Winter is here and unfortunately for us in the UK that means it’s cold and flu season. Are you fed up of trying the same old things and still getting the dreaded cold and it lasting for weeks. Well why not try something new! We have done our research here at Benito HQ to the Japanese alternative ways to fight the season of the flu.

Umeboshi (Pickled Plum)

These pickled plums aren’t for the faint hearted. They have a distinctive sour and pungent flavour. However, they are packed with a wonderful medicinal power. These help to fight fatigue, aiding digestion and great rescue to a hangover (this is something we always look for). Originally in Japan the Umeboshi is placed in the centre of the rice to kill germs and preserve the fresh taste. The plums can be eaten by themselves, added to tea or hot water or eaten with rice.

For feeling under the weather this is great to add to boiling water by adding 1 to 2 broken up Umeboshi. Drinking this tea will help fight flu-like nausea and will also help to eliminate any toxins from your body.

Hachimitsu-Daikon (Honey with Daikon)

Fed up of the classic honey and lemon not doing anything for you.The Japanese take on this classic is using Daikon, which is a white Japanese radish instead of a lemon.  This is packed with Vitamin C and in special enzymes that act as mucolytic agents — in other words, help to dissolve and expel mucus. This remedy will work for colds, coughs, and sore throats. Honey has natural antibiotic as well as anti-inflammatory properties which are effective in soothing throat inflammation.

To prepare it at home, simply chop about a handful of daikon and put it into a glass container, then cover the chopped daikon evenly with honey and put the lid on. Leave the honey-daikon mixture at room temperature for approximately three to four hours. The prepared syrup can be taken 2-3 times a day (1 Tbsp./time) either straight or by adding a tablespoon to a cup of hot water to make a soothing tea. The mixture will last for about a week when stored in the fridge. You can be known as the cold and cough healer with this magic medicine.

Shoga-Yu (Hot Ginger Tea)

Shoga-yu, or hot ginger tea, is one of the most common and easily accessible home remedies for colds in Japan. Ginger has high levels of Vitamin C and amino acids. To make the tea, boil a small pot of water with a medium sized ginger root which has been peeled and cut into small pieces. Boil with the lid on for approximately 20-30 minutes. Drink 3-5 times per day. You will notice your cold starting to go in no time with the power of tea.

Tamago-zake (Hot Sake & Egg)

Tamago-sake, otherwise known as a type of eggnog made by heating up sake with honey and raw egg. This is an ancient Japanese natural remedy for stubborn colds and flus. Said to bring on deep sleep while strengthening the immune system, this drink is best consumed before bedtime for overnight healing.

To prepare, mix one beaten egg with two teaspoons of honey and heat 180ml of sake over low-heat. Slowly add the egg-honey mixture to the warmed sake and stir continuously until a thick and creamy drink is formed. Tamago-zake should be consumed while still hot.


Head to your local Asian grocers and ask for these items they may stock the ingredients. Once you have the ingredients you can try the Japanese style of tackling the season of the cold and flu. This might be the cure you have been waiting for.

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