If you had an Irish grandma growing up, chances are she tried this home remedy on you…but sadly, our experts don’t recommend partaking in whiskey, at least not to cure a cold.
“The combination of a teaspoon of whiskey mixed with a teaspoon of honey and lemon has long been used as a cough suppressant by pediatricians (especially in the 1940s to 1960s),” says Thermos. “Too much emphasis, however, is on the use of the whiskey (relaxing effects) and not enough emphasis on the honey/lemon combination (soothes the irritated throat).” (Here's how to get the biggest health benefits from honey.)
Ferrer even notes that whiskey can lower your body’s natural defenses, making it harder to fight off a cold or an infection.
Related: 6 Foods Nutritionists Eat To Get Over A Cold Faster
“Alcohol dilates blood vessels to help break up congestion, but it’s not the first line I'd recommend,” says Goldstein. “Alcohol is also a diuretic and pull fluids and important vitamins and minerals from the body.”
Seeing as hydration is extremely important when you’re ill, trying whiskey to help your cold may cause more harm than good. “The evaporation and total fluid loss during an infection is quite impressive,” says Thermos. “Many signs and symptoms can be addressed with hydration alone.” He recommends getting about ½ ounce of water per pound of body weight in addition to other fluids like juice, soup, or tea… but unfortunately, no whiskey.
Skip the whiskey and try an immunity-boosting tincture instead: