By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
A cup of hot tea is an age-old balm for sniffles, sneezing and stuffiness.
The Claim: Hot Liquids Can Ease Symptoms of a Cold or Flu
Hot liquids, it is said, help loosen secretions in the chest and sinuses, making them easier to expel and ultimately clearing up congestion.
The fluids are also meant to reverse dehydration.
But only recently have scientists examined whether the effect is real. In December, researchers at the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University in Britain looked at whether hot beverages relieved the symptoms of 30 people suffering from the flu or common cold any better than drinks at room temperature. They found that the contrast was marked.
“The hot drink provided immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness,” they reported, “whereas the same drink at room temperature only provided relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough and sneezing.”
While this was the first study to look specifically at the effects of hot drinks on cold and flu symptoms, others have looked at hot foods like chicken soup and had similar results.
Chicken soup also contains cold-fighting compounds that help dissolve mucus in the lungs and suppress inflammation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Research confirms that a hot beverage can reduce congestion and other cold and flu symptoms.