On Real Health this week, I mentioned a traditional South Indian soup that has been my go-to for winter sniffles. In Tamil, Rassam means “juice”. It can refer to any juice, but rassam is commonly referred to as a soup prepared with tamarind with spices and garnish. It has a savoury and spicy taste, which is pungent and flavourful. It is my all time favourite when I feel a sore throat coming on, or if I’m already sick with a cold or cough. All the tangy spices clear up the sinuses super quick, and allow for some inner warming when ill
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves of garlic
2 medium size dried red chilli
1 sprig of curry leaf
1/2 thinly sliced onion
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of black pepper corn
2 teaspoons of toasted mustard seed
1.5 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (I used the Tamicon brand)
3 cups of boiled water
6 sprigs of fresh coriander
Heat the oil in a medium sized pot (heat number 4 on the stove), and add the sliced onion. You’ll want to fry this until they are golden- dark brown.
In a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, cumin, black pepper and mustard seed and crush to a medium texture.
Once the onions have browned, add the spice mix, curry leaves, and break up the red chilli into 1cm pieces and let it all fry for about 2-3 minutes.
In a bowl, add the two tablespoons of tamarind paste, and to that, add two cups of boiled hot water. Stir the paste until it dissolves fully.
Now, slowly add this tamarind water to the pot of spices and reduce the heat to 3 on your stove. Add the salt and another cup of boiling water to the pot, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
Garnish with chopped coriander. It does taste better after a few hours. Best served plain- pour a quarter cup into a mug and sip slowly. Make sure to eat all the spices! That is the medicinal part. Another traditional variation is and serve hot over steamed rice and pan fried crispy potato. Perfect for winter!
I decided to share this very easy recipe with everyone who watched the show this week on Real Health. All the ingredient can be found in your local spice shop or your pantry!
It’s a great for warming up the chest and throat, and helps your body fight off any signs of a cold. There are variations that add brandy, however, this is safe for everyone, including children and pregnant woman.
The beneficial qualities:
Turmeric acts as a wonderful anti inflammatory
Cinnamon is an antimicrobial
Black pepper promotes sweating and helps rid the body of toxins
Ginger eases pain and acts as an anti- inflammatory
Cayenne pepper is a mucous decongestant and a natural pain reliever
Raw honey contains Propolis which has antibacterial and antiviral qualities
Lemon has lots of vitamin C and has immune boosting properties
2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon ground (or fresh) turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon bruised black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
slice of lemon
In a small pot, add the water and gently heat on a medium heat
Add the turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger and cayenne pepper
This month has brought in some very sick patients. This has to be the worst cold and flu season I have seen in a few years. Strange symptoms with fast moving disease pictures. It’s especially scary for mother’s with young children as the symptoms progress rapidly. My best advice would be to see a qualified homeopathic doctor as soon as possible, and ask for a few days off for sick leave in order to recover. If the infection gets really bad, a good homeopath will refer you to a GP for antibiotics.
Here is my guide to surviving this snotty season:
AVOID dairy. Bacteria love dairy as it provides nutrition for them to thrive! Dairy also amplifies the production of mucous in the body. Please try your best to avoid milk, yoghurt, cream, etc.
AVOID sugar. This is the obvious sugar (as in the granular type you sprinkle over everything), as well as added sugars in foods we eat- tomato sauce, prepacked foods, cereal’s. This also includes wheat products- white or brown. These are simple sugars that break down into simple glucose sugars. Unfortunately this may be difficult to avoid… but try your best. Sugar puts a huge strain on our immune system (read this article I previously wrote on sugar: https://yeshthehomeopath.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/how-junk-food-and-sugar-affects-weight-gain/) and actually dampens our recovery process.
AVOIDsugary medicines. I am also not a fan of cough mixtures and lozenges as they contain high amounts of glucose. Please read the labels to see if there is sugar in the content. Opt for natural cough mixtures and natural lozenges that are sugar free. Be aware of the addition of artificial sweeteners as well to these ‘healthier’ options. This must be avoided as their nutritional content is zero, and they only add to the toxicity in our bodies.You will easily find sugar and artificial sugar free products in a health shop.
AVOID alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine both dehydrate the body, slowing down other bodily reactions and weakening the immune system. Water is essential for almost every chemical reaction in the body, so when your body is under strain with a disease, every little bit of water counts. Your body also uses a lot of water to temper your fever… so give it what it needs.
INCREASE your sleep. I find ‘enough sleep’ is a relative term in today’s modern lifestyle… However, when you are sick, there is no way for your body to recover if you don’t get downtime. During your sleep cycle, the body gets an opportunity to detoxify as well as regenerate. This is when the parasympathetic nervous takes over and nurtures your sick body. Also, I’m sure you already feel sleepy and listless, so learn to listen to your body and please do get at least 10-15 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period in order in order to recover quicker. You will probably relish it too.
WASH your hands regularly. I know this may sound basic, but many people easily forget this, more so when you are sick! So, after you blow your nose, wash up. If you sneeze of cough, AVOID doing so in your hands. It is an art to practice this, but allow your cough/sneeze to fall into your inner forearm/ inner elbow as you block. This will avoid germs on your hands, and prevent you from spreading it around your home and office. Be conscious of the way we potentially spread germs in an environment, and by no means am I promoting O.C.D like behaviour!
AVOID gym and strenuous exercise. This relates to the sleep point. Allow your body some down time and let it recover without being put under more stress. Gym’s also are a huge breeding zone for bacteria and viruses, so best to avoid this place until your body is stronger.
INCREASE your fluid intake. So the doctor recommends you increase your fluid intake when you have a cold/flu. What does this mean? Water? Juice? Tea? Energy drinks? Again, try to avoid energy drinks and fruit juices. These both contain lots of sugar, and some of the energy drinks contain caffeine. These serve no purpose in your recovery. The answer would be (if you haven’t caught on from my article yet!) lots and lots of water! Let it be room temperature water as this is more soothing for the throat. It can get quite boring after a while, so here are a few idea’s:
1 cup of warm water, 1 teaspoon of raw honey, 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root, half a slice of fresh lemon
1 cup of warm water, steep in a green tea bag, 1 teaspoon of raw honey
A hot toddy- See recipe on my blog!
And last, but not least, replenish your spiritual reservoir as you feel your body starting to recover. I recommend visiting your reiki healer for a healing and recharging session. If reiki isn’t your thing, go for a soothing aromatherapy massage to help push out the last bit of toxins into your lymphatic fluid, so you can aid the detox process.