick than lots of rest, so maybe there is some truth there?
posted by internet!Hannah at 8:20 PM on October 22, 2008

Sometimes a shot of alcohol will help clear phlegm from your throat, at least temporarily. It also makes it a lot easier to fall asleep. If you would have been lying awake trying not to cough, then the liquor probably helps you get the rest your immune system needs to fight off the cold. But I don't think there's any science to back this up.
posted by vytae at 8:47 PM on October 22, 2008

Rum and Coffee, and then a drive in the ocean.

I think it's the salt water nasal douche more then anything but, hey an excuse for rum and coffee.

It may not help, but it will help her not care.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

but yes, a shot of booze will help with sleep, and that will help a lot. So... get her drunk and let her sleep til noon.
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 PM on October 22, 2008

Just drink a screwdriver. The vodka will make her care less about the symptoms and fall asleep faster. The orange juice is full of Vitamin C.

If she's a dedicated alcoholic, she'll follow it with a Bloody Mary for breakfast- nutritious AND delicious.
posted by cheerwine at 9:01 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

A sick person does not sleep well for a variety of reasons, yet sleep helps one heal. Alcohol, even in small amounts, interrupts healthy sleep patterns. If she cannot sleep then she is better off with some valerian root or melatonin than adding alcohol into her system.

Alcohol is also a diuretic. Most sick people get dehydrated after a while. I recently got over the flu myself and spent about two days drinking lots of water to rehydrate myself. Alcohol just makes this situation worse.

Considering OTC cold medicine does a whole heck of a lot more than alcohol, there really is no need to add it to the mix.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:38 PM on October 22, 2008

This is a traditional Mexican thing, I think. Every Mexican I know does this.

There's no cure for a cold, of course, so like ANY other remedy, you're treating symptoms. From tequila (or whiskey) you get the throat numbing, a pleasant warmness, and sleepiness, which makes for a better and more restful night. More and better rest means earlier recovery.

That's pretty much what you get from any cough syrup, too. So sure, go for it.
posted by rokusan at 10:00 PM on October 22, 2008

Considering OTC cold medicine does a whole heck of a lot more than alcohol.

The doctor behind me disagrees strongly.

OTC cold medicines are "pretty much a scam", I am told, and what you want is "Lots of liquids and lots of sleep, and sure, take a tequila or anything else if it helps you rest more soundly."
posted by rokusan at 10:02 PM on October 22, 2008

I have a cold. Or, I did last Friday and it's more or less gone now. All weekend I drank hot toddies for the first time, and they work! Just boil some water, add whiskey (or rum or brandy) to a glass and a tablespoon of honey. Add a clove-studded lemon wedge and stir. Voila! It made me feel much better than it had any right to; I was surprised how much better I felt drinking one (a placebo effect is entirely possible). Be sure to drink it as hot as possible--cold or room temperature is no good.

Yes, alcohol is a diuretic, but all that means is you drink an extra mug of water or two. Big deal. If your gf normally doesn't have a problem drinking alcohol, this won't be a problem, either. Alcohol suppresses coughing as well.
posted by zardoz at 10:03 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

A Finnish expression: “Jos ei viina, terva ja sauna auta, niin tauti on kuolemaksi.”
Translation: “If hard liquor, tar or sauna do not help, then the disease is fatal.”

I'd take it to heart.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:43 AM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

Couldn't hurt, but it's not a cure. It simply warms the blood a bit and stimulates the liver to produce more enzymes. All in all - she needs to be drinking soups, teas and juices - a lot - throughout the day - and the extra vitamin c - quality is key - Emergen C or something similar. Get some sunlight - for a few minutes a day for the vitamin A and D and if you can score some wheatgrass juice - the real kind, not the powdered form - you'll be giving her some extra oxygenation - which is vital for a quick recovery. Cheers.
posted by watercarrier at 5:07 AM on October 23, 2008

Several Russian cow-orkers have told me that their Infallible Cold Remedy is 100g of vodka. There's intense and loud argument about whether it's plain, lemon-infused or taken with something else, but the 100g of vodka is consistent. It's more than four shots, so I haven't done it yet: "See, if you took the -full dose- you'd be better by now."
posted by jet_silver at 5:56 AM on October 23, 2008

posted by buriednexttoyou to health

ok, this is beautiful.

I can't stand Southern Comfort because it smells and tastes like cough syrup. I can't add much to anybody else's analysis, except that if she gets the worm, it's a little protein.
posted by lysdexic at 7:23 AM on October 23, 2008

I like whiskey for a cold because it numbs the throat and clears the sinuses. A+ bandaid.

If she doesn't enjoy hard liquor then it's probably more harm than good.
posted by shownomercy at 7:31 AM on October 23, 2008

Alcohol is an effective cough suppressant. Otherwise, it's an old wive's tale, and an excuse to drink. I once read an article where they asked 100 doctors what they did when they had a cold; 75% of the answers involved alcohol, so it's pretty popular.
posted by theora55 at 8:31 AM on October 23, 2008

Hot Toddy has worked for me.
posted by chump at 8:53 AM on October 23, 2008

Boyfriend's parents are Hungarian. When I get sick, he always tells me to do a shot. I like to think of it as "tasty throat disinfectant." Worst case scenario, it helps knock her out and bring sleep faster (drink some extra water before crashing!), best case scenario, the old wives are telling the truth...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:30 AM on October 23, 2008

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