SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — With the weather cooling down as summer transitions to autumn, the number of Koreans coming down with a cold is on the rise.
While some claim that the drop in temperatures creates an environment conducive to the spread of colds, allowing for viruses to multiply, scientists say that cooler weather and colds are not directly correlated.
In the real world, people who live in places of extreme cold rarely catch colds because viruses are unable to withstand such climates.
Throughout human history, colds have been a nuisance to the population, especially before the advent of medical science and pharmaceutical drugs.
This prompted different societies to come up with their own “home remedies” that could possibly cure them of the illness.
In Jamaica, for example, a combination of rum and lime juice is said to open the pores to help cold patients “sweat it out.”
Meanwhile, some Russians seek out egg yolks to create a recipe similar to one used to make eggnog. Adding honey to the yolks can help relieve sore throats and coughs, according to the Russians.
And of course, there’s also the classic homemade chicken noodle soup cooked by grandmothers across America when a cold is right around the corner.
Similarly, many homemade cold remedies exist in Korean culture.
Of those, the home remedy that has somehow garnered the most media attention is a recipe that requires individuals to sprinkle chili powder in their glass of soju, a clear, colorless alcoholic beverage that is arguably the favorite alcoholic drink for Koreans.
But is this remedy, like so many of the other remedies around the world concocted to fight colds, based on science and medicine?
Experts agree that a small amount of alcohol can help increase one’s heart rate and facilitate blood circulation, leaving people to feel light on their feet and in higher spirit.
However, this is just a temporary sensation and not a long-lasting measure.
Ten years ago, a Korean television show carried out an experiment to determine the effect of the chili powder and soju remedy.
Although there were slight differences for each participant, a shot or two of the remedy alleviated cold symptoms for most cold patients.
But medical experts say that this is just a temporary effect and does not remove the fundamental cause of the illness.
Moreover, alcohol can impact the proper functioning of one’s stomach and liver, causing more harm than good in the long run.
Doctors say that getting sufficient rest, drinking water, and consuming a balanced diet is a much more viable and scientifically proven solution for beating a cold.
Another popular Korean cold remedy is to sweat it out under the covers. There may be instances when cold patients get well naturally by sweating it out and sleeping off the cold.
But a cold typically involves an infection of more than 200 viruses and merely perspiring itself is not enough to cure all colds.
If anyone had experienced relief after a bout of perspiration, it is probably because the individual’s immune system had recovered after a period of rest.
Lastly, can a single shot at the doctor’s office be the cure-all remedy, one that is scientifically sound?
Not according to doctors. Medical professionals say that to cure a cold with a single jab of a needle is impossible. No current single medication exists, at present, that can totally remove the cold virus.
The shots that are administered by doctors usually help alleviate high fever, coughing and pain.
So perhaps the next time you come down with a cold, a visit to the doctor may be a better choice than relying on home remedies even if your doctor is unable to get rid of the cold virus completely.
H. S. Seo (firstname.lastname@example.org)