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Let your food be your remedy.

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Some herbs are food, and some food is herbal medicine.

So there was this cough doing the rounds, late last winter. Remember? Whiskey voice, a cough that was so bad that little ones would even puke, and a runny nose a bit later? That one.

Me, I applied onions, either freshly chopped or fried in a bit of butter, to the front and back of my little one. (Fresh onion needs a cloth wrapping! Without that it can even blister skin.) She didn't cough so hard that she puked (like some kids her age did), but then, I didn't ply her with NSAIDs ... which make viruses really take off.

For the runny nose, I put some chopped-up fresh onion into a bit of an old t-shirt, wrapped it with twine (to avoid onion bits all over her bed), and put that as close to her face as she would let me. That kept her sleeping soundly, as she could breathe through her nose. (Onion, either fried or not, also works a treat in earaches).

In addition, I put a very tiny amount of tiger balsam on her back, when the cough was at its worst.

The cough went its merry way in a bit over a week, with no mainstream meds at all.

Every now and then somebody asks me what to do about an achy knee, or an achy shoulder, or similar things. I tell them to knuckle a cabbage leaf so that some of the juice gets to the surface and to apply that. It works wonders ... yet people laugh at me in disbelief. Me, I find it strange that not everybody knows about cabbage.

I'm sure there are other simple and effective food-as-herbal-remedies. If you know one, let's hear all about it!


When I was a child 50 years ago, I lived in England with my Grandmother, who was probably one of the last New Forest peasants (and maybe even a gypsy, it was rumoured)

Whenever I had a bad cold and/or a cough, she would cook up a whole onion studded with cloves and a little butter and water till it was soft. It was pleasant to eat, but I really don't know how well it worked because I was too young to think about it. She also used to give me a very old-fashioned cough mixture called Liquafruta which had all sorts of herbs in it, which worked really well. The modern day Liquafruta recipe is quite different and is the same as most other commercially-made cough mixtures, with as little effect.

liquafruta, that should contain liquorice.

I guess garlic is the ultimate food-medicine in my book. It helps with all sorts of digestive upsets, as it helps to promote healthy flora while controlling the 'bad' organisms. It's also wonderful for the lungs and skin, still taken internally. You WANT garlic breath if you are dealing with a lingering lung crud...that means the volatile oils are coming out through the airways. Say nothing about the cardiovascular benefits.

I more often recommend garlic these days than just about any other herb. For general digestive improvement and health maintenance, take one single clove, chopped, raw, daily...with food or honey so as to avoid stomach upset. Take two or three cloves at separate meals if you are trying to heal an acute condition. You can also use garlic cooked, but the raw stuff has better medicinal effect.

Susan in Florida

Of course, garlic! Thanks, Susan!

Honey, oats, and definitely garlic too! The honey has to be good quality and preferably local but is full of goodness and boosts the immune system. Oats are great internally, especially in convalescence - as porridge, tea, tincture and also externally- in baths, creams or poultices. Honey is great externally too for infections and sores. And they're both yummy which is good medicine in itself!

And "virus shedding" means that cells produce more viruses. So "longer duration of virus shedding" means you have to battle viruses for longer.

Thanks for sharing great information - which works. I remember my grandfather eating raw onions, but now I eat raw garlic, so it's each to his own.