Traditional Remedies


It is always easier to take modern medicine whenever we are not feeling well but we should not ignore the benefits of traditional remedies. Do traditional remedies really work? I know some that really work…

For diarrhoea and vomiting (not due to any serious illnesses), mum would give me strong tea without sugar. Milk should be avoid until I get better. It is hard to drink cups of strong tea but it really works. Mum would also give me isotonic drinks until the diarrhoea/vomiting stops.

Young coconut water is not only tasty but is also very nutritious. Coconut water provides an isotonic electrolyte balance that makes it a good isotonic sport drink. Mum gives me young coconut water to drink whenever I have high fever or food poisoning.

The worst part of having a bad cold is blocked nose. Nowadays we have nasal spray but in the old days mum said that sometimes she could hardly sleep due to blocked nose. She had to use a few pillows to put her head up while sleeping until a close, dear friend of hers advised her to tie a piece of cloth tightly around her head until she hears a ‘pop’ sound. And it works!

Young coconut water, tea, honey and cloves are some of the items used in traditional remedies

Young coconut water, tea, honey and cloves are some of the items used in traditional remedies

Mum keeps a jar of coffee powder not only for making coffee but also for emergency uses. If she  hurts her finger while preparing a meal etc, she’ll use the coffee powder to stop the bleeding and it also helps to heal the wound.

Honey is full of goodness and is an excellent source of instant energy. If I have a sore throat or a cough, mum will gives me some honey mixed with lemon or lime juice to drink. It will really makes me feel better.

My dear grandfather taught my mum of another traditional remedy for cough. Mix some cooked rice with water and rock sugar; rest the mixture for a few hours before drinking. Another traditional remedy is tamarind mixed with rock sugar. Traditionally it should be left outside to collect the dewdrops but mum just let it rest for the night in the kitchen.

Water mixed with salt can relief a mild tooth and gum ache. Crushed clove can also be used for a relief  for tooth ache.

In Malaysian cooking, we use mortar and pastel to pound chilli and how it really hurts even if only a tiny drop accidentally splashes to ones eye (while pounding the chilli). It is believed that if the chilli got into ones right eye, rub the eye using the left knee and use the right knee for the left eye. I asked mum if it really works and mum said there is no harm in trying.

I agree with mum that we should learn more about traditional remedies. In fact we should learn more about the benefits of our herbs, plants and trees.


Moringa Oleifera – The Miracle Tree


I always love moringa curry; but I never imagine that the tree is so ‘special’ until highlighted by Dr. Azahar. According to Dr. Azahar moringa, murunggai, merunggai, kelo, or ‘mmungga’ (in Trengganuspeak) is rich in anti-oxidant and contains 7 times the vitamin C in orange, 4 times the calcium in milk, 4 times the vitamin A in carrots, 2 times the protein in milk and 3 times the potassium in bananas.

Moringa – compared with other foods

Impressed by the information, I did some reading on moringa. Moringa is a miracle tree and is one of the world most nutritious crops. It grows throughout the tropics and thrive in impossible places; even in bad soil. Not only it is a great source of nutrition for both human and animals, it can also be used for medicine (such as in fighting HIV and diabetes), dye water purification and biofuel.

The leaves contain complete protein which is rare for a plant. The growing tips and young leaves are tasty and very rich in iron. It is also good for sanctuary animal feed and livestock forage . The flowers are said to be effective in fighting cold and can be cooked as well as for making tea. They are also good for bee keepers. The pods and roots are edible too. The seeds can used to purify water by settling out sediment and organisms. Unlike Jatropha oil, the oil from moringa seeds is beneficial not only for making biofuel but also for human. The seeds are also effective against skin infection as they contain antibiotic.

[Moringa tree & fruit – courtesy of the respective sites]

This extremely fast growing tree can be planted from direct seeding, transplanting or using hard stem cutting. Anyway there are claims that moringa ‘attracts’ certain caterpillars that can cause allergic reaction to skin; if come in contact.

So now I have more good reasons to enjoy mum’s moringa curry. Imagine, eating the soft and tasty seeds and chewing on the skin at the end of the meal… plus all the vitamins, minerals and much more. Anyway sad to say that mum was down with flu last weekend, so no moringa curry for me this week! How I wish that I could give mum some moringa tea. I have not tried the moringa leaves but nenek(my grandma) used to fry them with eggs for omelets. And the Indians cook them in so many ways. The Sri Lankan love them too.

Note: I can’t recall if my Sri Lankan friend Aishah Salihue has a moringa tree among many other trees in her beautiful backyard in California. Her mum cooks wonderful vegetable dishes and I’m sure that her moringa dishes are delicious too!