Old wives’ remedies

Blueberries.  Blueberries are very much cheaper than of yore – I think we produce them in polytunnels but they still seem to be coming in from overseas as well.  They are reputed to be chock full of ‘astoxanthins’ which apparently stop one getting age-related macular degeneration.  I eat them just in case.

Cod Liver Oil.  As a sickly teenager I discovered the benefit of halibut liver oil capsules – I got far fewer colds when I took them.  These have now been replaced by cod liver oil and ‘omega 3’ pills, but the benefits are similar.  I like liquid cod liver oil.  It is said to be good for the joints, but I couldn’t vouch for this.  It is also said to stave off age-related macular degeneration, but I couldn’t vouch for this.  I take it anyway.

Collagen.  My hips would give me a lot more pain were it not for marine collagen pills from Simply Supplements.  I tried an inferior brand once but after 2 weeks of agony I caved in and shelled out for some more.  I dread the day when inflation places them out of my reach.

Garlic.  As a teenager I discovered garlic pills were a way out of chronic sinus trouble.  Today my family uses powdered garlic capsules to kill colds.   I used to consume vast amounts of minty chewing gum to hide the smell but now I just say I’d rather smell of garlic than cough and sneeze over everybody.  I remember being given snails with fresh garlic mayonnaise on a grape-picking holiday in the South of France.  I glowed from the improvement in blood circulation!  

Ginseng.  I don’t know when I discovered this revered root, but in my drinking days it proved an invaluable pick-me-up after a heavy night – or simply a lack of sleep.  I rely on it to improve my typing speed and accuracy.  I always feel happier going on a long drive if I know some ginseng is circulating in there.  The effects seem to build up with repeated doses and take a day or three to wear off.

Lavender – Lavender oil can be applied to broken skin. I have used it to heal scalds, first degree burns, and athlete’s foot.  I once didn’t notice an outbreak of athlete’s foot until I woke one morning to find my R foot twice its usual size, red and throbbing.  I eventally discovered broken skin under the 2 smallest toes.  I soaked some cotton wool in lavender oil and tucked it under the offending toes.  As though by magic, the swelling started to go down immediately, and with continued treatment the fungus had pretty much disappeared after a fortnight.  I usually anoint my toes with lavender oil at bedtime – they feel safer and it’s nice to retire with one’s nostrils full of the smell of lavender.

Manuka honey – or any honey, at a pinch.  For me, the best way of dealing with skin infections and puncture wounds.  I make a small poultice using Magic Tape and cotton wool, smear a small amount of honey over it, and place over the affected area.   I have used it to treat inflamed gums – I place 1/4 teaspoon of honey between the gum and my cheek and allow it to dissolve gradually.  I have also eased a sore throat by allowing a teaspoon of honey to dissolve in my mouth.  

Pomegranates – fresh, and pomegranate juice.  I discovered the benefits of pomegranate juice by chance when on holiday on Dartmoor in 2015.  We had taken 2 boxes with us to compensate for the usual lack of fruit content in hotel meals.  To my surprise I found my hips were less painful.  I have continued to eat fresh pomegranates when available ever since.  Apparently they are chock full of antioxidants, for what that’s worth.  My legs definitely miss them when they are out of season.  Crunching the seeds cleans the teeth marvellously. Oh, and they seem to keep colds away.