A Cup of Lemonade with a Swirl of Honey
When my mother was a little girl, my grandmother made her this drink most days before school, but especially when she had the slightest hint of a cold. My mother has carried on this tradition with her children. My mother’s--or rather, my grandmother’s--drink was the first thing I would drink in the morning from elementary school until I graduated high school.
My mother’s cup of warm lemonade with a swirl of honey cures all. The recipe isn’t that strict; a cup of hot water, and as much lemon and honey as you please. But whatever you do, do not skimp on the honey, my mother would warn, never failing to cite the healing powers of honey mentioned in the Qur’an.
When we get sick, we fall into a routine we might not realize we have. Our throat feels sore and our nose is runny so we decide to take some of that over the counter medicine we have in the kitchen cabinet or such on some cough drops. If the disease persists then we pay the doctor a visit and she prescribes us medicine to make us feel better. She might also tell us to keep drinking fluids and eventually this cold that we’ve caught will go away.
The way we’ve come to deal with disease is heavily influenced by our cultures. So is the language our doctors use to explain our maladies to us as patients, not professionals. The tendency to view biomedicine as superior to our beliefs about treating disease has belittled the traditions that humans hold so dearly. Yet, these different systems of treating disease should instead be reconciled, taking into consideration the importance of traditional remedies because of how closely tied they can be to the patient’s identity.