Russian natural health remedies that actually work
Russian winter is coming, and so are colds, tonsillitis and flu. But don’t be scared! Russians have the best solutions for these problems, and they mostly come from nature. Despite modernizations, in fact, Russia remains one of the powerhouses of traditional natural medicine, providing people with effective tips and tricks on how to survive their freezing winter. Here is a list of 5 self-treatments for flu symptoms that may help you face the Russian winter in the best of ways.
Garlic as an ally against cold
Other than being a widely used ingredient in Russian cuisine, garlic is also known for treating and preventing flu symptoms. It has been proved that this vegetable, which has a history of several thousand years of human consumption, is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that are extremely healthy for our bodies. Russians are certainly aware of it, this is why they have been using it as a remedy for colds and flu for ages! But how can we use this prodigious yet smelly vegetable? Russians recommend a few ways: you could either string some cloves and wear them as a necklace (definitely not the most fashionable piece of jewelry, we know), or blend it, mix its juice with some water and drink it before going to bed. Some also use garlic drops to prevent stuffy nose, or simply eat it raw.
Sunflower seeds for blood pressure
Sunflower seeds are undoubtedly an essential element in Russian culinary culture: seeds were a very popular snack in Soviet times, but still nowadays Russians enjoy them because of their salty taste and crunchiness. Besides their flavour, sunflower seeds are also blessed with proprieties that are supposedly very beneficial to prevent blood pressure problems. Whenever you feel swelling in your legs or you experience a pressure drop, we suggest you should equip yourself with some of these magical seeds. However, the most effective way you could consume them is in tea form: just let them boil in water for 10 minutes, leave the tea rest till it cools down and drink it.
Honey and black turnip: an energy booster
When I first came to Russia I was not at all familiar with black turnip, but after spending a few months in a host family living with an authentic babushka, I realized this tuber is a must in the traditional Russian diet. I recall seeing a weird-looking black vegetable placed on the kitchen counter, and the babushka telling me not to touch it “until it would be ready”. She then explained to me that the turnip had been filled with honey, which should rest in it for two days before being eaten. Apparently, the honey soaks in the pulp of the tuber creating a prodigious juice that can cure anything, from cold, to flu, to lack of energy. I was surprised to know what babushka said is actually scientifically based: science proves that black turnip carries a lot of health benefits such antioxidants as well as vitamin C, B, A, and E. Plus, honey is known for being a great immune system booster, which makes the combo of the two a secret weapon against illnesses.
Russian banya to cure stuffy nose
Russian banya is a quintessential Russian experience and a must-do if you are coming here. It could be described as the Russian version of a sauna and it is usually located in a wooden hut. The banya was born in the old Viking settlement of Veliky Novgorod (southeast of St. Petersburg) and it is so deeply rooted in Russian culture, that it still remains one of the most common weekly activities for many Russians. Even though according to historical evidence Apostole Andrew described the banya as a “veritable torment” during a visit to Russia, the banya is proved to be very good for your health: the high temperature combined with the warm steam have the power to relax muscles, cleanse lungs and, most of all, cure stuffy nose.
Dried mustard for muscular tension
We bet none of you has ever thought about mustard as a health remedy, but this is where Russians come into play. In this country dried mustard plasters (“gorchichniki”, from Russian word “gorchitsa” – mustard) are very common: they are made out of a poultice of mustard seed powder spread inside a protective dressing and applied to the body to stimulate healing. The balsamic proprieties of mustard will keep your body warm, giving you a pleasant sensation of heat and relaxation and they can also be used for chronic aches and pains. Your tense muscles after a hard day of work or a day out in the cold will surely benefit from mustard! (If you are interested in giving these plasters a try, you can either go to a local pharmacy or easily buy them on the internet).
So now you know some of the best natural methods Russians use not to get sick during winter: as odd as they may seem, babushkas all over Russia still use them to take care of themselves and of every member of their family. Want to test their effectiveness? Then give them a try and let us know!
(However, if your symptoms persist please contact a doctor: sometimes garlic and honey may not be enough).