I work closely with kids 3 days a week, and the downside to that is I’m sick pretty much all of the time. I’ll catch some bug on a Tuesday, reinforce it with another bug on a Wednesday, and be terribly sick on Thursday and Friday. By the time I’ve made a few steps to recovery, I’ll catch another strain on Saturday. It’s an endless cycle.
This time around, I started feeling sniffly on Saturday, woke up with a scratchy throat on Sunday, got a short-lived fever on Monday, and it finally progressed into a full-blown flu today. Since then, I’ve been trying to relieve the symptoms by preparing natural infusions from the crops I have at home.
Cuban Oregano is a pretty plant with fuzzy leaves, and is one of the most prolific herbs in my pot garden. Somehow, it self-propagates, and I was surprised when I saw my 3 plants had multiplied. They’re pretty hardy, and can withstand a few days without much water or sun (which is great when it’s constantly rainy, like this past week).
This is not the same as the more popular Italian Oregano, and can’t be substituted for it in recipes; but it’s used in a lot of Caribbean, Javanese, Indian, and Cuban dishes. It’s also been known for its medicinal benefits like treating rheumatism, constipation, and respiratory and throat infections. Moms might be interested to know that it also helps stimulate lactation.
It was time to prune my wild plants anyway, so on Sunday, I took as much as I could and procured 10 grams worth. The freshly picked leaves gave off the strong, spicy, somewhat minty aroma that I love. I boiled it in 2 cups of water for about 5 minutes, and then transferred it to my tea strainer. It needed nothing else, and it was a soothing, slightly mentholated balm to my itchy throat.
This morning, wanting to start with something warm to clear the cobwebs in my throat, I squeezed 3 of the softer lemons I bought on my recent trip Baguio, and it yielded 1/4 cup of juice. I usually work with a 1:1:4 ratio when preparing lemonade since the amount of juice from lemons always varies. 1 part juice to 1 part honey and 4 parts water makes a slightly sweetened but still sour drink – just the way I like it.
This afternoon, I sliced a 5-inch ginger root very thinly and boiled it for about 8 minutes. I poured it through a sieve, added about a tablespoon of my lemonade, and it was good to go. Yes, it’s how you make typical salabat, but it’s so important to strain it because the ginger fibers can cause throat irritation. My favorite salabat is the one they serve at The Spa because of its strong, ginger heat; but they had to balance that out with a lot of sugar, which I didn’t want to do today. With just the honey-lemon as sweetener, I got pure ginger awesomeness.
These don’t cure the illness, but they do a pretty good job of alleviating the uncomfortable manifestations they present. They’ve also gotten me to drink lots of fluids, which is one of the most effective ways to recover faster.
I’ve brought out all my guns to fight this flu, but it still has to take its course. What do you guys do when you’re about to be/already sick?