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Inspired by a fewHubs about the increasing cost and declining quality of healthca
re in the US, here are is some traditional Greek folk medicine, hopefully saving
you all some money. Some of these have been tested scientifically, most I have
tried myself, and some I am not sure about. They certainly will not harm a healt
hy person, and I am not out to make any money! However, I am not medically train
ed, so seek professional advice if you have any doubts.
Many areas ofGreeceare a long way from civilization and medical aid, even in the m
odern age, with MedEvac and paramedics often far away. Over the centuries, the G
reeks have developed many traditional Greek folk remedies, designed to cure with
out the need for visiting the doctor. The Greeks have one of the longest average
lifespans in the world and, whilst much of that can be attributed to good diet
and low stress, some of these old medicines do work.
1) Olive Oil - The Mainstay of Traditional Greek Folk Medicine
The Greeks use olive oil by the bucket load and, as well as tasting good, it off
ers a whole raft of health benefits. Aside from fulfilling many nutritional and
dietary requirements, it contains compounds for thinning the blood, reducing cho
lesterol and it is recommended forcardiac patients.
Apart from this, extra virgin oil has some other welcome benefits. Before moving
to Greece, my partner suffered badly with a stomach ulcer. This flared up often
, especially when she was stressed. A diet containing olive oil has completely s
topped the condition, so, if you are prone to ulcers or acid reflux, take a coup
le of spoons of olive oil, morning and night. If you are constipated, drink a sm
all glass every day until things start moving again.
2) Alcohol - Greek Ouzo as a Folk Medicine
In the hot summer, I often suffer from thick blood, leading to frequent noseblee
ds, despite drinking lots of water. I questioned my pharmacist about this, and h
e told me to drink two glasses ofOuzoor Whiskey every day. Just to be on the safe
side, I drank five or six, but the nosebleeds stopped and I felt a lot less leth
argic. The Greeks often refer toOuzo as To Farmako, meaning The Medicine.
The Greeks have a drink called Tsiporou, or Raki, which is a fiery spirit distil
led from the leftover mash left after making wine. If you are suffering from a c
old or flu, mix in a little honey and cinnamon, warm up and enjoy. It certainly
clears the head and alleviates the worst of the symptoms. Whiskey and Brandy are
good substitutes for those living outside Greece.
3) Aloe Vera - An Ancient Folk Remedy
Most of us are used to after sun lotion containing Aloe-Vera juice. In Greece, i
f you get sunburn, you simply find the nearest plant, break off a leaf and rub t
he pulp onto the burn. This is very nice and soothing, although not getting burn
t in the first place may be the best solution.
4) Garlic - Tasty and Healthy Traditional Greek Folk Medicine
Most people are aware that garlic has many beneficial effects within the body, a
s well as tasting good. Garlic is also excellent for keeping mosquitoes away, al
though eating vast quantities will keep everybody away. Another great use for ga
rlic is as an antiseptic. If you have a cut or puncture, rub cut garlic onto the
wound or crush and make a poultice. Onion also works but hurts a hell of a lot
Read Sandy's great Hub about garlic as a cure for acne.
5) Greek Mountain Tea - A Unique Greek Herb
The mountain herbs found in Crete and theTaygetos Mountainsare world renowned for
their healing properties, detoxifying the body and relieving the symptoms of col
ds. They are also the best hangover cure I have found. Whilst they may be diffic
ult to get hold of outside Greece, there is evidence that an infusion of the her
b Sage is effective.
6) Tomatoes - A Greek Salad a Day
According to the Greeks, a tomato a day reduces the chances of a man developing
prostate cancer. Whilst evidence shows that Greek men are less likely to develop
the condition, this has never been directly linked to tomatoes. Personally, I l
ove theGreek breakfastof tomato, feta cheese, bread and olives all drenched inextra
virgin olive oiland herbs, so it is no great hardship.
7) Greek Thyme Honey - Sweet Antiseptic
Greek thyme honeyhas some wonderful antiseptic qualities, and is increasingly use
d as a first line treatment for minor burns. I have a friend who was an ex-medic
in the RAF, and the British Military now use honey as a treatment for burns.Hon
eyis also a good ointment for minor wounds by preventing infection, always a dang
er in a hot climate.
8) Grapes - A Sight For Sore Eyes
For tired and dry eyes, instead of eye drops, the Greeks use the sap from grapev
ines. It is wonderfully refreshing and just as good as any commercial drops.
9) Diet - Live Long and Prosper
It is impossible to write a Hub about Greek health andtraditional Greek folk medi
cinewithout mentioning diet. Whilst the Greeks are starting to suffer the same pr
oblems as the rest of the world, with a growing obesity epidemic caused by meat
and processed food, the traditional diet is one of the healthiest on earth. Forg
et Low Carbs, Atkins and Alkaline balance. Buy a Greek recipe book and learn how
to eat a healthy Mediterranean diet, nutritious, tasty and simple.
10) Low Stress - The Key to Traditional Greek Folk Medicine
This, more than anything, is the key to why the Greeks are so healthy. They enjo
y life, and celebrate every day, rather than seeing it as a burden. Even the poo
rest Greeks manage to eat out once a week, enjoying the company of family and fr
iends. Having a more relaxed lifestyle helps, but everybody can make sure that t
hey leave a little quality time for themselves and their loved ones. This, more
than anything, is the very foundation of traditional Greekfolk medicine.
Hope that some of these tips help, and do not be afraid to ask around. Some folk
medicines are just as effective as modern methods, and are much cheaper.