Cold Comfort: Korean Home Remedies
My regular blog readers will be aware (how could you have missed it, with all the whining?) that we at AsiaVu have had a challenging Winter as far as cold and flu season goes. In a clear case of One-Upmanship, no sooner had I been diagnosed with my case of Extreme Laryngitis, then MrLogical succumbed to his own batch of germs, and has spent the last week or so
alienating my affections stubbornly battling his own personal respiratory demons - mostly in the form of coughing all.night.long. Even Son#2 - who had thus far made it through the entire school year without missing a single day and ordinarily bursting with the rude health of the Young - finally went down with what we have generically termed 'The Funk.'
As you would expect, along with our antibiotics we also pulled out all our tried-and-true home remedies: hot tea, hot baths, Vicks Vaporub, humidifiers, chicken soup, and the like.
What's different now that we're in Korea is that we have access to Korean home remedies, and lately we've added two more items to the arsenal in the hope that they'll prove more effective against Korean germs than our ineffective waygook* comfort measures.
I was introduced to the first when I was sick back in December. Son#3 (honorary title for Son#1's Korean friend) brought it over and explained that, while many Koreans drank it just because it tasted wonderful, it was also very good for colds and flu. It was a Honey Citrus Tea concentrate, which you can buy at any Korean supermarket.
This seemed perfectly reasonable, since tea with honey and lemon was a familiar remedy to me from my childhood. I had just never seen the ingredients in this form before:
It's sort of like a lemon curd jam, with slices of lemon peel in it. Dissolve a spoonful or two in a cup of nearly-boiling water and stir. Soothes sore throats like a charm. Also smells really good.
The second remedy was actually given to MrLogical by a concerned Korean co-worker who heard him coughing
like he was trying to expel a lung and insisted that he drink a cup of this tea:
Whether the co-worker provided the tea out of concern for MrL's welfare or out of alarm at the frightening intensity of his coughing remains unknown: in either case, the tea is a sweet and spicy ginger tea. In case you don't speak Korean, you can tell by smell and taste (or by this helpful photo of a ginger root on the back label:)
At the risk of jinxing ourselves, it seems like we're all finally on the road to recovery. How much of it was due to the Korean remedies, we'll probably never know. But we're happy we found them, and next year? We'll be prepared.
*Korean word for 'foreigner'