Home Cure for the Single Woman
Natural Healing and the Single Woman
I grew up in a rural community that benefited from the wisdom of older persons who breathed ancient science from the time the sun rose till evening every wonderful day year in and year out. Those years with my great grandmother were special years for learning natural healing without being taught. Most people in our community seldom went to hospitals. There was no need because if we had fever, my grandma would just boil lemon grass, squeeze lemon on it and then put some honey or brown sugar. Fever wouldn’t last a day. If fever stayed a bit longer than one day, my grandma would pinch my nape for about 2 minutes until my nape turned red and then she would get an herb called yerba buena and spread it over steaming rice spread on a clean cloth. The poultice would be wrapped around my forehead until it cooled down after which my headache and fever would be gone.
Almost every house in our community had herbal plants. Sambong, Kadlum, Artamisa, Lagundi, Babad and many many more were ordinary part of our everyday lives. There was a sad part about the story of herbal cures, however. When I accompanied a neighbor once to a doctor, our neighbor was warned by the doctor not to be just resorting to herbs as these couldn’t cure people. Don’t believe in superstition, the doctor warned. As a young girl, I thought the doctor was a liar because my experience with herbs were wonderful. I thought getting sick was not a problem in our family and in our neighborhood if only we had herbs around the house all the time.
As I grew up and was in secondary school, I heard my classmates from the town scoffing at herbal cures. These classmates referred to herbal plants as the recourse of the poor and ignorant. I was protesting inside and outside. How dare you, I would murmur or speak emphatically. Little did I realize then that the perception about herbal cures was a social construction of a reality that favored the ways of the rich. Little did I know then about the politics of pharmaceutical companies and doctors. I would fully understand the divide in consciousness regarding natural healing when I was a young teacher forever arguing in favor of the power of herbal medicine.
Fast forward to the 21st century when herbal medicine has somewhat been recognized as a valid cure. I could see books on herbal treatment in bookstores or in some offices spoken of as the result of painstaking studies of biologists or horticulturists. When I got hold of the books on herbal and other natural cures, I could still feel my grandmother’s spirit roaming the kitchen for garlic, ginger, black pepper and other home cures. The older persons in our community were right all along and yet society had to wait for the rich and the “educated” to pronounce that herbal medicine does work.
Fast forward to the time I was diagnosed with cancer of the endometrium. Thank God, I had not experienced the anxiety and the pain often associated with persons who are diagnosed with cancer.
At that stage of my life when I learned I had cancer, I have been intellectually exposed enough to know that the fear of cancer is something that is peddled daily by those interested in the market for cancer drugs. In fact, when I told the doctor who strongly advised me to go for hysterectomy that I was considering natural healing. I was told that my option was a crazy idea; an untested idea. But I knew in my heart that cancer was just like any other ailment. It was just wrapped with the horrifying colors of tormenting anxieties so that cancer patients and their families would cling to only one option.
Now I am surviving cancer with all the natural cures that I can lay my hands on - garlic, onion, malunggay (moringa oleifera), chili, guyabano (soursop), cod liver oil, turmeric, spirulina and many many more of nature’s gifts. And I am still working to earn a living at 66.