An Italian Cold Remedy

in Lifestyle

While studying abroad in Orvieto, Italy I got sick. Oy. Blame it on the chilly, damp weather. Blame it on the hours spent studying. Blame it on foreign germs. Or perhaps you can even blame it on every Italian introduction involving the ritual cheek kissing. Ciao, ciao!

Whatever the cause, a cold hit me hard on a rainy February day. Now regularly, I visited my old Italian friend, Rico, at his fruit shop across the street everyday to pick up some sort of delicious provision. When I didn’t show up for a day or two, dear Rico became concerned. Enough so that he rang the door to my apartment one day holding a large weathered pot, a few lemons, a handful of garlic cloves, and a bit of honey. I realize this seems utterly creepy coming from American standards, but in Italy it was just hospitality and thoughtfulness.

Rico had some unknown soul translate from Italian to broken English, a recipe for an old Italian cold remedy which was written on a scrap of paper. With a somewhat explanation of what I should be doing with the supplies, he left me with my old pot, handwritten semi-translated recipe, lemons, garlic, honey, and an utterly confused look on my face.

An Italian Cold Remedy…


The damp note instructed me to bring a pot of water to boil on my stove.


Add in the juice of 2 or 3 lemons


Add a few cloves of peeled and smashed garlic to the lemon


Simmer for about 10 minutes.


Remove the garlic cloves (I think)


Pour into a glass, stir in some honey, and drink. This was to be repeated a good 4-5 times per day.

I heeded the wise words of my Italian friend and began boiling and drinking garlic lemon water. My roommates thought I was crazy, but were subtly thrilled by all the garlic and lemons now lying around our kitchen.

After a day filled with garlic tonics and a good night’s sleep, I woke up the next morning feeling recharged and so much better. I credit the superior knowledge of my dear Italians and of the recipe of a wonderful old man.

The next time you feel under the weather, give this tonic a try. Garlic, lemon, and honey all have amazing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and together they create an immunity boosting super drink. Sure it tastes a bit funky, but would I (or the sage wisdom of the Italians) steer you wrong?

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