I’ve never had allergies, but something’s getting me in Kerala. My eyes are red, my nose is a faucet and my head feels like it’s about to explode. As I was wallowing in pity, I noticed Sandeep’s mom puttering about with various shrubs. She confessed that she was brewing me up a home remedy to clear out my head.
As with most of her cooking, some ingredients are a mystery. Some tulsi (holy basil), dried ginger, a liberal amount of black peppercorns, the leaves of what she called wild Chinese potato (she specified that it had to be wild), and a wad of coffee-ginger-Chinese potato mixture.
She pounded it to a pulp in her mortar.
And boiled it down to a thick opaque juice.
At first, things seemed to have backfired. My eyes started spouting, my nose turned red, my head heated up. But then, within minutes, everything cleared. When traveling, I do think it’s best to try the local remedies. Locals are much more used to the flora and fauna and have perfected these solutions over generations. Way better than a Benedryl and without the side effects.