My Kitchen, Backyard, and Neighbors’ Yard are My Pharmacies
By Apolinario Villalobos
Today, it is back to basics for ailment remedies, a practice that the modern medical community is beginning to tolerate and respect. Preventive medicine is now being promoted instead of the reactive medications that are given to patients upon the inception of diseases. By “basics” and “prevention”, I mean herbal medications, clean and free from synthetic elements that are used to preserve extracted medicinal substances from plants.
One story I love to share among friends who are willing to listen is about the lowly “saluyot”, an indigenous vegetable in the Philippines that healed the open wounds of my former landlady, due to diabetes. She was not healed by many notoriously-priced and prescribed drugs that practically depleted her bank account. She was at the verge of despair as the latest doctor that she consulted prescribed amputation, when her former laundrywoman paid her a visit and upon seeing her sorry situation, immediately suggested “saluyot”. For several months, she forced herself to eat the said vegetable with her meals, three times a day, until the wound finally dried up and healed.
Anybody can have a pharmacy of sort in their home, particularly, in the kitchen. Shelves can be stacked with vitamins that can be eaten, and “drugs” that can flavor foods. The following are some of the few and their use that I am sharing, as I have proved them to be effective in my case:
TURMERIC – this spice can be purchased in powder form from groceries; known among Filipinos as “luyang dilaw”; a teaspoon can be diluted in mug of coffee in the morning and another at noon; the powder can enhance the taste of fish cooked in vinegar or vegetables cooked in coconut milk; it practically eliminated the cyst in my colon after five months.
STAR ANISE – I boil several of these with guyabano, mango leaves, and tanglad (lemon grass), and the concocted tea I use for my coffee with turmeric; it eliminated my sinusitis.
OLIVE OIL – a spoonful of this oil is mixed with practically everything that I cook even boiled rice, as it is good for the heart; it made my bowel movement comfortable.
VIRGIN COCONUT OIL – I take one spoonful of this oil with raw honey everyday; it reduced the level of my bad cholesterol; I add one spoon to a glass of water that I gurgle and drink the gurgled water to remove bad breath, especially in the morning.
GARLIC – I steam one whole clove or several on top of the simmering boiled rice; pungent smell is eliminated; I eat them with my meals; it normalized my blood pressure.
ONION – a very important ingredient for dishes as well as curing colds, especially, if eaten raw in salad or cooked as soup.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR OR PURE COCO VINEGAR – aside from its use as preservative of cooked foods and raw vegetables prepared as “achara”, it can also be concocted as a home-made refreshing drink, by adding two spoons to a glass of water sweetened with honey; the vinegar neutralizes acidity of the stomach. As information, during the Biblical time, vinegar which perhaps could have been derived from grapes, mixed with water, was considered as a refreshing drink; mixed with myrrh, it was used as a pain killer, reason why Jesus while suffering on the cross was made to drink such mixture…it was not part of his punishment, but to somehow to relieve some pain.
GINGER – the root can give a spicy flavor to fish dishes, and can add a piquant taste to salads and dips; as a medication, it can eliminate flatulence.
CHILI – it can make foods “hot” but can also strengthen the immune system; I eat not less than six pieces every meal.
BANANA – nobody can dispute the fact that it is a good source of potassium, and can relieve one of “loose bowel movement” or LBM.
GUAVA LEAVES – the tea made from boiling them removes bad breath aside from strengthening the gums; it has been accepted as an effective antiseptic and anti-bacterial. I prepare the tea in another kettle and drink at least 3 mugs every day, aside from the tea prepared from the boiled leaves of guyabano, mango and lemon grass.
GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES – I need not elaborate their importance; they are the manifestations of the vitamins that can be eaten; their fiber makes my bowel movement easy and comfortable.
If I want guyabano leaves, I just take a few steps to my backyard and pick a few from a drooping branch of my tree, and for the mango and guava leaves, I just ask from my neighbors for them. But the coffee, I buy from the grocery…
I invest on local fruits in season, as for the imported ones such as apples and pears I buy the blemished and old that come cheap and cook them in brown sugar and cinnamon powder into “apple sauce”. I also buy green leafy vegetables in bulk to be half-cooked and apportioned in small containers, and keep in the freezer for scheduled use. Tomatoes that are cheap when in season, I douse with boiling water for easy peeling and stored in ref to be used when I cook pasta. The peeled tomatoes also go well with poor man’s salad that consist of onions, radish, raw pechay, shredded green papaya, chili and sprinkled with fish sauce (bagoong) or toasted dried anchovies (dilis) and vinegar. Those are my multi-vitamins served in plate and coffee mug…not in capsule or tablet, the non-soluble residues of which can get stuck and accumulated in the kidney and liver.