I had the privilege of meeting with Anke Bialas from Herbology fame on more than a couple of occasions. I even had the privilege of sharing the stage with her as I spoke about herbal infusions at the Friday Tea Club. Anke was there by my side reinforcing the answers I gave to the questions asked and we had a wonderful evening, but I digress; this post is about her new book, Homemade Health – Home Remedies Your Grandmother Knew.
I remember writing last year about how I was being snobby about herbal infusions but I have since had a new found respect for our caffeine-free friends as I have delved into them and studied them a lot more deeply.
I love the front cover of this book. It is simple and uncomplicated, which kinda sets a precedent for the rest of the book as each section is clearly marked and leaves the reader with no illusion as to what to expect.
I also love the sub-title. “Home Remedies your Grandmother Knew”. It made me smile; one of these smiles that is immediately followed by a confirmation nod and as I opened to the Contents page, I was greeted with a beautiful photograph of a bunch of herbs – and another smile ensued.
There were lots of light bulb moments for me as I read fascinating insights into herbs such as rosemary, sage and garlic. And I’m sure that most readers of this book will have their own stories and remedies that they share with others. In fact, it was only the other day that I was asked for any remedies I had for a cold and I shared with a friend of mine a Mexican recipe for garlic soup. It is a soup that my husband always craves for when he has a cold. Funnily enough whenever we’ve had the soup we’ve never experienced bad breath and one of those a-ha moments I previously talked about was when I read about parsley (one of the ingredients in the soup) which is said to chase away garlic breath.
When I have acquired a new book, I like to flick through the pages and I have to admit, the section “From Acne to Warts” excited me. Ailments are clearly listed in alphabetical order with the accompanying herbal to suit that ailment underneath it. As a simple girl, I like simple things and so the alphabetised ailments were easy for me to flick through to get to the conditions that I was interested in. I’ve talked about smiles and light bulb moments and now I’d like to share with you a funny thought as I read through the section on colds.
The first recommendation for a cold the book suggests, is a decoction of ginger root which took me back to my childhood and reminded me of my mother’s age old recipe for treating a cold. The recipe also involves a few slices of ginger being thrown into a pot, but deviates slightly with a smattering of chopped spring onions with….wait for it….a famous branded cola! The mixture would then be heated on the stove and once boiled, it was ready to drink. Now I don’t know if it cured my colds when I was a child but you can imagine that the sweetness of the cola and the warmth of the ginger, which was enhanced through heating the beverage, certainly made me feel a lot better. In fact, I was later to find out that the famous branded cola was once sold as a tonic. I remember telling this story in a Tea Appreciation class I held last month, pens were at the ready for my mum’s age old recipe and you could see the bemused faces when I revealed the secret ingredient.
Homemade Health is packed full of extremely useful information, beautiful photographs and illustrations and it is a book that you will keep returning to as and when you need it. It is an easy book to digest and is far from intimidating which I have sometimes found with other books that talks about remedies found in the garden.
For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that I am a huge fan of technology and I love the fact that there is a QR code at the back of the book so that you can have instant access to the “Herbology on the Go” app: an app that is not only available on iPhone but also on Android and Microsoft’s Windows phone too.
So, if you would like an easy reference guide to “simple and effective treatments from the pantry” then I would look no further than “Homemade Health” and if herbal “teas” are your cup of tea (guffaw), then I suggest you connect with Anke on Twitter or on Facebook where she has herbal infusion blends with endearing names such as Sereni-Tea and Simplic-Tea available for purchase.