It’s spring of 1980. I’m living in the woods of New Hampshire, in a teepee with a group of anti-nuclear activists during a month-long “occupation.” We aim to stop construction at the nuclear power plant being built in Seabrook, New Hampshire. I am assigned cooking duty, producing daily meals for the forty or so people in the encampment. I love my job.
The mosquitoes are vicious in the boggy woods. We stay up late around the campfire talking strategy: how to avoid the police, best tips for non-violent resistance when arrested, etc. Slapping mosquitoes night and day. One of my comrades teaches me how to ward off the pests. Always keep a raw clove of garlic tucked in the back of the mouth. Like baseball players with chewing tobacco, we sucked on garlic all day to keep the bugs at bay. It was, I thought, a great natural remedy. The only side effect was smelling like garlic.
Over the years, long after I left the excitement of being 18 years old with a bunch of radicals in the New Hampshire woods, I’ve collected natural remedies. I like the reliance on plants for health (in addition to modern medicine; I am not an extremist). I enjoy the stories that come with remedies, the way they get passed down through generations. It feels good to mix up a cure for what ails you.
What to do when you get the first inkling of a scratchy throat? Make a hot broth of garlic, ginger, lemon and honey. Sip it all day. It works, most of the time. Also, ideally, sleep as much as possible to increase the chances of fighting off sickness. But the broth is the only thing I’ve found that comes close to curing the common cold.
About 1,500 of us were arrested in Seabrook on May 24, 1980. With a tidal wave of “No Nukes” protestors around the world, we ultimately succeeded in blocking construction of one of the reactors. I don’t know how many of us had a clove of garlic in our mouths when hauled off to jail. We felt victorious. And the police officers had to contend with smelly protestors like myself, garlic seeping from every pore.
Common Cold Natural Remedy
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and chopped
1 cup cold water
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon honey
Pinch of cayenne
In a small saucepan, bring the garlic, ginger and water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain, stir in honey and cayenne (adjusting quantities to taste), and sip right away. Make a half- gallon of the mixture at a time (multiply recipe by 8) and sip all day. Feel better!