My friend laughed as she stirred a smelly concoction in a pot on my stove top and told me to trust her. I was living in Fiji at the time, and the woman talking to me lived in a local village where her father had been the village chief and provider of “medicine” in a traditional way. My friend had been taught his methods of treating sickness from a young age.
We lived in a house on the side of a hill that looked out to the ocean and sloped down to a creek on a dense tropical hillside. The vegetation consisted of many varieties of unfamiliar plants which proved over time to be providers of interesting medicinal benefits.
Whenever any of my family fell ill with tummy upsets, minor respiratory or skin ailments or other non-critical conditions my friend would arrive with a bag of leaves, sticks, berries, fruits etc. either from her home or sourced from my garden, and make a natural ‘medicine’ that she felt would help alleviate the symptoms.
The first time she offered to help I was nervous. I was suffering a tummy bug with cramping and diarrhea and I figured I could hardly feel worse, so sipped on her brew and … it worked. Amazing! No-one was more surprised than me, so when I came down with a respiratory infection a while later I gave the natural stuff (a different mix) another go. And again it gave me significant relief. Curious topical applications were also tried on various occasions for boils, and other skin infections and irritations also with great success.
Those experiences and others which were similarly surprising, taught me then the beginnings of what I happily practice now. So when I add roots of ginger and turmeric, and cloves of garlic and assorted herbs to simmering pots of water, or macerate fresh herbs in oil on a sunny window ledge to create my own home grown medicines, I am reminded of the wonder of what nature can provide. It’s nice to know that we don’t always need to rush to the pharmacy.