Saturday, August 24, 2013

Today I learned that folk medicine in Kazakhstan gets a lot of mileage out of urine. Smash your finger in a door? Soak it a young child's urine. Trouble with joints? Put urine on a cabbage leaf and wrap it around the joint. Toothache? Rinse your mouth with urine. Cancer? Drink your own urine. Amazing.

Yesterday was one of those all too frequent days during which I neither left the house nor spoke a single word. Scary. Today, however, I volunteered to lead a discussion group at a coffee shop/library, and the topic I chose was "folk medicine."  I was hoping to learn a lot and I did.

Me: What's the first thing you do when you think you're getting a cold.
Discussion group participant: Drink sheep's oil.
Me: Sheep's oil? What is that good for?
Participant: Everything.

I'm going to have to get some sheep oil. And start drinking warm milk, honey, and butter when I'm sick. And drinking kumys for any ailment under the sun. These participants were amazing--they were really on top of their home remedies. I thought I'd make them come up with some possible home remedies with cabbage, apples, and fennel, and then check their guesses against a medicinal herbs book I'd found, but nobody in the class was guessing. "Oh, yes, apples to stimulate children's appetites. And for digestion. And for skin care. Cabbage for dieting, cabbage for fevers; fennel and milk as a mask. I should have taken notes.

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