May 24, 2024

Natural remedies for common everyday illnesses that we’ve learned from our heritage

The ‘C’ word is back on our lips and it is all anyone is talking about. No, not that one, the other one — Covid — if it’s not Covid, then it’s a harsh cold, or a flu, or allergies that we forgot all about it since that two-year lockdown. It feels like everyone is sick at the moment, but it’s easy to just accept that your immune systems have been heavily compromised.

Whilst there is not much evidence presently that we have more patients with immunodeficiencies, GP and women’s health specialist Dr Amina Albeyatti tells GLAMOUR: «We are still early into our research and data gathering post-Covid. So far what we are learning is that although the majority of patient who contracted Covid-19 recover within 2-12 weeks there is a significant percentage who have symptoms of long Covid that can cause reduced cognition (brain fog), disturbed sleep, difficulty breathing or not having the same exercise tolerance as pre-Covid and fatigue.

These ongoing symptoms for several weeks to months can impact your sleep, appetite and exercise; all of which can in turn impact your immunity and cause recurrent minor illnesses. ”

So maybe it’s our lack of sleep, or maybe it’s these arctic conditions our bodies forgot all about after experiencing the hottest UK summer ever, or maybe it’s the stress of handling these skyrocketing energy bills. Whatever it is, ultimately, our bodies are tired and shoving random drugs down our throats is not always necessary.

Growing up in a Black household with African parents meant that I spent most of my childhood watching my parents take care of us using techniques and rituals they learned from their heritage. Me: “Mum, my throat is sore. ” Mum: “Chew ginger, raw ginger, I’m bringing some up now. ” After jokingly discussing how predictable my mum is, I came to find that this was the most common answer to a cold amongst most of my friends, who were also raised in African households. It’s honestly as go-to of a solution as drinking water when you’re thirsty.

Growing up as an athlete, I also spent a lot of my teens with muscle pains, tiredness and needed to maintain maximum health so I could excel on the track as well as in school. “I’m making you tangawizi (a cold tea made of a mix of herbs), I don’t care if you don’t like the taste, you’ll get over it. ” That was my mum’s remedy for any lethargy, muscle ache, body pains, tiredness you name it. I almost feel like tangawizi was a magic potion for any un-wellness. Unsurprisingly though, as the ingredient list includes a mix of herbs like alligator pepper, bitter kola and raw ginger which have all been proven to carry strong immunity and anti-inflammation benefits, but more on that later.

Ultimately my parents often lived by natural remedies for common illnesses as they’d spent their entire lives using it, and for them, they worked like a charm. In fact, a lot of medications we use today are heavily formulated with plants and nature-based ingredients. Although holistic healing has a bad rep as it’s often seen as hippie and unreliable, it has served generations of people well.  Dr. Lakshmi Menezes who is an author and MD, says: “Holistic care focused on prevention and wellness has been shown to help patients manage their own health more effectively. ” Although attempts to self medicate can be dangerous, these are recommendations for common and non-life-threatening illnesses, which just require something to alleviate the pain. Doing so with natural ingredients that can also mean you’re contributing to your general good health — two birds, one stone.

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