Húsleves chicken soup
Photo: www.katarzis.cafeblog.hu

Hungarians rely on their own folk remedies when it comes to fighting a nasty cold or simply strengthening our immune system during the coldest time of the year.

November weather has been extremely generous to us so far, but we should be prepared for the real cold when it arrives. Hungarians often associate winter with sickness. There is less Vitamin D and fresh vegetables during winter, and our immune system needs an extra boost to keep those bastard bacteria out. Here are 4 + 1 folk remedies Hungarians believe in when the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius.

Healing foods

The simplest way to strengthen your immune system is having proper nutrition. If you are too late and already have a cold or sore throat, do not worry. Hungarians eat a wide variety of foods because they believe in their healing power.

Traditional Hungarian húsleves a.k.a. chicken soup

Húsleves is a cherished, traditional starter for any family celebration, wedding, or a typical Sunday lunch. However, it is also the dish Hungarians go for when they are feeling under the weather. It is basically a hug in a bowl; it is rich, warm, and full of vegetables and vitamins.

Húsleves chicken soup
Photo: www.katarzis.cafeblog.hu

It is actually similar to chicken noodle soup, which is a well-known remedy in the United States. However, the Hungarian version is different. First, we do not put wide noodles in it. Some Hungarian families actually prefer the soup without any kind of pasta, but the most commonly used type is called cérnametélt, which is an extremely thin pasta. The stars of the soup are definitely the vegetables and the cooked chicken. This clear golden liquid is cooked very slowly, usually for 3-4 hours, and it is forbidden to stir it. You must add the vegetables and spices very gently to the mix. Here, you can find a great recipe.

If you are into soups, read our other articles on the topic:

Garlic (and other types of onion)

Garlic is definitely one of Hungarians’ all-time favourite ingredients (next to paprika). But we eat it not only because it makes everything spicy and delicious but because of its many health benefits.

Record - longest string of garlic Makó

Garlic is not only antibacterial, but it also has mucus-relieving effects. It can help cleanse our bodies. Hungarians believe that garlic is one of the most effective vegetables to eat to fight respiratory illnesses. Put it on your toast in the morning and you are good to go.

Fun fact: Hungarians often mix garlic and honey, the two wonder cures, and have that on their toast.


Hungarians practically bath in honey when they have a cold. Honey has a disinfecting effect and serves as an inflammation relief. It is highly recommended to eat more honey during the cold seasons when people are more likely to catch a cold. You are advised to have a nice cup of tea with a teaspoon of honey just to stay healthy.

Apart from the medical benefits, Hungarian honey has a unique and delicious flavour you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Honey-making actually has an ancient history in Hungary. There are traces that there were beekeepers already in medieval Hungary, who were mostly teachers or monks. Hungarian acacia honey has been officially registered as a Hungaricum since 2014.

Steam inhalation

Stuffy nose? My grandmother always had her home remedies ready. We went into the bathroom, and I had to inhale saltwater steam with a towel on my head. Breathing in moist, warm steam helps with irritation and swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages. It can also help thin the mucus in your sinuses, which allows them to empty more easily and you can breathe normally again.

+1 Pálinka

You did not think I would leave this off the list, did you? A shot of palinka a day keeps the doctor away.

pálinka, Hungary, drink
Photo: www.facebook.com/pálinka.hu

Obviously, do not drink palinka every day, but if you are feeling under the weather or have a nasty cold, it can actually work miracles. The theory that pálinka helps fight off a cold has been debunked by professionals, but I can honestly say that it has helped me several times. Placebo or not, what works, works.

Source: Daily News Hungary; www.edenkert.hu;

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