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I've heard lots of people claim that whisky or rum or "hot toddies" help with symptoms of a sore throat or a cold.

Does it really or is it just people feeling more relaxed because they had a drink?

Some variants also state that it actually helps reduce the healing time, but that seems far-fetched.

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depends on the reason for the sore throat I suspect. Some times the best medicine is to sleep and let your body devote the resources to fight the cold. Alcohol can help with that for some –  Chad Nov 11 '12 at 2:45
    
Can you provide a credible source making this claim? –  jdstankosky Nov 12 '12 at 17:23
    
@jdstankosky Here's an article on lifehacker making a very similar claim (and one from wikihow). I don't think the claim needs to come from a credible source (that's for the references provided in answers), or am I wrong? –  Daniel B Nov 14 '12 at 12:41
    
@DanielB It doesn't have to necessarily be a credible claim, but it should be a notable one. This is just to avoid the, "Oh, my buddy told me this ... is it true?" isolated claims. If it's a notable claim (ie. many people saying it, a credible source claiming it, isolated and seperate claims to something similar), then it's worth digging into. I was just curious if there was any credible claim to this, being a non-alcohol drinker. –  jdstankosky Nov 14 '12 at 22:03
    
@jdstankosky Thanks for the clarification. I think in that case, the links above make it fit in with the notable definition. –  Daniel B Nov 15 '12 at 6:22

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