Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Jan 12

Forget cough medicine! Why a HOT TODDY is the best thing to drink when you’re under the weather

A recent review found cough medicine to have no benefit or conflicting results

Drinking a Hot Toddy – brandy, lemon and honey – might be best to ease a cold

Whiskey helps you sleep, honey soothes the throat and lemon provides vitamin C

The alcohol also helps to open your blood vessels to fight sinus congestion

It’s that time of year when many of us are catching winter colds.

Our noses are congested, our throats are scratchy and we have persistent coughs.

Many of us might turn to cough syrup to alleviate the symptoms.

But according to family physician Dr Sarah Brewer, a traditional Hot Toddy – brandy, honey, and lemon infused in boiling water – is your best bet to speed up your recovery time.

Drinking a Hot Toddy – brandy, lemon and honey – might be best to ease a cold, according to Dr Sarah Brewer. Brandy helps you sleep, honey soothes the throat and lemon has vitamin C

‘I must admit that I like the soothing effects of a hot toddy if I ever have a cold,’ Dr Brewer, medical director of Healthspan, told Daily Mail Online.

‘The alcohol helps to dilate blood vessels to bring more immune cells into the nose (although it can also increase congestion).

‘Lemon juice adds some useful antioxidant benefits from vitamin C and manuka honey has medicinal benefits.

‘However, I would only have this after I’ve taken Pelargonium which is the most effective traditional herbal medicine for treating colds.’

Indeed, a 2014 Cochrane review concluded that there is no proof cough syrup can help when you’re under the weather.

‘There is no good evidence for or against the effectiveness of OTC (over-the-counter) medicines in acute cough,’ the authors declared.

Meanwhile Coedine, the ‘gold standard’ for cough suppressants, was branded in another study as no more effective than a placebo.


The Hot Toddy comes from Scottish tradition where the drink was made with whisky, hot water, honey, and spices such as nutmeg or clove.

Hot Toddies are now traditionally made with whiskey, honey and lemon.

The whiskey helps you sleeps and aids decongestion by dilating the blood vessels.

Like many other alcohols, whiskey also helps you sleep.

The honey coats and soothes the throat and it is believe the sweet taste triggers nerve endings that treat persistent coughs.

The lemon provides vitamin C – known to combat colds and viruses – and helps clear the nasal passages.

The steam also opens the sinuses.

Because a hot toddy contains alcohol, it is important to drink other liquids as well as alcohol dehydrates the body.

Hot Toddies, however, contain all the vitamins you need to rejuvenate your body – while opened the blood vessels to fight congestion.

Dating back to the 1700s, the drink is generally made with liquor, honey and a range of spices.

Whiskey, the traditional spirit of choice, is a great decongestant as the alcohol dilates the blood vessels, which makes it easier for the mucus membranes to deal with the infection while also helping you sleep.

Honey is known to have several health properties.

It’s thick consistency helps coat the throat – soothing it when sore.

The sweet taste, meanwhile, is believed to trigger nerve endings that protect the throat from consistent coughing.

The lemon adds much-needed vitamin C and helps clear the nasal passages from lingering germs.

The steam from the hot beverage will also open up your sinuses.

While drinking liquids is good in general for sickness, alcohol can dehydrate the body so it is important to drink other common beverages like water or tea.

Pelargonium, a flowering plant, is very popular in homeopathic medicine practices and has been found to fight bacteria and viruses, as well as stimulate the immune system.

It is often an ingredient in herbal cough syrups but can be taken in the form of a liquid extract.

Although natural, it is not advised for children under 12 years old.

As an alternative to Hot Toddies, Dr Brewer recommends pelargonium, a flowering plant available as a liquid extract, as a natural method of treating colds and fighting bacteria

Source: Daily Mail

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.