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I had a cold over the holidays and my mother-in-law acted as my nurse. Thank heavens she did!

Rather than handing over a medicine cabinet full of pills and medications, she gave me gold and silver and copper. To swallow! I’m not kidding.

Once more my fascination was peeked when I looked at her over my swollen red nose and watering eyes as she described her family remedy for the seasonal cold. She told me that nowadays too many people take antibiotics and medications, a fact I was already exposed to from my days living in North America. “Modern people”, in her opinion, “today’s generation” as she calls us, don’t know how to care for ourselves without the help of man-made chemicals. She made it her business to educate me on the rich knowledge of herbal and homeopathic remedies that she sees disappearing as younger generations accept Pharmaceutical companies’ benevolent promises. She said her family has been curing and caring for themselves in the following ways for centuries (!) and she believes it’s quite a shame that all this practical knowledge is being lost or overlooked. She wanted me to know her methods so that her grandchildren will be properly care for. 🙂

I hope I don’t let her down! Here’s a good start.

Very old French family remedies for common illnesses: (These are available to buy ready-made at French pharmacies.)

Sore throat: Olbus – inhaler made of eucalyptus oil; lozenges of mint and eucalyptus. Hot water toddy of lemon, honey, white vinegar (for adults a dash of rum or Cognac).

Common cold:

  • Dissoluble Vitamin C in a glass of water.
  • Chicken broth made by boiling a whole chicken down for a few hours, add a few chopped carrots, an onion, a chopped up leek leaf, a few celery sticks, and a little salt. When the chicken starts to come off the bones, drain broth into bowl, serve to your sick one. (You can then add more water to the chicken and veggies and make a fabulous chicken soup/stew, add a few potatoes and don’t forget to strain to remove the bones.)
  • Five large glasses of water a day.
  • And stay in bed. Until I moved to France, if I had a cold I would take an aspirin and cough and sniffle and sneeze my way through the week. The French confine themselves to bed for a day or two, cover themselves with blankets and sweat it out.

Diarrhea/upset stomach: Coal (Whaaat? I know. I had the same reaction. But it works wonders; it also turns your teeth temporarily black, so brush after use.) In France, the name of the products is Cardox or Formocarbine. The newer products are made so that you don’t have the black teeth problem. (There is something to say for modern advances!) 🙂

Constipation: glycerin suppositories

Migraines: Cobalt tablets, peppermint oil rubbed on temples or affected area.

Here’s the kicker – Anti-fatigue regime:

At each change of season or when you are feeling particularly fatigued or stressed, take a 1 month treatment of gold, silver and copper. In the old days when my mother-in-law was young her nurse-maid would make up a batch of this remedy. Nowadays you can buy it at the Pharmacy as Oilgosol.

The regime is simple: For example, eight drops of the gold, silver, copper mixture in a glass of water each Sunday. Eight drops of manganese and cobalt on Mondays and Thursdays, and eight drops of magnesium on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Continue for a month.

On a more general note, the French seem to have many more dissoluble tablets as remedies than North Americans. Vitamin C, as mentioned above, as well as Efferalgan, a type of Ibuprofen, which works on fever, headache and chills are both typically available in dissoluble form.

I was taken aback when I first heard talk of these “heavy-metals” used as remedies and health boosters. But then I took a look at my 97 year-old grandmother-in-law and the picture of her 104 year- old husband and I paused. Perhaps they have a point. Perhaps all our new medical science overlooks, at times, the simplest remedies which have proved themselves for centuries.

A quick look on Google, and you’ll find quite a bit of scientific research that supports the idea that gold has medicinal uses.

Nevertheless, please don’t try these remedies without your doctor’s or a medical professionals’ advice. I am not a doctor and can only give anecdotal evidence of their effectiveness. But I remain intrigued, definitely intrigued.

If you have any family remedies in your family, I’d love to hear about them!