Bergamot is a plant. An herb. It is named after a Spanish botanist, Nicholas Monardes. You’d think the plant would be called Monardes then, wouldn’t you? And it is called Monarda when referenced formally (like at black-tie plant conferences?). But usually it is called Bergamot and sometimes Bee Balm and it is used to make tea, attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden and otherwise add some colour to one’s life. It is also used in solution to treat certain kinds of dermatitis.
Wormwood refers to various plants of the genus Artemisia but most commonly Artemisia absinthium. It is also called grande wormwood and absinthe wormwood. It seems to grow just about everywhere in the world and is used by many cultures. When brewed into a tea, it acts as a digestive tonic effective in dealing with everything from stomach ache to diarrhea.
There are many more herbs used in off-the-grid/alternative medicinal practices, of course. I am sure many readers have some personal experiences they could relate. And I could recite quite a few more myself. But the point of making mention of it today is that both those herbs have been in recent use around here. Here at the Raven Resort and Spa.
We both needed a bit of wormwood remedy following our stint in Central America. We found some in an open-air market in Guatemala and used it to brew a foul tasting tea while we were down there. It worked.
Much to our surprise, one of our local friends grows and processes the little tummy cleanser up here and she gave us a supply of home-made capsules (much more pleasant to ingest) when we got home. The minor parasite was, in a sense, disemboweled and laid to waste.
Sal has also recently developed a minor itch on her hands and so into the Bee Balm solution she dove. After one dip, much of the itch was eased. We fully expect resolution with a few more treatments.
A few years back, I was suffering from some muscle related pain and another local lady came over with tincture of Anica for a compress that worked a miracle.
Using herbs and wild things has been integrated into the health practices of this community for a considerable time. Just like in third-world countries, actually. And some of us (well, not us so much) are pretty good at it. I am always amazed at the various and effective herbal cures suggested and made available to me when the need is voiced.
Alternative medicine? Hardly. Using herbs in the form of compresses, tinctures, balms, teas and even as ingredients in meals is as old as time itself. This so-called alternative medicine is really the tried and true, basic and initial medicine. But how many people still do it?
The answer: I think more and more people rely on such things the further away from conventional medicine they live.
We didn’t use to. But we do now.
Whenever we had an ailment in the city, we went to the doctor. We sat politely until well after our appointed time and then described our problem to the disinterested professional in thirty seconds or less. Then we left with a prescription for an industrialized, packaged and expensive drug. Or, on occasion, with an organ removed. I think that is now the common approach for most people.
But here’s the thing: we can often treat ourselves better than can the time-and-interest-challenged doctor. For minor ailments such as stomach upsets, small burns, cuts, aches, pains and simple gastro-intestinal issues, I tend to know my own body better than they do. Oh, I know they have more Latin names for my parts but I know them by old familiar nicknames and, anyway, a nose by any other name is still a nose. Right?
I guess what I am saying is this: I now consider seeing a doctor only when a major piece of complicated machinery may be required like an X-ray or an MRI. Or, given my tendency to gain weight, a forklift. For general, everyday complaints, I try to treat myself. Not surprisingly, I am doing better at that kind of malaise/complaint than they ever did. And there is an added bonus to it all: I don’t have to travel. I don’t have to wait. And I don’t pay the pharmacist.
OK, occasionally I have to sacrifice a goat during the full moon but, still, it is way better than sitting in the typical germ-infested waiting room.
Sheesh……..am I off-the-grid or what!?