Thursday, April 02, 2009

World's Worst Tasting Cough Medicine, But It Worked!

n January 2007 my partner Tessa & I were touring in India and after nearly a month on the road we were in the beautiful city of Bhubaneswar in India's Orissa state.

Tessa came down with a cold and it sparked her asthma off. She hadn't been to a doctor since we left our home in Auckland, New Zealand and even though I knew she needed help she was determined not to make a fuss. I can't really blame her, a week or two earlier I had resisted getting help for one of my travel ailments. Admittedly neither of us would have run for the doctor back in Aotearoa NZ either.

During the day we had passed a closed shop front not far from our hotel claiming to be a doctor's evening surgery and that evening I "accidentally" steered Tessa past it. Inside the now open store was a professionally dressed man sitting at a desk with a minimal amount of medical equipment, an assistant and a curtained off examination area. At first I was a little dubious that he was the real thing, but when he started examining Tessa he did exactly what a real doctor would do anywhere and asked familiar questions. After a couple of minutes he wrote a prescription and when I asked for the bill only asked for 50 Rupees ... at that stage a little less than two dollars!

I was a little surprised at the minimal fee, but paid up and we went to get the script filled. The pharmacy dispensed some antibiotics and an allegedly cherry tasting cough mixture. These medicines were all fairly cheap, but still cost more than the doctor's fee.

Tessa told me it was the worst tasting cough mixture she had ever had ... but it worked better than anything she could remember. Within a day she was back playing the tourist with gusto.

Since leaving India and coming home to Auckland I've often wondered what was in that cough mixture, as I'm sure it must come with other syrups.

I've also wondered about that doctor. I sometimes think we might have wandered in on a charity clinic and if so he was probably as surprised at me asking for a bill as I was at the low fee, but again it's something I'll probably never know.

Originally published on Qondio

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Garlic For Coughs And Colds

Whenever I have a cough, a cold or a generic viral fever I take fresh raw garlic as a herbal remedy to help myself recover faster. I take it twice a day, first thing in the morning and about 12 hours later at night.

My method is to take a large clove of garlic, place it on a chopping board and lightly crush it with the blade of a large kitchen knife, when I say lightly I mean so it is bruised and maybe a little split, but not turned to pulp. After that I peel it and cut it into pieces about 1 cm (the size of a broad bean). Once prepared I swallow the pieces whole with water.

I make sure I get fresh New Zealand garlic rather than the cheaper imported Chinese garlic. I'm sure that China's garlic is just as good, but buying locally grown produce means I'm getting it fresher. If you're planning to try this, I suggest you buy local produce from your home area for the freshness factor.

Does it help? I like to think so, but as every cold is different it's hard to say. I do know that within an hour of taking it I can feel the garlic working in my lungs (yes, this could be psychological) and scientific studies have shown that garlic contains compounds with antibiotic properties.

Even if it doesn't work, the aroma of garlic means other people are warned and will stand further back so you're less likely to pass the cold onto them.

I've used this method or a close variation for over 10 years. It is based on my personal experience and the results may not be typical.

Originally posted on Qondio