Friday, November 16, 2012

food as medicine

Spring can be the season for sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses. And in my case this year, a combination of sinus congestion and an earache. It has been years since I have had a series of minor colds but this year there have been a few. Perhaps three years of broken sleep is starting to catch up with me, added to that River starting school has seen all manner of new bugs coming home with him. 

A visit to my local Chinese medicine practitioner this week provided me with a couple of food as medicine recipes that I want to share. 
  • Ginger and cinnamon tea was the suggestion, especially good at the first sign of a cold. Just chop some fresh ginger add it to a teapot with boiling water and either a cinnamon quill or a teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

  • Barley water, made by steeping a small handful of barley grains in a teapot with boiling water is good for drying up mucus.

  • I couldn't resist a photo of that gorgeous garlic that Pete grew in our garden and harvested this week. We have been crushing cloves and spreading it on toast to keep our immune systems alert. My friend Bronwyn made up a remedy for my ear using the garlic in olive oil. I let it brew for a few hours and then put a couple of drops in my ear before bed. ** I don't recommend doing this unless you have seen a doctor who has confirmed your ear drum is not perforated. ** I will add the disclaimer here - I am not a natural medicine practitioner these remedies are based on my personal use. Please consult a health practitioner before trying them yourself.
  • My aunty Karen put me on to the Australian Harvest organic horseradish vinegar with bio-grape (grape seed extract), fresh garlic, curcumax (tumeric extract) and spices. Made with apple cider vinegar and fresh horseradish the flavour is both sharp and sweet. I found it at my local health food store. The label on the bottle reads "The combination of these therapeutic herbs made in a beautiful tasting spicy herb vinegar helps to dry the sinuses and reduce inflammation helping you breathe freely". I have been drinking a teaspoon three times a day in some warm water, the taste is surprisingly delicious and it does feel very medicinal.
  • I also picked up a container of local honey from the organic farm where we shop and I mix a teaspoon of honey with lemon juice, a splash of echinacea and boiling water for medicine tea.
I did have to see a general medicine doctor (GP) about my ear that after a week is still not better. He asked me if I usually get hayfever, I said I have had it in the past but not for a few years and it is usually mild. His immediate response was to ask me which brand of over the counter hayfever medicine do I usually use before looking in my ear telling me it is inflamed and writing me a prescription for antibiotics. Hmmm. If I were a hayfever sufferer I would consult a homeopath. I have resorted to the antibiotics and at day 3 they have had little effect.

Since moving out of the city, finding a GP who respects my natural medicine beliefs has not been an easy task. I can't remember where I read or heard this comment over the past week but it was one that I wholeheartedly agree with and a fact that I am bewildered by "isn't it interesting that so many pharmaceutical medicines are heavily subsidised while preventative health care such as massage and chiropractic are not?" 

So, I paid $5.80 for the antibiotics that haven't helped. Tomorrow I will pay $44 for a chiropractic treatment in hope of clearing my ear.

I am grateful for Western medicine. I do wish though that the approach to health care in Australia was more preventative and holistic.

How about you? Any good health remedies or practices you'd like to share?


  1. Oh yes I agree Nikki. We've actually stopped going to the doctor. Haven't been in over a year. I wish it was a lot more balanced too, especially as my bills for the chiropractor are so high. On the other hand, I am very grateful that I live in an area full of natural therapists, such as cranio sacrel, with pockets of people who believe in an alternative, more holistic way.

  2. Thanks for your comment Vanessa. Always good to hear how others are finding there way with staying well. Lucky for you to be living in an area with a good number of natural therapists x

  3. oh my saliva glands are totally going crazy over that horseradish vinegar, yum. Where did you get it? I love finding out new remedies, practices etc. The last time I went to the doctor was actually for an ear thing as well. We have Alchemy up the road, which is packed full of all sorts of natural practitioners and herbs, which is great. When we are feeling a bit run down or fluey, I make a brew of squeezed lemon (and then leave the skin in), ginger, garlic, onion, cinnamon, tumeric, cayenne pepper, thyme (yes it is a brew), apple cider vinegar and cook in a pot for about 15 minutes, it is quite potent. We then add honey and sip, it packs a punch but does seem to shift things.

  4. You are so fortunate to have Alchemy up the road. That tonic sounds fabulous. Thanks for sharing it I'll be trying it next time there is a cold happening here. Hope you are having a fun weekend! xx


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