Natural and herbal remedies still first resort for many Russians

There are many different recipes for non-traditional medicine in existence, and despite the fact that many Russian doctors actively call upon people to consult a specialist for any ailments, to the present day many Russians prefer to heal themselves. Source: PhotoXpress

There are many different recipes for non-traditional medicine in existence, and despite the fact that many Russian doctors actively call upon people to consult a specialist for any ailments, to the present day many Russians prefer to heal themselves. Source: PhotoXpress

Despite the progressive development of contemporary medicine, most Russians prefer grandma’s tried and tested remedies to cure diseases. RIR chose the most popular ones and also asked an expert why Russians don’t trust allopathic doctors that much.

According to the most recent data, people have been aware of the healing properties of plants since 6,000 B.C. In his day-to-day life, ancient man would note the healing properties of different plants and use them to cure colds and infections.

In Ancient Rus wise men and healers were worth their weight in gold: it was they who knew the secrets of the wonderful influence that herbs can have on the human body. Later on monasteries in Ancient Rus became healing centres where from 11th century medicinal plants would be harvested and recipes put together.

St Seraph of Sarov and Sergiy Radonezhskiy were among the most famous monastery healers. According to the testimony of his contemporaries the latter performed a great many miracles. Legend has it that he once brought a boy back from the dead who had died in his father’s arms, after his father brought him to the priest for healing.

Non-traditional medicine at that time was divided into a number of areas: herbalists and sorcerers used herbs, whilst healers practised magical healing methods. Midwives were set apart, their task to assist pregnant women and to practise maternity care using homemade medicines. Special educational institutions existed in Russia even right up until the beginning of the 20th Century: they were schools of midwifery teaching the basics.

Herbalists and sorcerers exist to this day - moreover they enjoy great success in contemporary Russia especially among the elderly. Healing using herbs has steadily become a business industry in Russia in which phytotherapists are earning big money. Herbal centres have appeared in many Russian cities in recent years.

“Today Russia is overtaking Europe’s experience in this regard, we realise how important it is to lead a healthy life,” says Natalya Nikolayevna the Director of the herbalist Mikhail Gordeyev healing centre. “We have been to several seminars in Europe and we have seen specialist herbal stores, where specialists perform consultations and administer the required medicines.”

According to Nikolayevna, dietary supplements now popular across the globe are often copied and many people are simply afraid of buying them. “They are not cheap -on average from 500 roubles (around $16) up to 1,500 roubles and many people just can’t afford them. Therefore I think that many are resorting to herbs and phytotherapy for help.”

Nikolayevna believes that often its men and women suffering from infertility as well as mothers with children who turn to phytotherapists. “More than 20,000 patients are undergoing treatment at our centre. We have already seen a great number of miracle cures. One recent case is even amusing. We had a patient with cirrhosis of the liver - an old woman who had been registered as disabled due to her cirrhosis. Following a course of treatment she went to her doctor’s surgery and began to cry. She was told that she was in good health and that her disability would be cured: ‘Why are you crying?’ asked the doctor: ‘Now I won’t be paid the disability benefit’ she replied.”

How does it work?

There are many different recipes for non-traditional medicine in existence, and despite the fact that many Russian doctors actively call upon people to consult a specialist for any ailments, to the present day many Russians prefer to heal themselves.

We present Russia’s most popular recipes for home made medicine.

For coughs and diseases of the throat

Grind up 8 large cloves of garlic into a uniform pulp in a mortar, add 8 teaspoons of wine vinegar, stir well and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning add to the mixture two tablespoons of dark honey that has been warmed and again stir well. Hold two teaspoons of the mixture in the mouth for as long as possible so that it doesn’t dissolve and then swallow the mixture in shallow gulps.

Gently hit the leaves of a white cabbage with a kitchen hammer. Apply to the neck and wrap in a warm scarf. Change the leaves every two hours. This treatment stops the inflammatory process in the throat.

For fatigue

Mix together 500 grams of crushed walnut kernels, 300 grams of honey, 100 grams of aloe vera and the juice squeezed from 3-4 lemons. Take a teaspoon thrice a day, half an hour before a meal.

Add a teaspoon of crushed basil to 200 ml of boiling water and infuse in a covered vessel for 20 minutes. Infuse and drink as you would tea with honey not more than twice a day.

For a headache

Break 10 cloves of garlic and add 50 ml of milk, warm the mixture on a stove.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and cook for a further five minutes. Strain the simmered down mixture. Put 5-10 drops of the resulting infusion in each ear, wait for one minute and then remove from the ear by tilting the head.

Pour 3 teaspoons of crushed nettle leaves into 400 ml of boiling water, cook on a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes, and leave to infuse for an hour. Drink half a cup over the course of the day. Strain before consumption.  

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