The British are famous for their reserve and “stiff upper lip” policy as life happens to them. The first reported case of the Wuhan respiratory coronavirus in the United Kingdom is a man who defied his doctor’s orders and cured himself with an old folk remedy – a warmed beverage made from strong whiskey and sweet honey.
Connor Reed (25) hails from Llandudno in North Wales. He has lived in China for three years. Reed moved to Wuhan to teach English during the summer of 2019.
In December 2019, Chinese doctors at Zhongnan University Hospital diagnosed the foreign language instructor, a white Caucasian, with one of the first documented instances of the new strain of coronavirus that has upset world financial markets as China and other Asian nations lockdown transportation systems and impose city-wide quarantines to help prevent the spread of the disease.
The young Welshman visited a hospital after suffering from a persistent cough and trouble breathing – classic signs of a respiratory virus or lung infection. Reed shared how he felt when he found out he had an unknown, untreatable, and incurable type of pneumonia-like disease:
“I was stunned when the doctors told me I was suffering from the virus. I thought I was going to die but I managed to beat it.”
In addition to the conventional treatment provided by his medical team, Connor resorted to a home cure renowned for its effectiveness but largely overlooked by mainstream science: the Hot Toddy:
“I used the inhaler which helped control the cough and drank a hot whiskey with honey until that ran out.”
The Hot Toddy is an iconic drink that became popular in England after colonists from India emigrated to the British Isles and brought their traditional recipe for a “taddy.” This brew is made from fermented palm sap. Documents from 1786 described the taddy as a “beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices.”
“Taddy” became “Toddy” in jolly old England and pubs started adding hot water into Scotch whiskey to warm the cockles of their hearts and soothe those wintry coughs and fevers. Rum and brandy are other favorite ingredients of a classic Hot Toddy – whatever potent alcoholic beverage is at hand.
Here’s a recipe to make a basic at-home treatment to help break up bronchial congestion and relieve a sore throat and cough:
1½ ounce brown liquor (brandy, whiskey or rum)
1 tablespoon honey
½ ounce lemon juice
8 ounce (1 cup) hot water
Lemon wedge, cinnamon stick and star anise, for garnish (optional)
Combine the first four ingredients into the bottom of a warmed mug. If desired, garnish with the lemon, cinnamon stick or star anise.
Science says that the ingredients in a hot toddy act exactly as non-prescription Nyquil does: reduce nasal congestion and promote drowsiness for healing rest.
Alcohol in the whiskey kills infectious microorganisms and is a powerful decongestant that dilates (expands) the body’s blood vessels to better drain and expectorate (expel by coughing) mucus.
Connor had snubbed the conventional medications his caregivers endorsed, saying:
“I did refuse to take the antibiotics the doctors prescribed me because I didn’t want to take any medicines.”
The English-as-a-Second-Language teacher was not informed by his doctors after they determined he was infected with a harmful new disease:
“It was only when I called back a couple of weeks ago that they told me I’d had the coronavirus.”
Connor’s employer closed up shop as Wuhan clamped down on medical security in public places. Highways that bustled a month ago are now eerily silent and devoid of vehicle traffic:
“Wuhan is becoming a real ghost town — there is hardly anybody in the streets and the shops are running low of fresh fruit and vegetables. And there is no medicine or masks left in the pharmacies.”
Not having a protective face mask is a definite liability in Wuhan, according to the man who beat the Wuhan coronavirus:
“If you go out without a mask, the police will arrest you.”
Connor stands by his natural treatment plan of hot honeyed liquor:
“It’s an old fashioned remedy but it seemed to do the trick.”
Connor reported that Chinese officials realize the possible severity of this viral outbreak and have stepped up efforts to control the contagion:
“The authorities are really worried about how to contain this and stop it spreading.”
But when the teacher informed the British Foreign Office of his diagnosis, his national representatives seemed “disinterested” in the news. The UK officials did offer to let the infected man travel outside of Wuhan – a known way to spread a contagious disease:
“They kept asking if I wanted a place on a flight out but I said no. I’ll stick it out here.”
Connor’s case is landmark because, at age 25 and presumably in otherwise good health, the educator survived the Wuhan coronavirus. In his own words:
“I am proof coronavirus can be beaten.”