I do have a belief in things like herbals and alternative medicine, and one could possibly say (please not in my presence) that I am naïve.  But I also have a good reason for this belief – these things work for me. 

A good example is this business of what I used to think of as my “jaundice” attacks.

In my mid-20s I started getting them.  At such times - once, and sometimes twice a year – my skin and eyes would take on a yellow-brown tinge.  For anything from one to three days I would feel listless and “under the weather”, moving with difficulty and having to force myself to continue a normal day.  And though we had a doctor on call – my father – I had already left the parental domain and somehow I never thought of asking his advice. 

This state of affairs lasted for about 40 years – up to my mid-60s – around which time I started talking to myself (nu, old age, what do you expect).  I began with a question:

“Tell me, have you ever read an article that onions clean your blood?”

“Yes” I had to answer reluctantly, “I have read this somewhere”.

Reluctantly, because in all my years I had never eaten onions – in fact I couldn’t even stand the smell of them.  This seems to have been the case since my earliest years.  Perhaps my nanny forced them on me – who knows?

Now, somewhere during this period of questioning I thought, “what the hell, let’s try it.” 

The next salad I was served I asked for a few bits of raw onion to be put in, and forced myself to eat them – trying to disguise the taste with lots of other raw vegetables.  I really gagged on this but continued to eat three or four small pieces.  Don’t ask!

Once I had made this commitment I continued with the occasional onion including spring onions which seem to be less nauseating. 

And lo and behold!  Ten to twelve years have gone by and I haven’t had another “jaundice” attack.

I still don’t particularly like them, but occasionally I eat a bit of onion, the fewer the better. 

Other herbs and cure-alls we have at home: lots of freshly-squeezed lemon and a sprig of rosemary in warm water every morning (never had a cold).  And a whole lot of herbal teas.

Now I’m trying out ginkgo biloba in tablet form for my tinnitus.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Mike Porter

Mike Porter was born in South Africa. In Johannesburg he became a newspaper reporter on the Rand Daily Mail, besides writing for the Sunday Times, Zionist Record and, years later, for the EP Herald...

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