'Elderflowers when dried or deep-frozen are good for making tea, for use against colds. It tastes horrid! My aunt used to combine them with peppermint (even worse!).'
Mordiford, Hereford, UK, 2001
'In southern Colorado and New Mexico a plant called osha (Ligusticum porterii) is very important to the Hispanic population. I live in the area and have seen locals use it (and have tried it myself). Common names are bear root, cough root and cuchupate. The hairy root is either chewed or made into a tincture to treat colds and flu, while the greens are used for flavouring. Externally it is used for various skin ailments (scrapes and rashes). The active ingredients are not water-soluble. Keeping a piece of the root in your pocket is said to keep rattlesnakes away.'
Golden, Colorado, U.S.A., 2003
'In Sri Lanka, a traditional treatment for colds and flu is to boil the seeds of the coriander plant (Coriandrum sativum) until the water turns brownish, and the spicy, earthy scent is released. Drink hot with sugar or honey to sweeten. It's an acquired taste, but absolutely effective in preventing a sniffle from becoming worse or to provide relief once illness has taken hold. It is also gentle enough for use by small children, pregnant women and the elderly.'
London, UK, July 2003