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A hot, fruity drink can really help to ease the symptoms of a common cold, researchers have discovered - just like Granny said.

What's been discovered?

Researchers at the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff are the first to discover that a hot drink really can help reduce the symptoms of a winter cold. 30 volunteers with cold-like symptoms were asked to drink the same apple and blackcurrant cordial, made with hot and cold water and the results were monitored.

The hot version of the drink gave 'immediate and sustained relief' to the volunteers' symptoms, helping a runny nose, cough, sneezes, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness.

Why does it help?

There seems to be little reason behind the cordial's miracle cure apart from the fact that hot fluids have a soothing effect on the symptoms of a cold.

The study also considered the possibility that the taste, smell and temperature of the blackcurrant squash might have a psychological effect on the patient, making them feel better.

Have other studies been done into common cold cures?

Yes, herbal remedy echinacea, plant supplement purple coneflower, and zinc lozenges will all help to speed up recovery from a common cold, studies have found.

Other ways to reduce your chances of getting ill include regular exercise, eating your five-a-day and smiling to cut your stress levels.

What do the experts say?

Professor Ron Eccles, director at the Common Cold Centre said: 'With temperatures falling, cold viruses love this time of year. A bottle of fruit cordial in the cupboard could help fight off the symptoms. The big advantage is that it's cheap as well as safe and effective.'

Sources: Daily Mail, BBC News

Where to next?

- Try our hot witch's brew punch

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Becky Gray

Ive got a bit of a cold at the mo so I tried some hot blackcurrant when I saw this in the paper and it really worked! Made me feel a lot better

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