One day, we were enjoying our summer activities: motorcycling, swimming outside, sitting along a canal sipping beverages with our friends, and the next: RAIN, and lots of it. Yep, it's fall.
With the season come the usual physical maladies. For the past couple of weeks, everyone through the door has a sniffly nose or a full-blown cold. Flu season is here too, although the flu shots are delayed still until December.
How does this affect your appointment?
If you are feeling well enough to get here, you are definitely welcome. It's generally not a great idea to come with a high fever, because you'd be better off resting at home. And if you come, please send me a message as early as you can so I can prepare especially for you!
If you need to cancel, please try to give me at least 24 hours notice so that I can try to fill your slot with someone off the waiting list. The more the better, even if you're NOT SURE you might cancel. And if your notice to me is under 24 hours, I do need to charge the cost of the appointment.
Let's focus on how I can help you when you've got a cold... read on!
During Your Appointment
I've turned on the heat, and re-installed the heating mat, so you'll be toasty warm! If your clothes have gotten wet from the rain, we can set them on the radiators and you're welcome to wear the cotton clothes I bring from Thailand, available in many sizes.
As usual, the general-purpose warming herbal packs are steaming away, ready to press all over and ease those aching muscles. In addition, however, there's another pack I make, ready for this season: the salt drying herb pack. This compress is heated dry, not steamed, and is wonderful for using on the lungs, so all around the ribcage, in order to help diminish chest congestion.
For sinus congestion, I've made a citrus aromatic inhaler that you can breathe from while you're here, and I'm preparing small versions of that to take home.
If you suspect a cold coming on, I will send you home with some powdered andrographys, which you can use to make a drink. It is used extensively in Thailand both as a preventative and a cure.
If you remember to let me know in advance, I can also prepare one of the drinks for colds or the lime cold concoction. You can make these yourself as well at home, recipes below!
Self-Care for you to do at HOME!
Cook your food!
Fall is a rainy, windy season and the beginning of the cold season. If you're a fan of raw and cold foods, this is a good time to move on to cooked foods. Your body will digest it better. In traditional Thai medicine, like many traditional medicines, food is an important part of balancing your body's health.
To calm WIND: Eat salty, spicy/hot, and sour foods.
To warm you and feed FIRE: Eat spicy/hot and aromatic/pungent foods.
Those all-caps words refer to the Elements that need balancing at this time. Like many traditional medicine systems, element theory plays an important role in TTM (Traditional Thai Medicine). This post isn't the place for it, but I will try to address it in a future post.
A great example of a nourishing food in this period is Tom Yum soup, so I've included a recipe below.
Lest we all forget that I used to also do workshops in homemade skincare...
I don't know about you, but my skin gets super dry with heating turned on and the wind and cold outside. I use really good heavy duty moisturizers, but even those sometimes don't seem to be enough, or just feel like grease that isn't getting absorbed. Then I found a simple recipe in one of my skincare books, and I sometimes use it all by itself and sometimes to help the others absorb. It's super easy, so I'll include it here instead of with the other recipes:
1 part vegetable glycerine to 3 parts rosewater.
Shake well. Safe for face and body.
I keep a large quantity in the fridge and a small quantity in the bathroom. I've even dumped some into my bathtub before!
Recipes, as promised
Tom Yum soup
Soothing to the WATER element (the element of cold), this is also good for intestinal trouble, and congestion or cold without fever.
280g prawns, washed, peeled & deveined
700ml chicken stock
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 shallots, sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, white portion only, sliced into 3cm pieces
10 thin slices of galangal, skin removed (sometimes called laos in the toko)
190g straw mushrooms, cut in half
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
20 small green Thai chilies, halved lengthwise (fewer if you prefer milder)
45ml fish sauce or soy sauce
30ml lime juice
5 kaffir lime leaves, de-stemmed (freezer section at toko, usually)
30ml chopped coriander
Put stock, garlic, shallots, lemongrass and galangal in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and tomatoes, and bring back to a boil. Add chilies, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add prawns and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and add lime juice. Garnish with coriander before serving. (Serves 4.)
Note: although you usually serve this soup with all the ingredients in it, you don't usually eat the lemongrass, galangal, and chilies. If you like to, you certainly can.
Recipe credit: Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School, via Nephyr Jacobsen in her book Thai Herbal Medicine, co-authored with C. Pierce Salguero. I can really recommend Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School too--especially their evening "master classes."
Good for colds, indigestion, menstrual pain and nausea. (NOTE: if menstrual pain is troubling you, please mention it to me. I've got a great mixture for that!)
10 stalks fresh lemongrass, the lower ⅔ of the stalk only
1 liter water
Bruise the lemongrass well in a mortar or on a cutting board with something heavy. Cut into 5cm lengths (approximately) and place in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding water as needed if evaporating a lot. Remove from heat and strain out the lemongrass. Sweeten as desired with a natural sweetener of your choice.
In Thailand, this is usually made very sweet, but that's up to you. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, but I'd recommend hot in this period. You can make a large batch ahead and gently reheat.
Recipe credit: Thai Herbal Medicine again
Lime Cold Concoction
This one will scare the cold right out of you! It is best taken when you first think you feel a cold coming on, but if you've already got the cold, take it up to 3 times a day.
7 black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
juice of ½ lime (with or without pulp)
pinch of sea salt
Grind the peppercorns in a mortar. Add the garlic and shallot and grind well. Add the lime juice and salt and mix to make a wet paste.
Eat it all up! Don't be tempted to put it on toast or something. Just eat it. It makes my whole face scrunch up! Don't eat this on an empty stomach.
Recipe credit: Nephyr Jacobsen
Drink to Help Clear Mucous
7 black peppercorns
1-3 cardamom pods, black or green
1 clove garlic
Grind the peppercorns and seeds from the cardamom in a mortar. Add the garlic and grind well. Put it in a cup and add hot water. This time you get to add honey to taste!
Recipe credit: Nephyr Jacobsen