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2003-12-13 - 12:52 p.m.

Name your favorite home remedy

NOTE: this entry was written last night, but due to a technical difficulty (I didn't notice that I'd kicked the modem chord out of the wall) I am only able to post it this morning.


Today’s medicinal intake:

10,000 cups of peppermint, fruit, and camomile tea (combined, not each)

15-20 drops Echinacea/goldenseal tincture

15-30 drops dried Chinese astragalus root

12 small teaspoons of sweetened Thyme extract

5 mL Mucosalvin (expectorant)

3 multivitamin tablets dissolved in water

2 ibuprofen

1 cough drop

a partridge in a pear tree.

Today’s counter-medicinal intake:

1 cup gluehwein (it was an office party, the cup was small, and I drowned it afterwards with five times the same amount in water)

Have just today encountered my new favorite German word: Schleimloeser. Pronounced vaguely like “slime loser” in English, if you were drunk and slurring the first ‘s’ a bit. It’s basically that disgusting syrupy stuff that you must drink when you are ill with a non-productive cough and need to loosen the mucus in your chest. It’s a slime loosener. (and many pardons to any who is eating).

Somehow Schleim is just an appropriately gross word for mucus. I commented on this point to a number of Germans today. My German officemate (who lived 7 years in New York) replied that she never found the English word “expectorant” to be nearly as satisfyingly descriptive as “Schleimloeser”. What exactly were we expecting? (best not to think about this question in too much detail, especially if you think in vivid mental pictures). In that case, I have to agree that Schleimloesen does describe the process rather exactly. ‘A’ made the equally valid point that the English word “phlegm” is perhaps equally onomatopoeic as Schleim. True. Nevertheless, I had a strangely difficult time going into the pharmacy and asking for “slime loser” for my chest cold.

This now ends the etymology-of-disgusting-words portion of this entry. I just entered a new phase in my diaryland existence. I received a caring note from Elgan, friend of Ilonina, who made some helpful herbal medical suggestions. Thank you, Elgan, for your kind concern and for taking the time to share it with me. Elgan’s suggestions included Echinacea, which I already knew, plus another herb I hadn’t heard of.

I’ve sort of collected a list of cold remedies from a variety of places over the past few years. In fact this Autumn I could have conducted a comprehensive test of each and every one of them…. They mostly involve food, either eating or breathing it. Some of them are supposed to help, some I suppose simply don't hurt. Here is a non-comprehensive list:


- Fluids, lots of

- boiled ginger root tea.

- raw garlic (one clove per day, eaten whole)

- warm beer (from a German, no surprise there)

- Echinacea drops/caplets/tablets/tea

- Goldenseal drops

- Astragalas drops

- Pimpernella (yet-unidentified herb recommended to me by a German singer)

- the herb recommended by Elgan that I have still forgotten and will look up later

- Chicken soup


- Breathe camomile tea / eucalyptus oil steam for ten minutes under a towel

- Smear eucalyptus/campher oil on your chest, back, and nose

- Gargle saltwater

- Take a hot bath

- Sleep alot

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