During the 14 days I spent in the early part of last month putting up with the dreaded flu; I attempted to ease my symptoms by turning to tried and tested remedies for cold relief – while experimenting with a few more. My first port of call was squeezed lemons in hot water with honey, and the odd shot of Jameson’s to help me sleep.

I prepared vegetable soup in the slow cooker, throwing in a heap of onions, garlic, ginger and bay leaves to enhance the flavour.

Hunting out my essential oils, I added tea tree and eucalyptus to atomisers to clear the air and filled my two hot water bottles regularly; while stocking up with my favourite tissues from Home Bargains. Religiously taking prescribed doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen, I desperately tried to keep warm in the freezing temperatures.

However knowing that constant central heating exacerbates a fuzzy head and dry throat I enticed myself outside – all wrapped up – to try and inhale some fresh air to blow away the germs and cobwebs.

Feeling a little sorry for myself and believing I was missing out on the run up to the festivities because of my chills, I briefly attended the Christmas Tree Festival at Christ Church in Consett. And I have to say, even though I was well under the weather, I throughly enjoyed the magnificent display which highlighted the community spirit of the people in our home town. It was also great to meet up with The Biking Santas who were outside inviting passers by to join in with their drumming.

Back home in the warmth and settling down for the evening, I began googling recipes for colds and flu. Clicking on bay leaves, I started reading about their history, After only using them in culinary pursuits, I was amazed to learn so many new facts about this humble leaf that I buy loose in GreenKeepers in Consett and keep in a glass jar on my kitchen bench. I discovered the laurel bay tree – ( Laurus nobilis) as recorded in Greek mythology – is named after Daphne, an independent and strong willed priestess who the Greek god Apollo fell in love with. Apparently she was having none of it, and rather than succumb to his will, she asked to be saved by the earth goddess Gaia; who turned her into a Laurel tree.

Dejected and heartbroken at his loss, Apollo embraced the tree as a symbol of wisdom, peace and protection. From then on garlands and wreaths made from the tree were placed on the heads of scholars, heroes and athletes. And that’s where we get the term poet laureate from.

Consequently I was hooked and had to read more. It is said that Apollo’s priestesses consumed the bay laurel leaves to bring about visions of what the future might hold. Reading on I found out that these little leaves are also recommended to help with respiratory problems, give a boost to the immune system, reduce anxiety and be a comfort to those with arthritis and indigestion.

Apart from this long list of wonders, it’s alleged that if you burn them in your home while verbalising your wishes, they will not only clear the air, but bring good luck with money, provide protection and manifest true love.

What was I thinking? There was I, just throwing a couple of these leaves into my slow cooker to flavour my soup!

If I had procured all of this knowledge earlier – I’d have given up buying lottery tickets, returned my security alarm, and refrained from signing up for that dating site!

Pass me the matches!

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Lorraine Weightman
Lorraine Weightman who regularly writes a monthly memoir telling of her days growing up in Consett has just published 2 books in conjunction with Firefly New Media Uk, which share 24 stories that were originally seen in Consett Magazine over the past few years. https://www.facebook.com/consettstories/


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