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Healthy living with herbs the Polish way. Posted by on May 25, 2021 in Food, Nature, Traditions, Vocabulary

Healthy, natural living has always been inherent element of Polish culture. Poland’s home remedies passed down from generation to generation could literally make a book of alternative medicine.

Image by gate74 from Pixabay

In this beautiful country you can always count on a great advice from a mother or grandmother when it comes to natural remedies. I mean, who wouldn’t believe a grandmother, who was able to survive not so great times in Polish history? They did not have access to modern medicine, yet if you ask any babcia how to cure a stomach ache or what to eat when you have a cold, she will give you some great tips! And I’m pretty sure they will include herbs!

Garlic – czosnek. Image by Дарья Яковлева from Pixabay

Growing up in Poland, I’ve learned quite a few of these tricks myself. I use what I know quite often and it really works! All of this with an understanding that herbal medicine is not an alternative to going to the doctor, but only a helpful tool which helps lessen the symptoms. One of my favorites is using garlic (czosnek), when you feel like you are getting a cold. Any time I would feel like I was about to get sick with common cold, my mother would make me a cup of warm milk with honey (miód) and garlic in it! I know, it doesn’t sound particularly tasty, but it always worked!

Mint tea (herbata z miętą/mięta – mint) is always good for stomach ache, lemon tea (herbata z cytryną/cytryna – lemon) is great for sore throat!

When us, kids, were playing outside and run into nettles (pokrzywy – plural /pokrzywa -singular), we were told that it will only make us stronger. So what is the healing power of the little stinging nettle leaf? It is powerful herb to consider with pain, injuries and adrenal support, it builds immunity.  You can also soak a towel in nettle tea and use it for mosquito and other bug bites, scrapes and minor burns.

Stinging nettle. Image by NickyPe from Pixabay

Stinging nettle could help reduce pain and inflammation in conditions such as arthritis, because its hairs contain several chemicals that have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.

Camomile (rumianek) tea is used to treat diabetes and lower blood sugar, to reduce inflammation, it also helps with sleep and relaxation. Another benefit of chamomile is slowing or preventing osteoporosis.

Camomile. Image by Lindasay from Pixabay

Sorrel (szczaw) is used a lot in Poland, mostly for the sorrel soup (barszcz szczawiowy). It is delicious! Sorrel is used for reducing sudden and ongoing pain and inflammation of the respiratory tract, for treating bacterial infections. It is also an ingredient in the herbal cancer treatment.

And how about nalewki? Poland is famous for making nalewki. Nalewka is created by macerating and/or infusing various ingredients in alcohol, usually vodka or neutral spirits. Those ingredients are usually fruit, but the healthiest ones are made with herbs such as mugwort (bylica), angelica (dzięgielor mint (mięta).

Speaking of nalewski, check out the one my friends made out of lemons!

When life gives you lemons…make this Polish Lemon Liqueur!

 

Whichever one of these natural remedies you might want to try, use them wisely. Also, please share your favorite herbal remedies in comments below!

 

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


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