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When I was growing up, my abuela lived with my family for some time. Thanks to her, I learned how to cook and also learned about the easy home remedies she used in her native Colombia. My abuela pretty much always had a solution for everything from a stomachache to a bad cold. In a way, she was my personal at-home healer, and I still use her remedies to this day. With flu season coming up and viruses spreading all over the place, chances are everyone around you in the office or school will be sick.

You want to do your best to remain as healthy as possible during this time of year — especially with the holidays just around the corner. Stave off those ailments with these simple remedies inspired by my abuela. The best part is that you probably already have the majority of these ingredients in your fridge or pantry.

Related From Vivala: Immune-Boosting Herbs to Keep You Healthy

Lemon and honey

The classic limón y miel remedy is perfect for when you have a sore throat. Whether your throat soreness is caused by a cold or plain old allergies, a mixture of warmed up honey and lime can help soothe it and kill germs lurking in there.

Rue tea

If you have irregular periods or your period is late, te de ruda is said to help induce your periods. The herb, which is a yellow shade, grows on a shrub and is powerful enough that it can help you if you suffer from irregular cycles. Just make sure to check with your doctor if you have any health conditions before drinking it.


One of the most vivid memories I have is when my abuela would make me changua when I had an upset stomach. She would prepare the soup, which consists of milk, a cooked egg, parsley, and white toast. Although it doesn’t sound appetizing, it was flavorful and always managed to make me feel better.

Lemongrass tea

When I had problems getting to sleep, my abuela would prepare a te de hierba luisa also known as good old lemongrass tea. The herb is known to relax the muscles and nerves, which makes it easier to fall into a deep slumber.

Honey, lemon, minced garlic, and diced onion blend

This unpleasant sounding mixture which I used to combat colds at home. You had to pinch your nose when drinking this because it was not tasty by any means. However, it always managed to cut down the duration of my colds and helped clear any respiratory infections.  

Vicks Vaporub

If you walk into any Latino household, chances are they have a jar of Vicks Vaporub lying around. It was my go-to remedy whenever I came down with a cold or felt myself getting sick. I remember my abuela rubbing it on the soles of my feet because she said it would help open up the airways in my nose when I was congested. I guess she was onto something because it always worked!

Related From Vivala: You Probably Have Herpes, but Don’t Freak Out