The flu season this year has been particularly bad. Everyone seems to be sick and people have started turning to traditional home remedies in their frustration.
Dr Bilquis Sheikh, herbalist and totka (home remedy) expert, was on SAMAA TV’s show Naya Din to explain when to rely on home remedies and when to go to a doctor.
When there is persistent high fever it means that infection in the body has increased and you need to go to doctor, she said.
But for milder cases laung (cloves) in the kitchen is your best antibiotic, the herbalist claimed. “Grind it and mix it with honey. Have less than one gram per day on a daily basis.”
She even recommends children try a little to develop a taste for it.
Another useful remedy is adrak kahwah (ginger tea), she said. Lemon also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps with colds. Take a fresh lemon and put it in boiling water to make a healing tonic, Dr Sheikh said.
Kalonji (nigella seeds) is good for curing colds, too. To use it as a home remedy, crush the seeds and add two tablespoons to a pot of water. Bring the water to boil until half of it is left, add a pinch of salt and use a sieve to obtain the tonic, Dr Sheikh explained.
She advised to keep the mixture in the throat for a while before drinking to allow it to heal the damaged throat lining.
For those suffering from allergies because of the constant temperature fluctuation, the herbalist recommended trying kalonji mixed with apple juice.
Taking steam also helps clear stuffy noses and allergies, she added. She advised three ways to take steam: one with water and salt, the second with neem leaves and the third was with safaida (eucalyptus) leaves.
The fumes of eucalyptus leaves boiled in water can cure the dry lining of the nose, the herbalist said.
A caller from Karachi asked Dr Sheikh for advice for his infant daughter who had a constant upset stomach. He said the two-month-old wasn’t on her mother’s feed and was drinking lactogen one instead.
As a result her stomach was bloated and painful, the father said.
Dr Sheikh advised the man to visit his paediatrician and have the daughter’s milk changed. She was most likely allergic to lactose, the herbalist said.
As for home remedies she recommended a massage with mustard oil (sarson) to ease her upset stomach.