An American’s Guide to Russian Medical Beliefs

As I found out on my trip to Russia, if you ask a Russian why they’re sick, nine times out of ten, they’ll blame the weather or a problem involving atmospheric pressure or the fact that there’s a chance they sat on concrete under a clear sky while not wearing a hat—ANYTHING along those lines. It’s safe to say that Russians have some medical beliefs that seem a little bogus to westerners; but hey, whatever floats their boat is fine by me. Plus, I’ve also come to realize that arguing with a Russian is pointless and a waste of time if you are trying to change their mind about something they learned from their Babooshka. P.S. These are all legit saying and healing cures I heard of while traveling all over Russia:

Snow in russia

If you have a drink with ice in it, you will get a sore throat.


If you don’t wear a hat, you will get sick.


A lot of people will feel ill on a day when there is much atmospheric pressure.


If you sit in the draft, you’ll catch a cold.


If someone gives you the evil eye, you will get sick frequently.


One hundred grams of vodka will cure anything.


If you get the flu, your grandma can cure you with mustard plasters.


A stuffy nose will always be cured by inhaling potato vapors.


Always treat a cold with fire cupping.


Cancer can be cured by with herbal teas.


If you sit on concrete, your ovaries will freeze.


Take these medical beliefs with a grain of salt or a spoonful of borsh, it’s up to you. All I know, is that if I have a cold in Russia, I’ll try the fire cupping, but I won’t be banking on it to cure me of my ailments. Before traveling make sure you have a solid travelers insurance program, one that will cover you, just incase you end up sitting on cold concrete. In the unlucky case that insurance wont pay for the abovementioned medical maladies, there are also other companies out there who have steadfast track records of getting maximum compensation for people injured while abroad. is one of those well respected companies. So before you start inhaling potato vapors, check what they have to offer! I’m definitely not saying that these remedies won’t help, but you know, It’s better to be safe than sorry!