Birds are tweeting outside, and I look longingly out my backyard window at the fresh green tree branches dancing with the breeze. I love the smell of new honeysuckle and tickle of green baby grass between my bare toes. Today would be a great day to sit under the deck awning and write a book chapter But, survival instincts kick in before I turn the backdoor knob, and I back away slowly.
If I go out there, I’m fearful I may be taking my life in my own hands.
I could hardly breathe until a few days ago. My nose swelled shut and I would gasp for air all the time. It was exhausting. And embarrassing. I would be in a conversation with someone, and while they were talking, sometimes my vision would swim and I would have to inhale through my mouth before the lights went out. It looked like I was sighing from boredom. But, truly, I was not bored with what my friends were saying. I was just struggling to stay conscious.
This is allergy season in Georgia.
We have the thickest air during the spring…it’s a miracle we humans survive here. For several weeks in April, everything turns Chartreuse. Pollen-coated cars, picnic tables, roads, and the air. We get green sand storms whipping around, and if we stay outside for more than two minutes, our noses and eyes get grainy with this grainy spawn of nature. This time of year, I have always started swallowing Zyrtec like candy.
But, this year, I have a new weapon in my arsenal against asphyxiation!
Allergy powder is a home concoction given to me by my husband’s aunts and uncles during one Sunday visit a few years ago. It’s cheap, it’s natural, and I hear it’s amazing.
Now, I’ve never been one to try home remedies. I was raised on traditional American medicine: taking a pill for everything. Just watch the drug commercials on TV every day. They show smiling men and women, with flowing hair, able to ride bikes and take walks with their families, holding hands with their lovers, all because of a miracle pill. Ignore the speed reader narrating possible side effects. Just because you may develop brain cancer-high blood pressure-stroke-bad taste in your mouth-suicidal thoughts-liver damage-rash-erectile dysfunction-or in rare cases,-death, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it. It’s good for you, because a doctor prescribed it. Right?
But, Ayurvedic medicine has been around for thousands of years, and judging by the high longevity in my husband’s family compared to mine, there just may be something to it. But, even when my husband’s mama (uncle) gave me his testimony to the powder’s virtues, I was skeptical. So, you haven’t had a cold in ten years. Ok. And all of your seasonal allergies vanished. Ok, sure. And you got sick for the first time when you stopped taking it.
How can it be? It hasn’t been tested by the FDA.
As I took a labored breath that day, I asked him skeptically…
His aunts and uncles chimed in, all trying to find the English words for each component in the jar. And here is the list of ingredients:
- 1 cup turmeric
- I cup ginger powder
- 1 cup amla powder (gooseberry)
- ½ cup methi powder (fenugreek powder)
All ingredients are found in any Indian kitchen. For those not blessed with an Indian family’s kitchen to shop from, you can also find them online and at local Indian grocery stores. Make sure you get the powder, not the capsules.
I’ve been taking it for about two weeks, and so far, I feel great. Every morning, I dissolve one teaspoonful of the powder in a small glass of warm water, squeeze a little lemon and add a little honey for flavor. For the non-Indian palate, the flavor is strong at first, but the flavorings smooth out the taste. I’m also comforted that there is no commercial speed reader in the background, haunting me as I swallow.
No risk of convulsing? No warning of anal seepage or hallucinations?
I pick up my laptop and look out the window at the beautiful dogwood petals fluttering in the wind, and swallow down the brew, and take a breath.
A nice, clear, deep one, then sit down to write.