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Tartar tea. Hot sand. Readers swear by their cures for the common--and uncommon--cold.


From "The Guggle Muggle" to "The Nasty Tea" to "The Recipe," Southern Californians have a pharmacy full of home cures that they claim stop colds and flu dead in their tracks.

As we crawl and cough alongside you during this, one of the ugliest flu seasons in a decade, we make no guarantees that any of these remedies remedy.

We suggest that you check with your physician before trying a remedy if there is any doubt, or if you have a condition aggravated by salt, alcohol or any of the ingredients listed below. Alcohol should not be given to children.


* "Onion Juice"

Ruth Anderson, Canyon Country

Fill a teacup with chopped onions, sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar. Invert a saucer on top and then turn over so that the cup is upside down in the saucer. Place it in a warm place (stove top or warm oven) for several hours until the warm juice collects in the saucer. Spoon up onion juice and swallow.

"It tastes great and we swore up and down it got rid of whatever was ailing us!"

* "Blender Remedy"

Deborah A. Mitchell, Culver City

Take one large onion (red onion is preferable), add three pieces of garlic. Dice, then put in blender with a tablespoon each of honey and lemon. Liquefy until completely blended. You can either strain the mixture or pour it into a bottle. Swallow a tablespoon of it every four hours.

"The recipe is one that my family uses when we get a cold. Even though it may sound unappetizing, the kids love it."

* "Sure-Fire Way to End Your Flu-Time Suffering"

Denise Royal, Canoga Park

Squeeze three to four fresh lemons, removing the seeds. Slowly bring to a boil. Add one or two cloves of fresh, crushed garlic and reduce heat. Simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup honey, 1/8 teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Simmer for five more minutes and stir from time to time. Pour into large mug and serve. It is necessary not only to drink all the liquid, but also to eat the pulp of the lemon and garlic.

"This was given to me by a friend once when I was on my deathbed. I thought I'd never get it down, but the next day I was healed! Since that day, I've been a believer in the natural way."

* "The Guggle Muggle"

Annette Baran, Los Angeles

Heat some milk to scalding. Add a generous tablespoonful of honey. Stir well. Beat an egg to froth. Add to liquid. (Be careful to mix without curdling.) Add a drop or more of whiskey, depending on age of patient. Serve hot, and make sure the ailing one drinks a full cupful or more, sipping slowly and swallowing thoroughly. Repeat every four to six hours, if necessary. Some families add cinnamon, nutmeg or cocoa.

"Its origins are Eastern European, probably Lithuanian Jewish. In my ghetto neighborhood of Chicago, we children were dosed with the Guggle Muggle at the first sign of a respiratory infection. It was reputed to have extraordinary powers to strengthen the immune system, kill the bacteria and soothe the sore throat, raw cough and congested chest. . . . A well-made Guggle Muggle was not unpleasant, but if not emulsified properly, the result was to gag, without a doubt."

* "For Fever"

Norma Kalina, Van Nuys

Take one thumb-size piece of ginger root, washed and peeled, and boil in a cup or so of water for two or three minutes.

Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon honey and juice from half a lemon. Drink as hot as possible, as quickly as possible.

"The recipe was given to me by a Hawaiian acquaintance."

* "Cure for Colds--Common or Uncommon"

Mary Hambleton, Torrance

Ingredients: one heaping teaspoon baking soda, grapefruit, sugar (optional).

Squeeze juice from grapefruit. Strain. Add sugar, if necessary. Pour into large glass. Put baking soda into another large glass. Pour grapefruit juice into glass with the baking soda. Pour from glass to glass two or three times over sink because it will fizz unmercifully. Drink immediately.

"It must help. Mom always used it and she is 95 years old with all six children living and well and most of us in our 70s. Of course, it doesn't hurt her to spend her winters in Florida."

* "Elixir of Grapefruit Rind"

Susan Hiscock, Sherman Oaks

Cut up a complete grapefruit. Put in pot of water and boil two to three minutes. Drink warm or cold.

"Absolute cure!"

Soups and Teas

* "Spicy and Sour Shrimp Soup"

Matt Easton, Los Angeles

Stop in at your favorite Thai restaurant and get Spicy and Sour Shrimp Soup. Ask for it as spicy as possible. Take it home.

"Eat it slowly while reading your current book."

* "Bob's Onion Soup"

Hilary Hartman Kip, Van Nuys

Ingredients: one large yellow onion sliced into fine rings (about 1/8 inch thick), one 15-ounce can chicken stock or broth (low sodium is preferable), three or four cloves garlic (minimum) minced, one tablespoon olive oil ( not butter, not margarine), 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

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