Saturday, January 8, 2011
Garlic and honey
Well, four out of the five of us are sick. It's that time of year. So, last night, I broke out the garlic and honey.
As I've noted before, I was very fortunate to have grown up with four grandmothers. Each one had her own "flavor" and way about her. Two of them were very into natural healing. My great-grandmother kept her own tiny herb garden outside in her tiny apartment garden ( it was BEAUTIFUL). Among the roses were clumps of spearmint and chamomile and other herbs, I'm sure, but those are the ones I remember the most. She would dry them and keep them in old Gerber baby food jars left over from 30 plus years of caring for grand-children and great-grandchildren. I remember whenever one of us would have an upset stomach, she'd break out the peppermint and once, when I was sick, she had me lie on the floor, poured an oil that she had to have made herself in her hands, rubbed them together to warm them and rubbed my back. It really did work. I fell asleep and woke up feeling better.
Another grandmother was my Grandpa's second wife, Maggie. She had bookshelves full of natural healing books and booklets and knew exactly what to use for what ailment. Once when we were sick at her house ( I woke up early one morning, leaned over and barfed on my poor sister. If I remember correctly, she returned the favor. Our poor grandma...), she broke out the ginger tea. It took a bit, but it began working and our rebellious stomachs settled down.
She knew which "weeds" ( plantain and a couple of others) in the yard to grab when we'd wandered into the stinging nettle on the creek bank. She'd crush and roll them in her hands and put them on our burning skin and it would work very well. I used to sit and pore over her books, soaking up as much as I could. I'm sure I've forgotten some, but one I saw over and over that made a huge impression on me was fresh chopped garlic in honey for coughs, colds and flu.
My kids are rarely sick, and when they are, it tends to be mild, but I'm pretty preemptive when I hear them start to cough or sniffle. I make sure to use organic garlic because conventional is irradiated and rendered worthless. It must be organic. The rub about garlic is, the finer you chop it, the hotter it is. My two younger kids can't handle swallowing big slices of it suspended in honey, yet, so I chop it fine in my food processor for them and mix it with honey and lemon juice. Goober actually LOVES it, Princess tolerates it okay, but Crash? Oh, the DRAMA!!! It takes my husband's "no nonsense" tone and me working quickly to get it in. Then, there's getting him to swallow it. *Sigh* Fortunately, he only gets sick about once a year. It WORKS, too. If they're really congested, I break out the ginger and either chop that up and put it into the garlic-honey mixture, or brew it into a tea. For the younger two, dumping everything in together works the best, but Goober actually likes it in a tea with honey. There's nothing that kid won't try ( and most likely actually *like*).
A friend of mine here introduced me to elderberry syrup. It's made by steeping dried elderberries, ginger and cinnamon in water for a bit, straining it and mixing with honey to create a syrup. It'll keep about a week in the fridge. It's VERY good for fighting colds and flu by working with the immune system. I'm actually getting ready to make some as I'm feeling pretty terrible. The kids are already perkier after their dose of garlic last night ( they'll get more before bed tonight) and are actually outside playing in the snow. That's the beauty of most tried and true natural cures- it's almost impossible to overdose on them, and whatever your body doesn't need passes harmlessly through. I'll take them any day over concoctions created in labs with most of the bottle covered in warnings and caveats. The only warning I could see with garlic is, "you're gonna stink. Have some courtesy and stand at least four feet away from people when you speak to them. " ;)