Seasonal Bugs, Nettles and Garlic

By | 2 Mar 2015

a-tes-souhaitsIllness has stopped my play now. I caught a seasonal bug that laid me low and that I still haven’t managed to get rid of.

Living in the cold, old house with some damp mould on a few walls may have contributed to that.  On several occasions I’ve retreated to my bed and its electric blanket that transmits warmth to the parts that other heating systems cannot reach.

I didn’t catch the bug down here though, it was when I was away for a few days, had some bad nights’ sleep and came into contact with several other people most of whom I was ‘embrasse’ing (in case you’re unaware that’s the French kissing on the cheek, not that I was embarrassing myself – although that may have happened too).

There are definitely some benefits to being here on my own, with my dog, who doesn’t get colds.

During this time I’ve been looking things up online on how to cure colds/viruses and support the immune system, especially searching to find out if anything I already had in my cupboards would help since I didn’t fancy going out to the shops again.

Turns out there were quite a few – herbs, spices, onions and garlic.  Luckily I had quite a bit of this in stock, luckily I also live in France where the smell of garlic does not make people screw their noses up, and as I’m eating LOTS of it, luckily I don’t see many people anyway.

I also had nettle and lemon-balm that I’d cut and dried earlier in the year.

Which reminded of when. as recent converts do, I was extolling to a French woman the virtues of eating dandelions and nettles picked from the garden.   Eating these was something I only picked up on last year whilst searching for what to do with weeds – which was odd considering I’ve bought tea bags of these from health food shops before.  It’s funny how there can be such a disconnect between buying things in shops and doing it yourself.

But this woman immediately knew about eating them – her late mother-in-law regularly made nettle soup, which even her young (at the time) children loved.

These were people I considered to be urbanite, despite their second home in the country, yet this was knowledge from a long time ago, not down to recent health trends.  I do love that about France.  Maybe it is a rose-tinted view of things, but they do seem to be more in touch with natural ways and the countryside – perhaps because they have a lot more of it.   I’m not saying that no-one in the UK knows the same, there certainly are some, but I doubt there would be many who are middle-aged and have grown up eating nettle soup.

French pharmacists all knew their toadstools from their mushrooms.  One could pick one’s fungi then take them to the pharmacy for verification of edibility.  It is no longer the case that any pharmacy will do this, but there remain some.

Anyway, I had some nettle seeds too and, as they are supposed to be very beneficial in many ways including fighting illness, I thought the more of it the better.

Well, no, as you may guessing, you can have too much of a good thing.

I’d forgotten that they are also a pick-me-up and I spent the evening in a rather hyper mood, as if I’d been had a gallon of…. ah, who am I kidding, now in middle age, just one tiny espresso away after lunch has the same effect as if I was on speed.  I didn’t feel ready for bed until  Naturally, the next morning the cold/flu had gained its hold again.

But I’m not sure that any remedy or altered diet helps that much with colds and flu – one has to rest to ensure it doesn’t turn into something serious and just let it run its course.

Just in case though, bring on those onions and garlic, especially while there’s no risk of visitors – not even a vampire.

Do you know of any sure fire cough and virus remedies?  Any old French country ways?


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