The Romany culture was rich in cures for coughs and cold. Some suited one, and some suited another. Here are some authentic Gypsy cures for the common cold. (As always, use common sense when trying the remedies, and consult your doctor if you are seriously ill. Remember these cures are from times long past.)
First, some of the simplest remedies which are easy to try. Did you know, for instance, that the vinegar from a jar of pickled walnuts is a very good gargle for sore throats? Do not throw it away, keep it in an airtight jar until it is needed. If you have a hard cough, beat the white of an egg to a froth, then add a tablespoonful each of vinegar and sugar. Drink this at bedtime, and the cough will not trouble you during the night.
If you have a dry cold, drink peppermint tea and it will almost immediately ease your symptoms. And if your friends are scared of catching it from you, or you wish to keep your family free from infection, tell them to rub a little peppermint oil under the nose and round the throat, and to take a small dose as well, it is an antiseptic and a strong preventative of disease.
Try drinking a glass of hot milk at night with a crushed clove of garlic in it. This is very good for both coughs and colds, and will give some relief asthma sufferers.
Horseradish is another good remedy for sore throats and coughs-even whooping cough. Scrape a half a teacupful of horseradish, add a little vinegar to thoroughly soak it. Keep pressing it down so that the horseradish is always just covered by the vinegar. Leave for the day. Then add one tablespoonful of glycerin and mix. take a half of a teaspoonful in a wineglass of hot water. Incidentally, horseradish will also help to alleviate that annoying catarrhal deafness that can come with a cold. Take one ounce of the grated root, pour one pint of boiling water over it and let it stand for 15 minutes. Strain, and take 4 tablespoonfuls twice a day. If you don`t like the flavor, mix it with syrup of ginger or caraway.
If you want to stop a cold in the early stages, make an infusion of the herb basil in the proportion of 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb to 1 cupful of boiling water. This will promote perspiration and drive out the cold.
If you have access to an elderberry tree, its berries and flowers will quickly help to dispel your discomfort. Store elderflowers after drying them out in the sun, and you can make a healing beverage at any time by pouring boiling water over them and adding a little sugar. The Romanies claim that it puts paid to a head cold if taken immediately the first signs are noticed. This infusion is also soothing and will help to give a good night`s sleep. It will also calm the nerves.
For more Elderberry remedies for colds and flu check out the following at Folk Medicine Remedies and Cures:
The Romanies also found Borage a very good plant for medicinal purposes. An infusion helps coughs, a poultice of Borage leaves is good for inflammation, and if you are suffering from the slight fever that sometimes accompanies a cold or flu germ, put a sliced lemon and about six sprigs of the herb in a jug and cover with boiling water. Drink when cold, it will reduce the feverish symptoms.
Another cold preventative is feverfew. Make the leaves into a tea and it will not only guard against colds, but also flatulence and hysteria.
If you stew barberry berries with a little water until they are soft, then squeeze them through a strainer, pressing out all the juice with a wooden spoon and add three pints of water to one of juice, you will have an excellent drink which, if taken hot at night, will induce the perspiration that drives out a cold
If you are not sure whether it`s a cold or flu coming on, don`t hesitate, infuse 1 oz of fresh or dried balm with a pint of boiling water and take it very hot, last thing at night. It will drive out a cold and arrest an attack of influenza – but you should take it in good time when you feel the first symptoms coming.
Red clover is one of Nature`s best remedies for sore throats and chest troubles. It will also help a bad cough that sometimes accompanies a cold. It grows in fields and by waysides up to a foot in height, and even larger when cultivated. As an infusion it is good for sufferers with bronchitis and asthma. For a bad cough, prepare this syrup. Make a syrup of loaf sugar and water, add fresh red clover leaves in the proportion of an ounce to a pint of syrup. Boil and strain, Bottle and cork the bottle tightly, and take a teaspoonful twice or three times a day.
Ground ivy is a plant that grows on waste ground and in hedgerows everywhere, the leaves are dark and kidney shaped and the flowers bright dark blue. The Romanies made a tea from ground ivy flowers and wood sage as a cure for fevers and colds. The herb is used by herbalists in the treatment of blood and kidney disorders.
In Victorian times, children ate horehound candy as a cure for sore throats and coughs. The plant has a vine-like scent. It is a good remedy for diseases of the chest and lungs and has the added advantage of being a good tonic. If your cold brings on bronchitis, make a brew of horehound tea and you will find that a wine glassful three times a day is a great relief. If you mix it with a little honey, it is more pleasant to take. Black horehound is not used much in herbal practice, but it was once used as a tonic tea by country workers. Horehound, in fact, is often used by herbalists as a remedy when combined with hyssop.
Oil of hyssop is sweet scented and used in the making of some eau de colognes. It was also used by the monks when they made Chartreuse Liqueur.The plant originated in Italy, but can easily be grown in English gardens and it is a very useful plant to have handy as it is a good remedy for coughs and lung complaints. Make an infusion of 1 oz of leaves to 1 pint of water and take frequently.
Comfrey is a well known remedy for lung disorders. Put half an ounce of the crushed root in a saucepan with a pint and a half of milk and water mixed in equal parts and simmer for 20 minutes. A wine glassful will quickly ease an irritating cough. If you use only one pint of milk and water mixture the remedy will form into a jelly which also eases coughs. Grow comfrey in your garden, the root can be boiled as a vegetable and the young shoots blanched and cooked like celery.
The coltsfoot is another wonderful remedy for coughs and colds, whooping cough and shortness of breath. It has a little yellow flower that smells of honey and blooms in February, long before the leaves which grow to enormous size. Coltsfoot grows nearly everywhere, on rubble heaps, by the side of newly-made roads, on railway banks and on coal mine tips. In fact there is a very old gypsy saying that wherever coltsfoot grows freely, coal will be found. Once it was so revered in France that a painting of a coltsfoot flower appeared on the doors of all doctors as a sign that the art of healing was practiced there. The Romanies praise this herb very highly.
A decoction of the leaves of the herb coltsfoot to a pint of boiling water is very good for colds, coughs and asthma. If you haven`t time to make a decoction when a cough is bad, use an infusion of coltsfoot and take in teacupful dose.It can be sweetened to taste with honey.
Another old Romany recipe to soothe any cough is made with liquorice root, coltsfoot and lemon. Simmer 1 oz of liquorice root in 3 pints of water till it is reduced to 1 pint. Put 1 oz of coltsfoot and a sliced lemon into a jug and add the decoction. Stir well, sweeten with honey,allow to get cold, then drink as required.
If you have the hacking cough of a heavy smoker this remedy will disguise your weakness. Put two ounces of sunflower seeds into a saucepan with a quart of water, and an inch or so of whole ginger. Simmer until reduced to a pint and a half. Add sugar or honey to taste. When cold, strain. A tablespoon of whisky will help the drink to stay fresh; if it is not added, it should be made fresh every two or three days. This is an excellent decoction to relieve bronchitis or a hacking cough.
Disclaimer: The author of this site is not Doctor or medical certified professional, the information presented here is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.
Diet was a very important part, not only of health, but also of beauty for the Romanies. Much of the malaise and depression around today stems from a sluggish system. Walking and fresh air help to combat this, but the best way to keep your system clear is to stick to a careful, sensible diet. Eat fruit, plenty of vegetables, salads, stewed prunes occasionally, take butter milk or malted milk. Eat sparingly of rice, pastry, pasta and sweets.
It is a fact that the true Romany only begins to grow old at around the eightieth year. What secrets enable them to keep their youth?
One of them – and this will disappoint meat lovers – is that they do not eat a lot of meat which is not, as is often thought, an essential part of the daily diet. On some days Romanies would make do with nuts, herbs and vegetables and avoid meat altogether, it does the stomach good to have a rest from it.
Eat plenty of cheese – it is full of protein to build strong teeth and bones and to keep the muscles firm. And there is a miracle of nourishment in an egg yolk – vitamins A,D,E,B1,B6, riboflavin, iron and calcium. Milk is also a valuable source of protein, fat and carbohydrate and you get essential vitamins from butter and margarine- butter provides calcium as well. There are foods that, even for the determined slimmers, should always be included in the diet. It can be dangerous to cut out starch completely. Wholewheat bread, for instance, contains calcium, iron, vitamins B1, B6 and E, riboflavin and nicotinic acid. Oatmeal is also a valuable source of these.
Potatoes were always part of the Romany staple diet, usually eaten the healthy way, baked in their jackets in the ashes of a fire. If you are boiling potatoes, don’t peel them, but just scrub the skin. Many minerals that we especially need are directly under the potato`s skin and are completely lost when they are peeled and then boiled. Continue reading