Ditch the Drugs

The all-too-familiar gurgling in my stomach began earlier this week, on my way back from drinking green tea with rice at Kue. I still haven’t figured out the origin of the bug that invaded my digestive tract, promising some round-the-clock round-trips to the bathroom. However, like so many chemical cleaners, it was quick-acting and began to sanitize my innards almost immediately.

S arrived shortly after I felt the first pangs of ugh. As if she had foreseen this sudden unfolding of events, she pulled out of her bag a small carton which held within it a vial of tiny capsules. Uh-oh. Even from a distance I could identify the small writing, the delicate illustrations: Chinese medicine.

This realization induced almost-immediate nausea as I rapidly conjured up the near-traumatizing memories of ingesting well-boiled putrid-tasting leaves and branches in Kuala Lumpur last year. Oh yes, it was all well-intentioned; but vile nonetheless. Sure enough, when I opened the vial that she handed to me, and placed two caps on my tongue, the vomit-like sensation returned with a vengeance, penetrating deeply into my taste-buds and throughout my mouth Oh yuck.

A little later, when P found out that I was down with a bug, this no-nonsense, botanically-minded friend urged me to help myself to colloidal silver and aloe.

Then M piped in, reminding me about the health benefits of Norit (local name of activated charcoal, available at most convenience stores). So Wayan picked some up at the apotek on her way over.

And once Wayan arrived, heard the news and got going in the kitchen, there was simply no stopping her: She whipped up all sorts of natural-remedy concoctions; jamu – traditional Indonesian medicine, comprised of turmeric, honey, ginger, lime and an assortment of other ingredients; hot water with mint; and black tea.

Later, she cooked up and spooned out a bland-tasting bubur, mixture of rice porridge and leaves. And then, before she headed home, she carved out the top of a young coconut that her husband Nyoman had earlier plucked from the tree  in the back garden, poured me a tall glass of jus kelapa muda – explaining that it would cleanse out my insides.

I drank, I ate, I tried to be somewhat merry. In no time, I could feel that the charcoal, ginger, jamu and coconut water were doing their thing. No surprise. (Jury is still out on the chinese meds)

It didn’t take me long to appreciate the oodles of blessings in all of this: Not a single friend suggested that I make a beeline to the closest medical clinic or buy some pharma-meds. Of course not.

This is Ubud, after all, a place where most people I know live by the mantra of natural healing (whenever possible); where friends cultivate their own medicinal gardens, mix up batches of herbs and freely share knowledge and plants.

Amen to that, I am indeed grateful.

So ditch the drugs, if you can, and poke around in your gardens… you just might come up with a bucket-full of natural goodies to heal thyself.


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