4 Japanese Home Remedies for the Common Cold

With the coldest months of this winter ahead of us, let’s take a look at how the Japanese tackle the common cold and stay healthy with four Japanese home remedies using natural ingredients.

1. Hachimitsu Daikon

Hachimitsu daikon (which literally translates to honey daikon) is a Japanese natural remedy for colds, coughs and sore throats. Daikon is high in vitamin C and rich in enzymes that help to dissolve mucus thus making it easy for the body to expel it. Honey (hachimitsu) is effective at soothing throat inflammation. To make the syrup, dice the daikon and put it into a container, cover it evenly with honey and put the lid on. Leave the honey-daikon mixture at room temperature for around 3 hours. There is no need to completely submerge the daikon in honey as the daikon juice will seep out making a natural cough syrup. The daikon syrup can be consumed 2-3 times a day either straight or by adding a tablespoon to a cup of hot water to make a soothing tea. It can be stored in the fridge up to a week.

2. Umeboshi

Often found in Japanese home remedies, Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) are trusted for the prevention and treatment of a range of ailments that include combating fatigue, stimulating digestion and controlling coughs. A hot drink can be made with umeboshi to help reduce a fever. The umeboshi is chopped into small pieces and steeped in hot tea or water. The resulting hot drink causes you to sweat thus lowering your temperature.

3. Tamagozake

Tamagozake is a kind of eggnog made with heated sake, honey or sugar and a raw egg. It is a traditional home remedy for the common cold in Japan. The sake is believed to bring on a deep sleep while the egg strengthens the immune system, thus helping to cure the cold. To make the drink, mix 1 beaten egg with 2 teaspoons of honey/ sugar and heat 180ml of sake over a low flame. Slowly add the egg-honey mixture to the warmed sake and stir continuously until a thick and creamy drink is formed. The sweet drink is consumed while still hot. For children and people who do not drink alcohol, the sake can be boiled to evaporate the alcohol and cooled slightly before adding the egg-honey mixture over a low flame.

4. Shoga-yu

Shoga-yu or hot ginger drink is a popular home remedy for colds in Japan. The drink is made from ginger, honey and sugar and consumed during the winter season. The ginger warms the body and its anti-viral properties aid the body to combat a cold. To make the tea, pour boiling water over 1 tablespoon of grated ginger and 1 teaspoon of honey/ sugar in a cup. Let the mixture steep for 3-5 minutes before drinking.

Written by:
Cook in Japan – a guide to buying food in Japan