'Tis the season where most of us will be struggling to fight off a nasty cold that would have us reaching for the lemsip, but it turns out there's a better cure. 

Sure, you can get vitamin C tablets or eat healthily and wrap up warm, but it seems that there's one cure for the common cold that not all of us are using to its full potential: booze.

A study from the Oregon Health & Science University found that, using 12 rhesus macaques (whose immune system is very similar to ours), a few jars can help to boost your defences against the common cold. 

The macaques were split in to two groups, one that were given a 4 percent ethanol cocktail to drink as they saw fit, and one that were given a sugar water substitute. Like humans, they found that some drank too much and were pretty much sozzled all the time, while others drank moderately, keeping their blood alcohol level between 0.02 and 0.04. 

The monkeys were then given a booster shot, and the group that drank moderately "demonstrated an enhanced immune response", even better than the monkeys who had no booze. Those who drank too much were in big trouble though, as their system failed to react properly and did not produce the anitbodies that the vaccine was supposed to create.

The study was cautious about claiming booze was a miracle cure, and did state that over-drinking in fact damages the immune system, but that a moderate amount did seem to give your defences a bit of a spike. We're off to make a hot whiskey so...

Via MotherJones