If you shy away from using pharmaceutical medicine to treat small ailments as a first resort, you’re in luck. Here are a few generations-old home remedies and natural cures from Greece still used today.
To cure a winter cold, drink tsai tou vounou (Greek or mountain tea). This herbal drink is made of ironwort, which grows virtually everywhere in the Greek mountains. Brew it and drink it warm with a bit of Greek honey. Bonus: it is delicious.
Maximize your chance of a quick recovery with this other remedy: boil a cup or two of red wine with a cinnamon stick in it, wait until the mixture has cooled slightly is still warm to drink, and symptoms should subside quickly.
Another remedy for colds is the traditional avgolemono soup. Much like the winter-cure-all chicken soup, this Greek version may not cure colds, but it definitely helps to make you feel better. Packed with vitamin C, the soup calls for chicken, lemons, eggs, olive oil and herbs. Some also add carrots and other ingredients to suit their taste.
Bring down a fever by drinking a little bit of boiled oregano and cinnamon.
Placing a slice of onion on a bruise for a while should calm the discoloration.
If you have a headache but want to avoid taking another painkiller or aspirin, try this old trick: apply a compress dipped in vinegar to your forehead for a while; the acidity of the vinegar is thought to decongest the blood vessels.
At the first symptoms of urinary tract infection, dissolve and drink a tablespoon of baking soda in one glass of water. This remedy serves to alleviate the pain and burning sensation by increasing the alkalinity of the bladder, but it’s only a temporary fix, so don’t wait too long to get to a doctor.
As soon as a cough develops, a simple grandmother’s recipe is to gargle a tablespoon of salt in a cup of warm water. The same mixture can also be used for a sinus infection.
Usually a symptom for another problem, diarrhea can provoke dehydration and needs to be checked out if it lasts for several days. At first sign, prepare a simple dish called lápa, a sort of sticky white rice meal with lemon juice. The lemon is known to kill the pathogens causing diarrhea, so improve your chances by drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed in a tall glass of water throughout the day.
To relieve tooth pain, boil six or seven dried mint leaves in a cup of water, and drink the mixture after about 20 minutes. The mild anesthetic effect of the mint will help numb the painful area.
Beside classic prune juice, a few other homemade remedies can treat constipation. Brew three grams of green tea leaves in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes with a tablespoon of honey (even add some water used for boiling beans) and drink once cool.
A couple of age-old recipes can help control and treat any hair issues: rubbing a mixture of onion on the scalp helps stimulate hair growth, or a concoction of rosemary and nettle helps prevent hair loss and promote a healthier scalp.
For tired and sore feet, simply roll your feet over a tennis ball for a mini massage. For extra relief, do the same with a bottle filled with ice water.
Olives are a handy snack to bring along on travels for those suffering from motion sickness. Rich in tannins, olives dry your mouth to help relieve motion sickness symptoms. Drinking a glass of lemon juice is sure to have the same effect.
A natural anemia treatment passed down since ancient Greece is consumption of beetroot. Since it has a high level of iron, it was used to treat common blood conditions. Add it to veggie smoothies to double the chances of increasing you red blood cell count.
Hippocrates prescribed drinking barley soup to treat several chest conditions. He also firmly recommended drinking a mixture of vinegar and honey as they were said to bring up phlegm.