Mexican Culture: Cold & Flu Cures
From Hierbas to Tequila: 5 Traditional Mexican Cold Remedies
¡Ay Dios mío! You just caught a cold. Aches, shakes, sore throat, and all.
You go to your medicine cabinet for some fast relief but – oh no! You’re out of Vick’s Vapor Rub! What do you do now?
Luckily for you, we have some tips and tricks to help you say ¡hasta luego! to your cold.
And the best part?
These cold and flu cures are deeply rooted in ancient traditions – quite literally. From herbs to root vegetables and tequila, to the practice of curanderismo, we’ll plug you into the best Mexican cold remedies to date.
5 Mexican Cold Remedies That Will Make Your Abuelita Jump for Joy
1. Estafiate – Medicinal Herb (Hierba Medicinal)
Similar to sage, estafiate is a flowering plant native to Mexico. Also referred to as ‘woman’s sage’ by indigenous Mexican tribes because of its ability to relieve menstrual pain, Estafiate is known to reduce common cold symptoms.
The plant is an antimicrobial (agents that kill or impede the growth of unwanted microorganisms) and greatly alleviates stomach pain.
When should you use it? Consider consuming estafiate if your cold symptoms include:
- Upset stomach
How is estafiate consumed?
The plant is typically consumed as an herbal tea, but some eat its flowers whole and dried.
2. Gordolobo – Medicinal Herb (Hierba Medicinal)
Gordolobo, also known as Mullein, is another Mexican flowering-plant that alleviates inflammatory diseases and many common cold symptoms. Grown in Central and Northern Mexico, this plant has been used for centuries to cure:
- Ear infections
- Colds and Flu
In particular, the Gordolobo reduces coughing and relieves a sore throat, especially when consumed as an herbal tea.
Curious about its funny name?
Gordolobo translates to “fat wolf”, but it wasn’t always that way.
It comes from the Latin cauda lupi, meaning cola de lobo or “wolf tail”. This is due to the fact that the plant can grow anywhere from 1.5-2 meters tall, and when found together in full bloom, often gives the appearance of a wolf’s tail.
Due to a long history of Spanish words mixing with Arabic and strict Spanish morphology rules, the word ended up transforming into the gordolobo we know today.
3. Té de Hierbas (Las Infusiones) – Medicinal Drinks (Bebidas Medicinales)
Who doesn’t enjoy a hot, soothing herbal tea when they feel under the weather?
Get ready to sip your tea, grab some miel (honey), and turn on your favorite telenovela, because we are going to give you a little taste of 3 traditional Mexican teas that’ll have you feeling better in no time.
Lemon and Hot Water
¿Tienes dolor de garganta? Do you have a sore throat?
If so, one solution is to mix lemon juice with hot water. Add a spoonful of natural honey to sweeten it up and you’re good to go.
Healthy, inexpensive, and very refreshing. Your whole body will be thanking you after drinking this concoction.
¡Tienes dolor de estómago! You have a bad stomachache and you need to soothe it right away.
The quick solution: mint tea.
Not only is the herb super tasty, but it also has medicinal properties that help ease digestion and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Pick mint leaves straight from your garden or pull pre-made mint tea bags from your cupboard. Either way, your panza (belly) will thank you.
Raw Garlic Tea
Many root vegetables are believed to have very powerful medicinal properties. Traditional to Mexican culture, onions and garlic are often put into a tea to help fight infections. To this day, many people in rural Mexico still steep garlic in their tea to ward off the common cold.
But here’s the catch.
Garlic tea isn’t the tastiest.
If you find hot garlic water hard to stomach, you can always use the very ancient Mexican method of wrapping cooked onions on the soles of your feet or placing them on your chest.
This method was commonly used by the indigenous Huichol Indians to cure bronchitis overnight.
Maybe a cup of garlic tea doesn’t sound so bad after all!
4. Tequila for Colds and Flu
*Cough cough.* You just ran out of cough drops. Now what?
Grab a lime, a shot glass, and your favorite Mexican tequila, because it’s time to send this cough packing.
No, we are not pregaming for Cinco de Mayo. We are simply getting over this cold in the best way possible.
In all seriousness, there are many health benefits to tequila. The spirit, which is commonly made from the agave plant, is known to:
- Reduce bacteria
- Relieve sore throats
- Soothe coughs
In fact, doctors actually prescribed tequila during the Spanish Flu epidemic in Mexico throughout the early 1900s to fight the virus.
Thank Pachamama for the agave plant and don’t forget to drink responsibly!
5. Curanderismo – Medicinal Cleansing (Limpieza Medicinal)
You can’t seem to nip this cold. You sing to yourself, “Sana sana colita de rana, si no sana hoy, sanará mañana.” But tomorrow comes, and you still feel sick.
What do you do?
According to ancient Mexican belief, it sounds like you need a curandero!
Also associated with chamanes Mexicanos (Mexican shamans), curanderismo is a medicinal cleansing practice that, when done by a professional curandero, should warn off sickness and disease.
Curanderismo comes from the Spanish word curar, which literally translates to “to cure” or “to heal.”
In Mayan, Toltec, and other indigenous Mexican cultures, shamans and curanderos were appointed spiritually and were believed to have received the healing gift from divine entities. Curanderos use many ancient rituals and materials to heal one’s body, including:
- Ajo Macho (elephant garlic)
- Piedra Iman (lodestone)
- Aloe Vera
- Spiritual water and candles
This practice is so ingrained in Mexican culture that it is still practiced in some parts today. In fact, healers are even trained in universities around the world to earn their professional title.
How Many Mexican Cold Remedies Have You Tried?
¡Hurra! You can still overcome that nasty cold, even without abuela’s beloved vapor rub. From hierbas Mexicanas to tequila, you can cure it all.
Now that you’re up-to-date on Mexican Cold Cures, check out our guide to Traditional Russian Cold and Flu Remedies!
Let us know if you’ve tried any of these remedies in the comments!
Want to experience Mexican culture first hand but don’t speak the language? ¡No te preocupes! Dance your way through Mexican cumbia music or sign up for a free online Spanish lesson and feel confident about your next vacation to Latin America.