Indre Kisonas

I have a bug. It’s one that has been shared and cultivated at this cold and wintery time of year. My weak spot is my lungs, so I am coughing more than sniffling. It is irritating however to all my householders, so I reach for my natural cure.

It is a remedy that came from my European grandmother. Those wise old women of yesteryear who lived by the seasons and listened to the earth. People ate and foraged what grew in that season, pickled and preserved the excess. Herbs and fungi were dried and stored in cellars. Medicines came from nature, as I also am a great believer in the earth providing all we need, I try to access the known healing properties of herbs and plants. We only need to learn what and how to use it.

This led me to thinking about the Old Wives Tales that somewhere, have a base of truth. Carrots help you see in the dark, don’t you know? Well, they are a great source of vitamin A from beta-carotene, K1, biotin and potassium but the Air Ministry in WW11 had invented the radar to intercept bombers on night raids. They started the myth that British pilots were eating a lot of carrots to give them exceptional night vision. Carrots certainly became a more popular vegetable after this time and the myth still exists.

Shaving makes hair grow back thicker they say. I can understand young men wanting to prove their maturity by wanting to grow a full beard, so they are encouraged to shave off the bum fluff to encourage more hair growth. The fact is that shaving cuts off the hair leaving it with a blunt end, so it only appears thicker.

Masturbating grows hair on the palm. We can only blame the puritanical zealots from the Middle Ages here. They even made up potions and devices that caged your genitals to inhibit touching. I’ll leave this myth here as hairy palmed persons, I do not see.

This next myth I can guarantee most of us have believed and heeded as kids. We were told that swimming after eating will cause us to drown. Whilst it is true that the act of digestion directs blood away from muscles and to the gut, it will not impede your muscles so much that they cramp and you drown. The real concern is consuming alcohol and then swimming. The fact is 10%-30% of drownings are attributed to alcohol consumption. More an act of stupidity rather than a physiological impairment.

Now, coming back to my grandmothers natural cold / cough cure. She and now I, swear by crushed garlic with a teaspoon of natural honey (a small clove or half a large one). As soon as I start to feel a cold or cough beginning, I will endure this remedy. The mixture is taken daily but if quite sick then at least morning and night. It acts like a super antibiotic and scientifically, both the crushed garlic and honey have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Crushing the garlic releases more of its healing property, allicin containing oxygen and sulphur, which deteriorates quickly so crush and consume to gain the most benefit. Honeys’ antimicrobial activity is attributed to several properties: the low PH draws moisture from the bacteria drying out its cell, honey produces hydrogen peroxide, it has phenolic acids, lysozyme and flavonoids. Honey is a wonderful natural cough suppressant. Used in many cultures as a remedy for breathing problems, skin and wound infections as well as immunity, it is taken by the spoonful, in warm water with lemon or teas, steeped with sage for drying mucus lining or with garlic. Crushed garlic cloves can also be put into a jar with natural honey and left to ferment for a few weeks to months. This remedy can be on hand whenever needed. Personally, I have not tried this method, but I will, hoping it may be more palatable than the crushed raw garlic.

Wishing you well with your own winter ills and chills.

Indre Kisonas is a Daylesford resident and the owner and principal designer of iok design. She specialises in colour & interior design.