Dad’s Brown Bag Elixir & More

A stuffed-up nose, sneezing, sore throat, achiness, fatigue–we’ve all been there many times before.  By now, you’d think they would have a cure for the average cold and flu, but with an aisle full of possible remedies, I’m not sure ‘they’ want us to find one.  That thought aside for now, EVERYONE seems to have a secret potion of sorts that should help either prevent, shorten or at least help minimize symptoms.  I know I’ve certainly tried a good portion of them over the years, but I had one favourite as a child thanks to my father.  And, no Buckley’s was not it (it really IS awful), nor was anything cherry-flavoured, be it cough syrup, fever medicine or otherwise.  Indeed, my dad’s sure-fire cold Elixir for us as kids was always a stiff tablespoon of….you guessed it, rum!  (And no, he wasn’t misguided in his parenting or wrongly encouraging drinking at a young age, if that’s what you are thinking.)  His philosophy was simply that it was potent enough to help what ailed us and kill any nasty bugs.  In reality, I’m not sure that it really did much of anything; after all my father was mostly a farmer, not a doctor, but I will admit that one shot of the hard liquor certainly took away any chills that I had, as the warm liquid seeped past my tummy and went straight to the tips of my toes.  I usually slept well too.

Another end-all, be-all cure that I can think of beyond the traditional drug store fixes was the one from my uncle in which he consumed heads of garlic daily.  Yes, daily.  And boy, there was no ‘tom fooling’ that he ate heads, and not cloves of it!  All that you had to do was stand within ten feet of him to know that truth.  I can’t say scientifically speaking whether or not it actually helped him, but he continued that practice for decades and he lived a fairly long life, so maybe it did?!  I know that many people, even some professionals, tout garlic’s positive healing properties despite its distinctively odoriferous nature.  I can tell you that, in the end, I’d be more inclined to believe in things like garlic and rum, as opposed to the aisle’s worth of ‘medicines’, that’s for sure.  Having said that, I have yet to try heads of garlic as a possible cure, with unknowing thanks from my husband, colleagues and maybe even our outdoor cat?

While I am pretty sure that you are NOT on here to receive flu advice from an amateur blogger after hearing about rum and garlic, it can’t hurt to tell you what seems to have worked for me in more recent years.  Why not, right?  If it proves to be of any help to anyone, then I can chalk up this post to a fait accompli.  Some of the most effective things that I’ve used when sick are all of the basic ideas that we’ve heard many times before–perhaps they are just too simplistic in our minds such that we often set them aside in lieu of other solutions?!  My revered list includes:  Rest!, water, good ole chicken soup and warm saltwater rinses for one’s throat, if sore.  As well, taking Vitamin D daily, especially while living here in our Northern climate, seems to have significantly reduced the number of times that I have become ill each year.  Last, but not least and worth the mention, is an essential oil called, “Thieves” which was first introduced to me a couple of years ago when colleagues who had been using it, raved of its anti-bacterial properties.  I have found that a drop or two of the oil on my neck each night has really made a difference in my overall immunity to sickness.  As someone who has always been known as the first person to bring home the various seasonal ‘bugs’ (and, often lucky enough to get them again on the flip side–NOT! after they go through everyone else), I was thoroughly surprised this past year when I managed to avoid a few bouts that my husband ended up with instead.  And, the couple of times that I did come down with a bit of a cold, I will say that it was very minimal by past comparisons.  I like to think that, “Thieves”, must in fact, steal away any bad germs, which is absolutely positively fine by me.  Thus, I’ll leave it up to you to choose which of my aforementioned lotions and potions you would use, if any at all.  Cheers to a tablespoon of rum and staying healthy, if nothing else;-).


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