I’ve always considered myself lucky for being born into a family that believes in natural remedies for practically everything, Mi. I owe my good health to you and Grandma, and great Grandma.

I often fondly recall the stories you’ve told me about her and her herb garden…how she would crush a few carefully selected leaves to zap an ailment and restore health.

Childhood practices! During my childhood, I remember how, every month, on the fourth Sunday, I would be made to drink that shot of castor oil early in the morning to cleanse the system.

Homemade kajal to keep the eyes clear…

And that oil bath regularly every Friday? Blessed with glossy thick hair and skin.

Why, you cured my squint with plant extracts!

When I developed a skin rash, it was a massage with coconut oil with camphor.

I do not ever remember using any cosmetics until I was 24 or so – even then I stopped at moisturizer. I continue the same practice today.

My first experience with a baby was our little gundu – whom I had the pleasure of massaging with homemade oil every day. How her beautiful dark skin glowed! What a healthy little girl she was!

Then there was Shnu. What a sweet baby he was! His Mom would come over to consult you each time she suspected a problem and you would give her a home remedy from the kitchen shelf or herbs.

What about that time when Gopu Mama was cured of jaundice with those herbs we picked from Martin’s house!

As I grew up, I believed that your roasted fenugreek seed + 4 other herbal ingredients were better than an antibiotic to tide me over an infection.

Today, I am smiling at how we looked after Vidur after he was born. The same oil massage every day with homemade oil infusing herbs, the gram flour used to bathe his gentle skin – that herbal drop you prepared and gave him every day after he bathed to ensure his lungs were clear – what lovely memories.

We shunned every branded product, including soap. And managed just fine. Until six months, besides the prescribed mandatory drops and vaccinations, he survived on breast milk.

We used to be in awe at how he grew each day, the changes we saw, that first smile, the first laugh. Oh, how he burst into laughter at the slightest thing!

How lovingly we hand-stitched all his cloth diapers and jablas?

Gosh, I still shudder to think of that first time we used a readymade diaper on him. We took it off and his skin was covered in rash. The doctor advised all sorts of creams but you insisted we do nothing and simply keep his skin cool. I remember, applying breast milk on his face, which he engineered by himself cleared up the rash so quickly! The power of nature!

It is his birthday month – November, and I am blessed that he is healthy – good skin, good hair. He firmly believes that homemade is best and knows its value.

When he has a cold, it is besan halwa and tulsi kashayam. We don’t rush to the doctor for fear of antibiotics, because that is their first course of treatment. Logically, we do know vitamin C helps and I ensure he has plenty of his favourite lemon juice.

I add ginger and garlic to the cooking, because we always believed we find the best remedies in our own kitchen shelf.

Stomach ache? It is the herbal Lehiyam I’ve stored in a dubba. Just one spoon and we feel better. I even resort to home-concocted gripe water depending on the intensity of pain.

We still use home made oil with those 18 ingredients, boiled to perfection – it keeps dry skin and dandruff at bay and gives us a refreshed feeling.

About the only thing I remember insisting on, was Dabur Chyavanprash – when I was around 25. I still have that container! Full of the goodness of gooseberries / awla.

Which reminds me – I bought awla and plan to make some jam and pickle out of it. Natural goodness that tastes good.

Be it for children or adults, I would shy away from anything that is chemically processed/synthetic products as they are all known to cause harm to the system and sometimes, alter the brain function. How scary!

Natural herbals products are best. That is why Ayurveda works. Chemicals only address the symptoms. Herbal remedies get to the root of the issue and restore good health. And Mi, I am glad you brought me up with that concept.

Written for the ‘”Traditional Knowledge, Natural Growth” contest, organized by IndiBlogger and Dabur Lal Tail.

dabur