One way to feel better, in these troubled times, is to buy an outrageously expensive computer for half price (see “Make yourself feel better and save $200,000 to boot”, 26 July; “No iMac for me, no siree!”, 2 August; “Let me explain” 4 August 2010). You can thereby save so much money you feel pretty rich.
Having thus propitiated the Great Gods of Consumerism and Mammon, and finding that you still aren’t feeling as super-cool as you’d hoped, you next turn to New Age malarkey and herbal remedies. What you need is a regular dose of something natural, preferably organically natural, that seems to be no part of Big Pharmaceutical’s plan to rule the world. Right? And I promised last time to tell you about my secret magic potion.
Formula: Collin’s Nearly Free Snake Oil and Super-placeboic Panacea
Cinnamon 1 heaping teaspoon
Turmeric 1 heaping teaspoon
Ginger ½ or 1 teaspoon (depending on mood)
White pepper (ground) a sprinkle or two
Honey a wee dab, all but homeopathic in quantity
Grind the dry ingredients together with the back of a teaspoon in a small cup. Add hot water and stir till you achieve a uniform suspension. Do this mindfully, if you feel like it. Whistle “Dixie,” if you prefer.
Stir the honey in, and let the mixture cool a bit.
Take a mouthful and use this to wash down 4 large vitamin C tabs, if you think this is a good idea.
Take another mouthful and gargle, cautiously. This feels weird. Another advantage, I suspect, is that it has helped clear up the chronic tonsillitis I’ve suffered for many of my years in Bangkok.
Total cost: A daily dose, as prescribed, sets you back less than the price of a single 1,000mg hit of vitamin C (with bioflavonoids added).
Benefits: Untold. Many, at least.
Grounds for believing this: A natural human tendency to believe whatever seems convenient at any given time.
Claims that this blog is funded by Big Powdered Spices: Unfounded.
Clinical trials: In progress, 18 months and counting. Sample population of one (1), and I feel pretty good so far.
R&D: There follows the history of the process that led me to this discovery.
a) Faulty blood-sugar apparatus leads to pre-diabetes scare (see post from 13 June 2010: “Sons of the Undead: Lives of the Pre-dead Zombies”).
b) Online research reveals authoritative-looking reports that a teaspoon (or two, or possibly three, who knows?) of cinnamon does good things for one’s sugar metabolism.
c) It turned out I wasn’t pre-diabetic, but I got this notion that maybe cinnamon was the antidote to large all-dressed pizzas, something I might then enjoy for more years while remaining non-pre-diabetic. (DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE, which is highly speculative and, Sara tells me, just plain stupid.) So I started taking a teaspoon of cinnamon every day.
d) Why one teaspoon? The word “teaspoon” recurs in related online posts, and caution leads me to prescribe just one or two teaspoons per dose rather than, say, six or twenty.
a) For years I’d heard New Age types extolling the virtues of this spice. They never claimed it would prevent nuclear war, but they believed it addressed many other ills.
b) While shopping for the cheapest cinnamon I could find on the shelves of the local Villa Supermarket, I noticed that turmeric was even cheaper, so I thought what the heck, eh?
c) Later, online, I found authoritative-looking reports that turmeric appeared to have some effect in treating certain cancers, plus women in South Asia used it to clear their complexions. That was good enough for me. (A lot of other claims were made as well, but I got tired of reading this stuff.)
d) The principle of symmetry led me to specify one teaspoon per dose.
a) Drinking a mix of cinnamon and turmeric is downright unpleasant, and I suspected there was some missing ingredient, one that would make my potion more palatable.
b) Then, while shopping for more cinnamon and turmeric at Villa Supermarket, I noticed adjacent bottles of ground ginger. The downside: It was more expensive. The upside: (i) I remember how much I’d liked gingersnaps as a lad, and (ii) I vaguely recalled reading, probably online, that it was good for the digestion or something.
c) I added it to the mix, which subsequently tasted more interesting, if not exactly better.
d) Going back online, I found more-or-less authoritative-sounding claims that ginger also had anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, maybe, sort of. That was good enough for me.
e) Half a teaspoon just seemed right. Besides which, a full teaspoon, together with the cinnamon and turmeric, made the potion too sludgy. (Did I mention I always drink my potion from the same little Japanese teacup?)
a) The pepper shaker happened to be sitting there on the kitchen counter one morning as I was mixing up the medicine, and I thought, hey, this could be interesting. And it was.
b) I recommend a sprinkle or two. It probably has no benefit anyway, so it’s purely a matter of taste, the way commas can be.
a) While updating my online researches, I encountered opinion that a combination of honey and cinnamon had been known to boost the immune system and whatnot since the times of the ancient Romans and things.
b) Empirically minded by disposition, and a big fan of the scientific method, I tried a tad of honey in my next morning’s potion—“natural” honey, of course—and discovered this hint of honey-sweetness perfectly complemented the piquant notes of pepper and ginger. It was almost delicious, yet not so tasty you had to suspect it couldn’t be doing you any good at all.
c) Listening to my body, the way everyone says you should, I heard it say, “Whoa! This is good shit,” and I felt the placebo effect kick in, never mind whatever else was happening.
So it was good, and that’s why I take this stuff every morning before breakfast.
I hereby invite visitors to share their own special potions and panaceas on this site. And see “Tequila Mockingbird” New Year’s 2011 update.
Turmeric image from www.beautycosmopolite.com/skin-eats.