Plants that foster natural healing are grown at Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala, southern India.

Neem Tree India

Chewing a twig from the Neem Tree has served as nature’s toothbrush for thousands of years in India.

Match the ailment with the natural remedy.

  1. Sore throat
  2. Upset stomach
  3. Minor insect bite
  4. Insomnia
  5. Bad breath
  6. Dry eyes
  7. Mild burn
  8. Weak immune system
  9. Improving brain functioning
  10. Improving heart health

a). cook with olive oil

b). apply gel from aloe plant

c). eat walnuts

d). eat garlic

e). gargle with water and salt

f). sip ginger ale

g).slice of fresh onion on sting

h). drink glass of warm milk

i). chew fresh parsley

j). chilled cucumber slice over eye

How many of these natural remedies did your family use? I would imagine the majority of us would have a few in common. An answer key is provided at the end.

Marianne with Holy Basil

Originally cultivated in India, Holy Basil has a stronger flavour than the Mediterranean variety.

What would you risk to care for someone you love?

In The Inheritance, Caterina is the child of peasants who work for Anna and Santo Marino’s family on the Villa San Michele Estate in Cetraro, Calabria, southern Italy. She is from a single-parent family and develops a close bond with Anna. The Inheritance is set from 1897 and 1913 when society was rigidly structured and their relationship contravened social norms and sparked class conflicts. Nevertheless, as Anna’s health fails, Caterina remains committed and, despite the negative family dynamics Santo ignites, risks her own safety and continues to care for Anna.

Do you have trouble sleeping?

Calabrian society during The Inheritance relied on natural remedies to cure various ailments; a practice reflected in Caterina’s caring for Anna that lends authenticity to the novel.

In chapter twelve, Caterina prepares an infusion of cleaver flowers to soothe Anna’s throat and a willow bark decoction to help her sleep. Cleavers are a traditional herb respected throughout central Europe for their cleansing properties and in an infusion; heated water is poured over young shoots in a process similar to tea preparation. Willow bark has been used to relieve pain for hundreds of years in a decoction process that includes simmering, straining and cooling stages.

Do you have poor eyesight?

Fennels seeds are an ancient remedy. The Romans ate them to improve vision and the Chinese, to alleviate kidney disorders. Caterina’s father, Edoardo, has poor eyesight and Bruno, the Villa San Michele cook, gives him a large supply when he sets off by mule one night on a journey to visit distant relatives.

Did you ever eat dandelion salad?

As a girl, I picked dandelion leaves in our backyard with which my mother made a salad tossed with olive oil and flavoured with garlic slivers. My Calabrian father said the leaves were good for the stomach and our family ate them regularly. Modern findings have concluded that the leaves are rich in potassium and an effective digestive aid.

What were your family’s home remedies? I’d welcome your comments.

Here’s a great book on natural healing from the home library of my late father, Arnold Joseph Perry:

Ody, Penelope. The Complete Medicinal Herbal. Key Porter Books Limited. 1994.

Answer Key: 1-e; 2-f; 3-g; 4-h; 5-I; 6-j; 7-b; 8-d; 9-c; 10-a.

I hope you enjoy my photographs from Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala, southern India.

Jungle Flame Ixora

The cluster of scarlet flowers identifies the Jungle Flame Ixora; a common shrub native to southern India.

Fire Plant

The dried root of India’s Fire Plant helps rid digestive problems.

Bead Tree

Making a poultice from the fruit and leaves of a Bead Tree relieves headaches.