feed a cold, starve a fever

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An old wives' tale that dates back to 1574 from the original "Fasting is a great remedie of fever."[1]


feed a cold, starve a fever

  1. Expressing the common belief that eating more will cure the common cold, and eating less will cure a fever.[2]
    • 1887, J. H. Whelan, “The Treatment of Colds,”, in The Practitioner, volume 38, page 180:
      "Feed a cold, starve a fever." There is a deal of wisdom in the first part of this advice. A person with a catarrh should take an abundance of light nutritious food, and some light wine, but avoid spirits, and above all tobacco.
    • 1968, Katinka Loeser, The Archers at Home, New York: Atheneum, page 60:
      I have a cold. 'Feed a cold, starve a fever.' You certainly know that.
    • 2009, Shelly Reuben, Tabula Rasa, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, →ISBN, page 60:
      They say feed a cold, starve a fever, but they don't tell you what to do when you got both, so I figured scrambled eggs, tea, and toast.



  1. ^ The Harvard Crimson. "Help Me, Harvey!" [1]. Available: [2]. Accessed: September 2, 2009.
  2. ^ What you eat when you’re sick may determine if you’ll get better[3]