World Rum Day: My mom says rum and warm water can ward off cold

Rum is a favourite drink for many, but what if we tell you that it can ward off a very common health problem - cold? Let's find out how rum can help with cold and if you should be drinking it.
benefits of rum for cold
Can drinking rum help fight cold? Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Arushi Bidhuri Published: 8 Jul 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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Mothers always seem to have one remedy or another up their sleeves. One age-old tip passed down through generations is using rum and warm water to treat a nagging cold. As a child, I remember my mom’s unwavering faith in using this age-old practice to soothe a sore throat and congestion. While it might raise an eyebrow or two, this intriguing home remedy has been trusted by many. As a kid, I never questioned it twice but now I wonder how it worked the way it did in curing cold. So, I had to check whether it is actually a good idea to use rum for cold or not!

Is drinking rum for cold a good idea?

Drinking alcohol to get rid of cold and cough has been a hot debate for a very long time. While many like my mother might see rum as the perfect remedy for cold, there are some who doubt its usage – which seems fair too. Not everyone believes in the use of quick remedies, especially alcohol, unless it is coming from a doctor. Even science is divided on the topic. Some studies have found that long-term alcohol use can make a person more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, multiple studies say that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the symptoms of cold. Naturally, I had to check with some doctors to see which one of it is true and to what extent.

home remedies for cold
Rum can help you ward off cold. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

So, Dr Charu Dutt Arora, Consultant and Head of Ameri Health Home Healthcare at Asian Hospital, Faridabad, says rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the byproducts of sugarcane such as molasses that have a sweet smooth texture. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help you fight respiratory illnesses. Drinking it may help “loosen up the phlegm and mucus and helps in eliminating the bacteria. This is extremely beneficial in changes of weather and when pollutant levels are high. It also contains antimicrobial properties that can make you feel better and warm instantly. The steam from the rum also helps in relieving nasal congestion.

Studies suggest that rum and brandy have immunogenic properties, which is equivalent to vitamin C – an essential nutrient that helps strengthens the immune system and helps you fight against infections.

Dietitian Vidhi Chawla, Founder of Fisico Diet and Skin Clinic, also highlighted that rum is bacterial-resistant, meaning it can fight off bacterial infections. Since your body has to combat harmful bacteria when you have a cold, it can help you do that. Drinking a very minimal amount of rum can help you deal with the most typical symptoms of cold. You can make hot syrup for cold using rum, honey, and lemon juice. Rum combined with honey and lemon will fasten the process and alleviate the symptoms faster.

remedies for cold
Try this quick remedy to combat cold. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

However, she warns that alcohol can dehydrate you. So, it is crucial to drink a lot if fluids in addition to it and drink it in moderation. Even if rum contains properties that can help you fight infections like cold, it is not a good idea to use it as an alternative to medication. It is advisable to drink it in moderation and under the supervision of your healthcare provider, adds Dr Arora.

Word of caution!

Please be aware that rum cannot be your go-to solution to get rid of a cold every time. Since cold and cough is a symptom of several diseases, it is best to talk to your doctor before you refute it as a mere cold and drink rum to alleviate it. Plus, you need to know if it’s suitable for you or not!

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About the Author

Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 7 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas across different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, and more. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. ...Read More

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