Vivaporú and Hella Honey: 10 Cold Season Remedies Your Parents Swear By

Lead Photo: Photo by Westend61
Photo by Westend61
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When cold season finally gets you, some may recommend that you get plenty of rest and fluids. And while that’s a necessary component in the recovery process, across Latino and Latin American households, our parents and abuelitos are also relying on their own medicinal techniques. We can’t speak to whether these methods actually work, but we can say that lime and honey seem to be the stars of cold season remedies.

Below, check out 10 cold season remedies your family swears by.



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Known as the Latino cure-all, Vaporú is the MVP during cold season. And though we can all agree that this ointment is necessary during winter, not everyone uses it in the exact same way. Some heat it up, others even eat it (even though we’re 100 percent sure Proctor and Gamble does not sign off on these uses). The ointment can be applied under nostrils, on your feet, your chest, and your forehead.

Another way to make the topical ointment more effective (particularly in children), according to some Latina moms, is to add newspapers. After applying Vaporú to your chest, add a strip of newspaper that will remain in place all night.


Mustard Ointment

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Much like Vaporú, this remedy is applied to the chest. Mustard is mixed with an egg white and flour until it becomes doughlike. It can then be applied to someone’s chest with a handkerchief.


Tea made from orange peels and/or limes
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Tea is a go-to remedy worldwide, but in some parts of Latin America, people brew orange peels to create a potent tea. Limes can be added whole or diced as well. The goal is to put it on the heat for a little bit of time so that it doesn’t become too bitter. The tea is supposed to hydrate and decongest.


Pisco con Limón

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In Chile and Peru, many swear by this pisco and lime remedy. The drink is mixed with lime, and both ingredients are supposed to get you sweating.


Onion and honey

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A mixture of onion and honey is said to reduce cough symptoms and help your immune system fight what’s ailing you. After peeling and cutting the onion into large pieces, you should place it in a pot with water until it boils. After letting the mixture sit for a few minutes, you add honey and lime. The remedy should be consumed several times a day.


A spoonful of olive oil

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Olive oil is known for its many health benefits, so it’s not surprising that it’s used to treat colds. A spoonful of olive oil taken several times a day is supposedly enough to get your feeling better in no time. If the thought of just swallowing a cucharada of EVOO seems unappetizing, you can also add honey to sweeten it. Also, the two ingredients can help fight off stomach aches.


Lime and honey

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Both lime and honey are known for their cold-fighting properties, so combining them in a tea makes natural sense.


Salt + water

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For many sore throats, salt water has come in clutch. Gargle the salty concoction and your throat should feel some relief.


Tequila and lime

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All you need for this remedy is a shotglass-worth of tequila and some lime. Because tequila is so strong, it’s believed that it can help eliminate some bacteria, but it can also help you sleep, which can be difficult when you’re battling a cold.


Caldo de pollo

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If you want to go for tried and true, then you should turn to caldo de pollo. Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that can make colds less miserable.