Health Benefits of Greek Ouzo – 'To Farmako' – The Medicine
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Ouzo – To Farmako – The Medicine
For centuries, Greeks have believed that Greek Ouzo and its
predecessor, Tsipouro; have some distinct medicinal benefits. Ouzo has so many
uses in Greek folk medicine that they call it To Farmako, the medicine.
Certainly, some of the properties attributed to the drink appear to make sense,
whereas others are purely anecdotal. These remedies may help in some cases
whilst, in others, they may just be the excuse given by Greek men to avoid a
scolding when they get home. Some of these effects, such as the diuretic and
the decongestant properties, are undoubtedly due to the alcohol, but some of
the others have been attributed to the various herbs and spices used to flavour
this drink. Certainly, you have nothing to lose by trying it, although take it
easy – Ouzo is not to be taken lightly!
1) Acclimatisation: For those unused to the hot
and dry climate in Greece,
acclimatisation can be a nightmare. For many people, the blood thickens as the
body attempts to cope with the intense heat, and nosebleeds and swollen ankles
are common for those unused to the Greek summer. Drinking plenty of water is
always good, but a glass or two of Ouzo thins the blood and alleviates some of
the worst symptoms.
If you have trouble sleeping, a couple of Ouzos before you go to bed will help
even the worst insomniacs. Greeks tend to sleep during the hottest part of the
day, and a slug of Ouzo is better than any sleeping pill.
Old Greek men and women rub Ouzo into tired muscles and aching joints, claiming
that it relieves the worst symptoms of rheumatism.
Ouzo makes you smile. For people feeling a little nervous or suffering from
anxiety, an Ouzo will make you relax and forget your worries for a while. Make
sure that you drink with company and good conversation.
Ouzo is used to relieve the worst symptoms of toothache, and older Greeks swear
by it as an anaesthetic. To be fair, most strong alcoholic drinks have the same
Ouzo certainly clears the head, partly because of the alcohol, but also because
of the herbs and spices that make up the unique flavour. A hot Tsipouro with
cloves is even better, alleviating the worst symptoms of a heavy cold.
For a chesty cough, many older Greeks rub Ouzo into their chest, claiming that
it clears the lungs.
has a hot climate, and untended wounds can quickly turn septic. A little neat
Ouzo is as good an antiseptic as anything.
Other Uses for Ouzo
I accept no responsibility for this one, so disclaim any liability, but I use Ouzo to clean the lens on my CD-ROM drives, and it works a treat. If the drive is having trouble reading discs, pour a little Ouzo onto a Q-Tip and gently clean the lens. I have a sneaking feeling that most warranties would not accept Ouzo as a cleaning fluid, so you have been warned.
Is there anything that Ouzo cannot do?
The Ouzo Effect, where the anise emulsifies in water and gives the opaque and milky experience, is poorly understood mechanism. Scientists researching the effect believe that this effect could be of great benefit to the cosmetic and medical industries.
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