We haven’t been sick this winter, it’s not because we keep isolated in some kind of mountain hermitage and have no contact with the world. In fact I teach at uni so I get my share of exposition to bugs. So much so that I’d usually get at least one chest infection per year. Of course antibiotics would follow, not healthy, not fun and not good for consistency in training.
Last winter, I got something that even antibiotics wouldn’t clear. And then I realised that a friend of mine was never sick. We both walk the same route to school so I asked her how she managed to stay healthy. She revealed that herself and her family laced their food with turmeric, pepper, garlic and ginger. I tried it and it worked on me too! But there was no way I could get spicy food down the cub’s throat, no way at all so I keep this solution as a last resort as it is a bit unpractical to cook just for me.
Other natural options? I remembered a traditional Polish remedy: raw milk infused with raw honey and garlic. Sure it doesn’t taste too good but there are some natural antibiotics in raw milk and honey. Raw milk (and honey) are not easy to come by around here and are not vegan so I looked for something else.
That’s when oil of oregano made its appearance. The stuff’s supposed to work on warts, internal parasites, respiratory tract infections, fungus and more. My parents are from the South of France, where thyme and oregano are used (amongst other things) for colds and I was treated to “Aigo boulido” (which means boiled water and is basically a garlic and thyme broth) as a kid. So the extra concentrated oregano oil sounded interesting.
I read up on this and discovered that carvacrol is the active ingredient in oregano oil. The oils you buy can have various concentrations of it depending on the plants it’s extracted from. Obviously, the more carvacrol, the more potent the oil. I searched for an oil with a stated and guaranteed concentration, the best I found was offered by the brand Zane Hellas, which promised 84% carvacrol. I ordered it and it arrived promptly with a detailed instruction sheet and a sample of oregano leaves.
Now, is potent stuff and basically, you don’t want to use oil of oregano pure. To take it internally, you have to dilute four drops in a teaspoon of oil, take it once a day (or two drops twice) and for no longer than a week. You can be a bit more generous with 10 drops for a teaspoon of oil for external use.
I immediately tried it on myself for a flu that was turning into a chest infection and externally on the cub who had a wart on the hand. It worked for both of us. My chest cleared and her wart was gone in less than a week, it might have been psychological but hey, it worked.
Since that first success, me and Mr Tiger take it whenever we feel the first symptoms of flu or sore throat. Unfortunately, even diluted it’s way too strong for the cub. We dilute it in extra virgin olive oil and because of the very distinctive mediterranean smell we call it “pizza”. So far, it’s served us very well with not a single day of work or training lost to illness. If the potential illness feels particularly insistent, I also like to eat the turmeric, pepper, ginger and garlic spice wonder…
Remember if you want to try it: it’s for the stout hearted. Do your homework and check out online what others say about it. We can say that even mixed with oil, the stuff burns, be prepared to cry, feel like you swallowed a dozen chillies, you might even be queasy if you’ve taken it on an empty stomach. BUT IT WORKS FOR US, so we take it.
And what about you? Do you have any special weapon for dealing with flu and colds?