We are now but mere days away from Christmas which signals two things: 1) The festivities are going to move up a gear 2) Most of us won't enjoy them because of the dreaded lurgy.

How do we avoid the common cold without becoming housebound? Well, try all manners of cold and flu remedies that your nan likely swears by.

At the start of this week and right on cue, it finally got me. Coughing and sneezing my way through the day, I was nothing short of a snivelling disgrace.

Honestly, I made the cast of Trainspotting look like next year's Olympics squad.

Hot, yet cold, bunged up and miserable, I wondered how I could get rid of it as soon as possible instead of simply outlasting it.

Who do you turn to? Your nan of course, or in this case, lots of other people's nans too. Mustard in whiskey, onions in socks, garlic milk. I was offered some pretty bizarre 'cures'.

But, sod it. I was happy to try anything at this stage. So after consulting others and scouring through different health sites, I came up with the following list of grandma's cures:

  • Vapo rub hot bowl
  • Olbas oil bath
  • Lemon and honey tea
  • Exercise
  • Chicken soup
  • Gargle salt water
  • Crush garlic into a glass of milk
  • Cut an onion in half and put one-half in each sock and sleep

Here is how it went:

Cut an onion in half and put one-half in each sock and sleep

I’ll address the elephant in the room first. No, your honour. I did not sleep with onions in my socks.

According to Healthline: "Onions are rich in sulphuric compounds, which give them their pungent odour.

"According to folklore, placing them on the feet allows these compounds to infiltrate the body. There, they kill bacteria and viruses and purify the blood."

I did try something else at the very least. I rubbed some onion on my feet, tentatively, and then left it for 10 minutes before immediately getting in the shower.

You'll be stunned to hear it didn’t work. Try at your own (and partners) risk.

Vapo rub hot bowl

A classic I think we can all agree.

Melt one to two 5ml spoonfuls of Vicks VapoRub into a bowl of hot water and then "Keep sufficient distance from the bowl to avoid burning of the face due to hot vapours".

It worked an absolute charm, as it always does to be fair.

I could feel my sinuses clearing and the symptoms abating before I got a little too close and ended up getting a headache. So, probably do keep your distance.

It is also worth pointing out that the jar cost £6 in Tesco. Yes, £6.

Chicken soup

I was annoyed this was suggested because people say it HAS to be chicken soup.

Chicken soup is terrible, choose your own flavour. Next.

Lemon and honey tea

A real winner this and I ended up having several. You can get teabags of this (the pricey Lemsip) or do it old school (Grandma style) and put a couple of slices of lemon in a mug of hot water and some honey.

Your throat gets massaged with the wonderful combination of flavours and you stop sounding like Davros almost immediately.

Cheap and cheerful.


Yes, people swear by it even though it's the last thing you want to do. I reluctantly went for a run and felt worse I won't lie.

Terrible idea.

Gargle salt water

In all fairness, even the NHS recommends this for sore throats and it wasn't the worst thing in the world.

According to one dentist: "Using saltwater creates a sort of osmosis effect and the salt concentration draws fluids from your mouth that are painful, and it also helps to relieve a painful infection."

Garlic milk

If you want to throw up? Go for it. That's all it did.

I don't know how this ever came to be a remedy or why the first person to try it thought of it, but it's as bad as it sounds.

Olbas Oil bath

Seven British pounds. That's how much a small bottle of Olbas Oil costs in Tesco nowadays can you believe that?

I don't know if they hike the price this time of year knowing how many will depend on it and if they do that's shameful. But. God, it works an absolute wonder.

An Olbas bath has always been the winner for me and this entire bout of testing confirmed it. You just feel incredible and step out a transformed human being. Olbas in a bath, on a pillow, or on a t-shirt, is the ultimate cold cure.

If you're after a cheaper alternative the lemon and honey tea should not be ignored, it also tasted amazing.

What I do not recommend is trying all of these remedies in one day, for the bathroom's sake.