Amateur alchemists and the dark art of Flu Voodoo
Here in the oh-so-civilised West, we like to see ourselves as a rationally-minded bunch driven by reason and science.
Every winter, however, great snotty swathes of us become amateur alchemists and turn in sniffly desperation to the dark arts of Flu Voodoo.
According to the most cutting and edgy of medical research, there is no real cure for the average winter snotfest aside from a) time and b) a bit of luck.
But if there’s one thing we 21st Century humans can’t stand, it’s waiting. In fact, the only thing we hate more is accepting that often we have zero control over our fates.
So when winter brings its inevitable curse of barking coughs, hot and cold running snot, and corpse-esque enervation, we abandon empiricism and get our shamens on.
“Ah-ha,” we nod sagely, inspecting the various fluorescent shades of each other’s nasal secretions like soothsayers reading tea leaves.
“We have what amounts to an incurable illness. Let’s suppress our deep frustration and horror at this fact by turning our backs on peer-reviewed medical research and trying a bit of necromancy.”
How our fires burn and our caldrons bubble. (Though fortunately the relative scarcity of poison’d entrails and fenny snake fillets restricts us to more prosaic potion ingredients such as the chewable vitamin tablet.)
Given that no cold cure has ever been officially endorsed by the mainstream medical establishment, a critical aspect of Flu Voodoo is convincing others of the efficacy of our own idiosyncratic approaches to abracadabra-ing.
This winter, a lingering rhinovirus has resulted in multiple friends and public transport strangers demanding I engage in mystical rituals such as:
- swallowing whole cloves of par-crushed garlic;
- mummifying my torso with tea towels soaked in apple cider vinegar and sprinkled with black pepper; and
- marinating my feet in a combination of extra virgin olive oil, raw eggs and vodka.
The distraction of attempting to transmute myself into alcoholic mayonnaise certainly took my mind off the mucous geysers.
That said, I’m pretty sure the sudden leaping from my sick bed was because of pepper-related nipple scorch rather than the sudden onset of wellbeing.
Anyway. The one redeeming feature about these wacky DIY folk cures, is that they are completely ineffective while not costing very much.
This is in sharp contrast to many of the cabalistic concoctions offered Big Pharmaceutical and Big Natural Medicine which are completely ineffective while costing very large sums of money indeed.
Slippery Quack Bark. Useless-inacea. Vitamin Destinationtoiletbowl. Such pill popping may provide a pleasant placebo hit, but it also carries the grave risk of radical cashectomy and ongoing empty wallet syndrome.
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