By Marjorie Watkins with Suzanna Leigh
“Kitchen Medicine” is my family’s system of natural healing: the right food for every physical condition, plus home remedies, plus exercises to exercise aches, plus vitamin therapy.
We believe that by immediately eating, doing, and taking the right, simple things as soon as we first notice minor symptoms, we can avert or prevent major illnesses. Kitchen medicine saves us money we might have had to spend on doctor’s and dentist’s bills and prescriptions, and time we might have wasted in physician’s offices and drugstores goes into happy living and creative work.
Another point in favor of our natural remedies is that – sensibly applied – they can do us nothing but good. On the other hand, even such a seemingly innocent pharmaceutical as aspirin can cause an upset stomach or internal bleeding … and stronger drugstore or prescription medicines have more severe potential side effects.
Part of our kitchen medicine is family lore, handed down from the proven store of a quick-witted, innovative grandmother … except that we have replaced some of her cures with others that are as effective and more pleasant. We no longer paint sore throats with iodine or blow boric acid powder into them, for instance, and the dread enema is just an unpleasant memory.
For other herbal remedies and hints on what to eat when and what to do (or not do) in case of various ailments, we’re indebted to Oregon and Washington Indians, Adelle Davis, Euell Gibbons, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
With cold and flu season upon us, here are some remedies with ingredients you may have available in your kitchen:
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 tsp to 1 tbsp whole cloves
Half a saucepan of water
Bring to a boil and simmer for awhile, until the color of tea.
This is an antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, and pain relief for sore throats, toothaches, and to combat colds and flu. We use it as a gargle, or add a tablespoon or so to tea or hot lemonade. Add a few slices of ginger root or sprinkle ginger powder and honey for a delightful hot drink that also makes you feel better! Marj suggests taking a little magic potion everyday during flu season, while Suzanna prefers to take it at the first sign of a cold.
For lung congestion, in a quart jar, put:
1 tbsp dry sage or the top few leaves of a sage plant (maybe 4 or 5 leaves)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 very generous tbsp of honey
Add boiling water to fill the jar; drink 6-8 oz three times a day.
Remember always to listen to your body and adjust these recipes accordingly; everyone has different tolerances for herbs and spices. One way to check if something is right for your body is to notice whether you lean toward or away from it. I’m not sure how this works for sugar and other addictive substances, though! Don’t hesitate to call the doctor when needed.