Have you ever heard of a hot toddy? I’m pretty sure that most of us are unfamiliar with it. We, Indonesians or Asians in general may be unfamiliar because hot toddy is almost exclusively consumed in western culture.
So, what actually is the hot toddy? A hot toddy is a hot mixed drink made out of water, liquor, honey or sugar, herbs, tea, as well as spices. Hot toddy has various recipes in truth, so the ingredients above are basically the ones generally in use. It is drunk for relaxation and warmth purposes, such as before you sleep after a long hard day of work, during a cold winter or rainy night. It is also thought that the purpose of this drink has extended to being a remedy for common cold or flu.
The Origins of Hot Toddy
Hot Toddy is considered a Western drink, despite no precise location of where it originates. The earliest known reference to toddy is its 1786 definition that says “A beverage made out of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar and spices.” The term “toddy” is also thought to come from the Indian term of the same spelling, which is a result of sap fermentation of palm trees.
However, another claim of the origins says that a man named Robert Bentley Todd was credited for creating the prescription of a similar drink made out of brandy, canella or white cinnamon, sugar, syrup and water. Hence, the second theory claims that the term “toddy” is named after the founder instead. Here are also the incredible health benefits of replacing sugar with honey.
And now, what are the health benefits of hot toddy ?
The Ultimate Cure of Common Cold and Flu
This is perhaps the largest health benefits the hot toddy can bring. In case you don’t know, common cold is caused due to overwork, exhaustion, low immune protection, or contamination from others who also has cold or flu. Common cold or flu has the symptoms of a runny nose, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, slight body ache, up to fever. It is the most common disease that anyone can get affected and yet it is also one of the simplest to treat. Depending on the person, common cold can be cured just by resting or consuming over-the-counter medicines.
Hot toddy has a special trait of being a general beverage that works like a medicine. For decades, people have consumed the hot toddy as a natural cure to the symptoms of flu. And for the most part, it works because your brain suggests that it actually works, not because of some actual scientific theories behind it. But by looking at its composition, that idea can also be scientifically proven as well. Here are how each ingredients of the hot toddy can provide an all-in-one flu treatment.
By the way, these are also the 15 proven benefits of ginger root for colds and flu.
- Whiskey is a Wonderful Decongestant
Whiskey is an effective decongestant because alcohol dilates the blood vessels, hence making the mucus membranes do an easier job to deal with infections. This works even better if combined with a tinge of honey, lemon and hot steam released by the hot toddy. There you go! What better way to cure common cold than consuming a nice cup of hot toddy! These are the health benefits of whiskey for cold.
- Alcohol Gives Warmth to the Body
When we consume alcohol, the substance travels through the whole body via blood streams. Alcohol reaches every internal organ that we have and it mixes with our body liquids really well.
An interesting yet mind-blowing reality is that despite providing warmth to the body, alcohol does not increase our body temperatures at all. Alcohol also gives an impression of warmth by manipulating the receptor inside your throat that determines how cold or hot is something based on your actual body temperature.
Alcohol manipulates the receptor by requesting much lower temperature so that it reads the normal throat temperature while creating a warm illusion throughout the body. Meanwhile, our body temperature actually gets lower.
- Honey Works to Reduce Coughs and Sore Throat Remedy
Honey is widely regarded as an organic yet affordable solution to coughs. One study has it that honey actually treats coughs and sore throat way much better compared to the over-the-counter medicines that you see in pharmacies, thanks to dextromethorphan. Dextromethorphan or DM is a cough suppressant that is related to morphine, with sedative, dissociative as well as stimulant properties.
Meanwhile, you can create your own simple remedy at home by mixing two teaspoons of honey with warm water, hot tea or lemon. Honey soothes and lubricates the throat, whereas lemon eases the congestion. These are the 43 Benefits of Honey for Eyes, Beauty and Overall Health.
- Honey Improves Sleep Quality
Honey improves sleep quality and promote relaxation because the natural sugar inside it raises our insulin levels slightly and allows tryptophan to enter our brains more easily. According to Dr. Ron Fessenden, honey also improves sleep quality because it contains an ideal ratio of fructose to glucose to support the liver, which works non-stop as we sleep. In order for the liver to function well during our sleep it needs to have a sufficient amount of glycogen, which is more or less the fuel in order for the liver to function properly.
- Alcohol Also Promotes Sleep, But…
Alcohol promotes sleep because it is a mild relaxant. When you drink alcohol before bed, it makes you sleep faster. However, one must take note that despite you may be unconscious, you spend less time in deep sleep and more time in the less restful Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. Therefore, you may wake up feeling restless as if you haven’t slept for a few days. That’s why, never depend on alcohol to get some sleep.
Those are the health benefits of health toddy and how each specific ingredient has its own designated roles to our bodies. Maybe hot toddy may not work well in Indonesia, but if you happen to be living in a cold country and are having cold at the same time, why not you give it a try?