Temperatures are changing from cold to warm and during this time our bodies are susceptible to catching a cold, suffering from sore throats, complete with coughing and sneezing. Here are some easy Chinese home remedies for a speedy recovery.

According to Chinese herbal medicine, food is medicine; food cures better than medicine. There is a popular old saying of several thousands years:

“If people have a good habit of eating radishes in winter and ginger in summer, they will not need prescription from doctors.

This folk saying has been proven scientifically. During summer season, gastric and salivary secretion is low thus decreasing the appetite. Ginger plays a counterbalancing role to increase appetite. Different types of bacteria fester during this season and ginger can help in defense as a bacteria killer. Ginger functions beneficially in summer.

During the winter, people are accustomed to replenishing their bodies with more nutritious food, such as a variety of meat to keep warm and partake in fewer daily exercises. This causes a lot of extra “heat” to accumulate in the body. Radishes are a seasonal vegetable and belong to “cold” food according to Chinese herbal medicine. They help decrease the “greasy” feeling, aid digestion, dispel phlegm, quench thirst and reduce cough.



Ginger consists of GingerolZingiberene, and fiber. It helps the body decrease temperature, drain sweat, kill bacteria, strengthen the stomach, soothe the lungs, and stop coughing. After eating ginger, one may feel hot as it helps blood vessels extend and accelerate blood circulation. Heightened body temperature may result in bacteria and humidity subsiding. It is believed in China after getting soaked in rain, drinking a large bowl of hot ginger tea then sweating will prevent catching a cold. When people show earliest symptoms of a cold, such as sore throat or cough, ginger tea can thwart its onset.

Ginger remedies:

  • Hot ginger tea — It’s the simplest remedy. Add several pieces of ginger to water and boil for 3 minutes.  Drink the tea and eat the ginger, too.
  • Ginger, brown sugar and red date tea
    Ingredients: 30 grams brown sugar, 15 grams ginger, 30 grams red dates (each date is cut into 2 halves), and 3 cups water.
    Method: Bring all ingredients to a boil for 10 minutes. Drink while hot, when safe enough to drink.
  • Ginger, lemon and honey tea — This tea is also a simple remedy.
    Ingredients: One 1-inch piece ginger (smacked), juice from one lemon, a tablespoon of honey, and two cups of water.
    Method: Boil all ingredients together for at least 10 minutes. It seems many people enjoy ginger, lemon, and Coca Cola as a popular remedy to cure cold and coughing. Actually, cola consists of a lot of Caffeine, Carbonic acid, and sugar giving a lift in mood and energy temporarily. The benefits of the popular cola ginger lemon drink can be given to the ginger and lemon.

Photo by studio tdes www.thedailyenglishshow.com


(daikon or white radish is most common)

Radishes have 91.7% water and a lot of Vitamin A, Vitamine C, and Calcium. According to Chinese herbal medicine, radishes are a most useful vegetable. It is also called “little ginseng.” Nutritionally, radishes help improve the immune system, digestion, nutrient absorption, and soften blood vessels. It is helpful with cooling blood, stimulating appetite, and eliminating phlegm.

Radish remedies:

  • Eat raw radishes — In north China, the air is dry and there fewer vegetables available. People usually eat white radish to prevent from dry throat. When people feel they have phlegm in their throat, they eat raw white radish to recover.
  • White radish and honey salad — Shred radish and toss with honey. Continue eating the salad for several days.

Another simple remedy:

  • Stewed sweet pears with rock sugar — Peel 2 pears and slice. Combine drinking water, sliced pears and a tablespoon of rock sugar. Boil for about 30 minutes. Drink while warm.
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17 Responses to Easy Chinese home remedies for sore throat, cough & cold

  1. […] holed myself up in pajamas, dressed like a blizzard hit my living room. I’ve been drinking ginger tea with lemon and sleeping. The social pixies send emails, texts, and message via Facebook. It’s hard to […]

  2. Joseph says:

    I’m not able to see anything if I print

  3. Hi Joseph, Sorry you’re having trouble… I’m able to print from here. Try again from another computer?

  4. […] radish), and ginger. I’ve been noticing the popularity of the post written a while back for home remedies to cure a sore throat. It’s that season again and I’ll swear by those remedies. Recently, a guest blogger […]

  5. jane says:

    uh how long do i boil the “Ginger, lemon and honey tea”

  6. Hi Jane,
    Sorry about that… combine the ginger, lemon juice, and honey then boil low-medium flame for ten minutes. Piping hot, but soothing.
    Thanks for commenting,

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  9. Yeah the info was good. But you know, there `re many other things that you can do easily at hoome to get your sore throat cured. All these are mentioned in http://www.ehowkeys.com

  10. HI, I write for Foodie Magazine in Hong Kong and am very interested in your food remedies, could I pop Juling He a few questions over by email for an upcoming article I’m doing? Please send me a mail on alicia@afoodieworld.com


  11. Hi, I write for Foodie magazine in Hong Kong and am doing an article on food remedies. Would love to ping Juling He an email with a few interview questions for the article, could you drop me a line at alicia@afoodieworld.com if you’re up for it?

  12. I liked your helpful tip on sore throat. In my blog also, I have a post on “home remedies for sore throat”. You can see the post in http://nithyascorner.com/?p=7710. I am also happy to let you know that I have used your picture in my post and given credit to your blog. Thank you so much for the tips and the picture.

    -Nithyas Corner

  13. […] Juling He. (2011). Easy Chines home remedies for sore throat, cough & cold [Figure 15]. Retrieved April 5, 2011 from http://showshanti.com/easy-chinese-home-remedies-for-sore-throat-cough-cold/ […]

  14. I have used ginger in different types of home remedies (soup and teas). These are holistic medicines that help an individual with different types of illnesses. Not to discount conventional medicine, for someone who is on a budget making soup (boil chicken broth with ginger) and drinking the tea described above works wonders. Studying psychology gives you a background in different medical areas of practice. I personally used these on myself and family (ginger) and so has past generations of my family. I am Filipino but my heritage has Chinese and Spanish in it (I am sure other ethnicity but that is a whole new topic). As a parent I use holistic medicine first and if needed then I turn to conventional. Give ginger a try it does wonders when you are sick!

  15. Carol Schott says:

    I was told there is a Chinese remedy for coughs that is an orange, salt and water. Boil, then drink the liquid and eat the orange. Do you have a recipe for that mixture? ccschott@rogers.com

  16. Hi Carol,
    I haven’t heard of that one, but it would seem that the salt might help with infection and the orange with the taste. The orange has its Vitamin C to help as well. Lemon is very cleansing, so perhaps an orange would be similar? I’m only speculating here to figure out why orange, salt, and boiled water might alleviate a cough. I always use lemon, ginger, and honey with hot water. I add black tea if it’s daytime.

  17. Hi Corazon,
    My mother is Filipino, too and I grew up having ginger a lot, especially when sick. Lugao (rice porridge) with chicken and ginger was a common dish when we were sick as well as a tea of lemon, ginger, and honey. Today, I’m a big fan of ginger for rejuvenation. I appreciate your perspective greatly as your psychology background lends new insight that resonates with my experiences. Thank you for sharing!

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