Natural Remedies & the Girl Who Said Yes

I once ate an entire garlic clove by choice. I had the flu and I was over it. This was the type of annoying flu where your nose becomes a drip tap and you end up leaving a trail of soggy tissues everywhere.

The beginnings of a cold are usually masked by the enthusiasm of trying to slam-dunk your dirty tissues into the garbage bag that sits beside your bed. A few hours into the flu and this determination will subside. Tissues are apathetically flicked onto the floor and hopes of NBA stardom gone, until eventually the tissues never even leave the bed.

The nauseating side affects of pseudoephedrine combined with the foggy haze of a Vicks Vaporizer take you to a place where you’ve never looked better; lying atop a bed of roses you’re the captivating muse in an American Beauty fantasy. Snapped back to reality by the murmurs of a daytime television talk show chant, you catch a glimpse of yourself – your bed of roses is actually a bed of dirty tissues and you’re expelling more sweat than a group of retirees at a day sauna. You are desperate, and when you’re desperate you’ll try anything once.

This is when I decided to eat a garlic clove whole. My grandfather has always maintained garlic is the only true cure of the common cold, and in my despair who was I to judge. Weaving through the piles of tissues I had created, I made it to the kitchen, peeled a garlic clove, and popped it in my mouth. I could have killed the entire cast of Twilight with that first pierce of a tooth.

I expected to be instantly cured. Nothing happened.

Later that evening when I was finally ready to dismiss the healing properties of garlic I started to feel less congested. My sinuses were clearer, my eyes no longer watery, and my ability to produce phlegm no longer impressive. The garlic might have tasted pungent, vile and been a boyfriend repellant, but that innocuous white clove worked.

Since the success of this first food as medicine experiment I will now try anything if the promise of good health is dangled in front of me. I will research natural remedies for mild ailments and milder vanity. I have learnt that the best natural remedies are the ones with the least ingredients, and the best ingredients are the ones that have three or less syllables when you pronounce them.

I am now a liquid chlorophyll (two words, three syllables) addict. Everyone was talking about this miracle elixir that compacted all of your daily greens and general vitality into just three teaspoons per day. I’m the worst type of skeptic because my skepticism is outweighed by my curiosity so I gave liquid chlorophyll a shot. I took the recommended daily dose for a month. At first this was more an exercise in commitment, but soon the bottle’s general claims started to become true – it acted as a natural deodorant, my skin was clearer, and my breath was ridiculously fresh. I could now cure my cold with a clove of garlic then have a shot of liquid chlorophyll and still have a boyfriend. I was hooked.

Other natural remedies were not easy to swallow. I was having some issues with digestion and had discovered through researched that dandelion root tea was a natural detoxifier that eased bloating. I went to the health food store and was presented with a bag of dirt. I was told to mix two teaspoons in hot water then strain for maximum affect. Once I psyched myself up about the fact I was about to willingly drink dirt for the sake of my health, I took a sip.

My suspicions were confirmed. I really was drinking dirt. I could have easily tipped the remainder of the tea down the sink, except I was on a mission to stubbornly prove a point to myself. With every sip my tongue would spasm as if it was having an exorcism performed.

I drank that cup of tea, and have not had another one since. I still have the tea in the pantry three years later, just in case.

I’ve tried most of the ‘drink this first thing in the morning and you will live until you are 100’ remedies. Hot water with lemon, hot water with ginger, a shot of apple cider vinegar, kale on everything. As soon as I brew one of these concoctions like I’m the fourth witch in Eastwick, my insides feel instantly clean. I love it. I call them a dishwasher for the body, and I can only hope my intestines sparkle the same way a clean plate does on a Morning Fresh ad.

Skin is a big thing for me. If you are a fruit, vegetable or herb high in Vitamin A, let’s be friends. As a teenager I read cantaloupe skin could reduce and alleviate acne. This was a revelation; I could save the environment and my vanity at the same time by recycling this fruit’s skin. I rubbed the fruit flesh all over my face, then sat on my bed with a jigsaw puzzle facemask of the fruit’s skin while beginning to brainstorm my skincare empire, ‘15-year-old Entrepreneur Makes Melons of Dollars with Melons’ the news headline would say. Sadly the cantaloupe skin did not cure my acne but I did smell like a Bubble Cup for the day.

I’ve gargled salt, bathed in Epsom salts, bought an aloe vera succulent, rinsed my hair with vinegar, ordered a hot toddy at a bar for the nutmeg, washed my face with a walnut scrub, and even put cucumbers on my eyes for five minutes until I got bored. As soon as I get a sore throat or headache I throw fresh sage leaves into hot water because Vikings used to. IT WORKS EVERY TIME. Maybe it is a placebo or maybe it is the power of plants as medicine. Either way there are fewer tissues in my bed these days.