To my dismay, I woke up this morning with plenty of congestion and other general ailments. Just to reassure all my loved ones back home, No, it was not corona virus but I was definitely sick. I was 4th in a continued string of cases within our immediate family. My mom is sort of superstitious though, so the development of my illness was somewhat unspoken, so as not to jinx the rest of the family into becoming bed ridden.
At first I felt a little feverish, but once the congestion started acting up and my body became sore and limp I had a gaining suspicion it was the flu. Now, though I could easily spend an hour bemoaning this unfortunate predicament, I thought I could talk about some of the more interesting remedies I have had thus far. After all, some of the most effective medicine formulas to date have been derived from a variety of potent herbs. At the end of the day the ultimate goal of any treatment is for healing.
From first glance, my host Mom suggested my mal-condition was caused by a buildup of toxins in my body. This first route of attack involved sweating out all of these alleged toxins, by drinking copious amounts of water and really hot soup. She slathered ointment all over my face, and told me I should nap until I was totally drenched in sweat.
Most Omanis are really afraid of the cold. For example people here are hesitant about wet hair, as they believe it is more difficult to insulate your body. If you happen to be fond of drinking really cold water or eating ice, you should expect your Omani motherly figure to immediately express concern, all for general well being of course.
Oman has a long history with natural medicine and for many households it is still common practice. I was offered a mixture of limejuice and honey with which I was supposed to gargle, along with a spoonful of royal jelly. I have heard really good things about the royal jelly before; that it offers a good source of anti-bacterial properties along with a large array of nutrients from the pollen. Unfortunately, word to the wise or at least the reasonable, it does not taste as good as it sounds.
So at this point I was a tired, sweaty, nauseous, sickly mess obviously in need of more healing. I went through my suitcase to find the emergency bottle of ibuprofen. After I had taken 2 tablets, my mother informed me this was very bad for my liver…. But crisis averted my host mother prepared me a big pot of mutton liver to replenish my supply!!?? (I do apologize, as I might have intended that to be sarcastic) Now when I’m at home I have always steered clear of that awkward bowl of chopped liver on the table. In fact, my family back home was not that fond of liver either. Whenever it was the holidays, we would discretely prepare a bowl of lentil faux chopped liver to hold on to tradition, while sustaining the 60 percent of us with high cholesterol. So today I bravely strode to new frontiers, going from vegetarian to an emboldened mutton liver eater.
That evening, we went to visit the grandparents about a half hour away. When the grandfather was informed of my sub par condition he suggested an idea. After looking through the cabinets he managed to find a perfect medicine. He took out a glass vial with some sort of oxidized brown syrup inside.
Though it is typically used to cure infertility it works just as well on your average cold to flu so I have been told. He warned me it was quite potent, but I had just eaten mutton liver so at this point I was unstoppable. He found this recipe in an old Chinese recipe book of herbal healing. When I asked him what was inside, he was short and sweet, “lots of good stuff”. Like vinegar, honey, ginger, and yes, how could I forget… lots of raw garlic. Removing the lid from the top, he gently swirled it. He offered me a tablespoon as I closed my eyes and tried to palate it. With their hand motions, I understood they were telling me to rinse my throat with the stuff, but I have never been good with mouthwash, so I ended up basically rinsing my mouth with this potion. The smell of garlic was everywhere. I don’t think my stomach responded very well. Eventually we thanked him for the kind thoughts before walking back to the car.
I think I have exhausted all my herbal remedies at this point. Hopefully at this point, I am the healthiest individual to walk the earth, or I might be the most sick, but that is doubtful. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? So tomorrow I’m back to the daily grind. And my dear friends hopefully you do not mind the stench of garlic, because I will be sweating it for the next 10 days.