My mom, when I would get sick, would make me drink lots of hot tea, or sometimes soup, believing that it helps.

Edit: As followup on comments: There is fair confusion on why am I asking about water and not specific beverages used, and there is reason for that - I am not looking for tea having caffeine or soup having nutrients that would help to recover kind of answer, but rather on beverage which is mainly water being hot, I recall being fed them as hot as possible, and once/if they would cool off being reheated/replaced by new ones. So focus really is on hotness not type of beverage or it's nutritional value.

Does drinking hot tea (or other hot drinks) help when you're sick?

  • 2
    What kind of sickness are you talking about?
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 12:12
  • @WYSIWYG Hi, not a doctor myself, I would assume anything that puts you into bed and makes you have a fewer, and thanks for migrating the question. Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 12:18
  • 1
    So, polio, then? Okay, I'm joking ;-) But really, you might want to restrict this.
    – YviDe
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 12:55
  • I think soup and warm beverages like tea have been home remedies for centuries in various cultures, but I must say I've never heard anyone suggest hot water. Do you really mean to ask about hot water as your title asks or do you mean soups and hot beverages? Please edit your question to clarify.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 14:22
  • @CareyGregory soups and beverages, however emphasis is on beverages being hot Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


Hot fluids(including water) can:

  • Relieve Nasal Congestion

  • Prevent Dehydration

  • Soothe Uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line the nose and throat

By relieving symptoms you can make a person feel as if they are well or getting better. So yes I would say it helps. So just the hotness of the fluid can be a benefit.

From a study:

“The hot drink provided immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness,” they reported, “whereas the same drink at room temperature only provided relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough and sneezing.”

So when assessing the opportunities of tea over water, the answer could be antioxidants. Green and Black tea have 10x the antioxidants that are found in fruits and vegetables. Which if you accept that antioxidants help in sickness this could be your answer, just as extra.

  • Instead of quoting the NYT, which is quoting a study, it would be better to link to the original study, which is this: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19145994
    – YviDe
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 21:15
  • @YviDe Thanks.I'll try to edit it in soon.
    – Pobrecita
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 0:55

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