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While these are not substitutes for needed medical care, Western doctors are not well versed in dietary and herbal means of supporting us as our immune systems fight off invaders. Many of us are looking to reduce or even eliminate dangerous over the counter and prescription drugs from our lives, and the following home remedies may make us more comfortable with fewer (or no) side effects:

STARVE A FEVER! Often, fever reduces digestive fire (agni), so if you or you little “patient” are not hungry don’t try to eat – it will not be digested well and may may you even less comfortable. A great rule even if you are not sick is to only eat when you are hungry!

MAKE/EAT KITCHARI! (once you are hungry) Simple to make, easy to digest, high in protein, kitchari is a staple of the traditional cleansing diet and is made of various combinations of grains and beans or legumes. The easiest to digest is made of basmati rice and split mung dal but you can use any rice or grain plus whole mung or lentils. If you think the beans will be too difficult, make just the rice until it is well tolerated then make the full recipe:
1 cup rice, 1 cup split mung dal, 1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped, 6 cups water.
If you can, soak the mung dal overnight or at least for a few hours to aid in digestibility. Wash the rice and mung twice using plenty of water, then add to your six cups with the cilantro and bring to a boil, boiling 5 minutes; turn heat to low, cover (leave the lid slightly ajar) and cook another 25 – 30 minutes.
If this seems too bland but is well tolerated, you can begin adding cooked vegetables to it, sauteed in ghee with turmeric, coriander, cumin, and add a little salt to taste.

DRINK WARM TEAS/AVOID ICED/COLD DRINKS! When you are ill, your digestive fire (agni) is usually low; protect it and stoke it and your increased agni will help you “eat” the bad bugs. Simple and delicious teas:
for fever: equal parts of lemongrass, tulsi (holy basil), and fennel; use 1 tsp of the mixture in 1 cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, strain and drink. This will make you sweat which will help reduce the fever.
you can also use 2 parts each of coriander and cinnamon and 1 part ginger; steep 1 tsp of the mixture in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes.
Or, equal amounts of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds; 1 tsp steeped in 1 cup water 10 minutes as above.

For a high fever you can make a bowl a cool water, dip 2 cloths in it and place one over the forehead and one over the navel, repeating as necessary. But if the fever is above 104 (adults), 101 (adults over 60), lasts over 3 days or is accompanied by a stiff neck or severe headache seek medical attention. Any fever in an infant or in a person with a chronic illness like heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory disease should be treated by a doctor.

The most important thing to do before you or your family get sick is to take good care of yourselves through a proper diet (avoid processed foods, too many leftovers or very old leftovers, refined sugars, fake anything, GMO anything) and regular exercise. To ward off susceptibility to illness requires all of your tissues to be well formed and your natural immunity tended. If your digestion tends to be weak (you get gas, constipation, diarrhea) you may want to eat probiotic rich foods such as natural yogurt (not the high sugared type – freshly made plain yogurt is best), kefir (ditto), kimchee, kombucha tea, raw milk, and other old fashioned foods. Be sure to adopt and maintain a regular schedule for eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and rising and retiring (traditionally, get up just before the sun and get to bed by 10 – 11 pm), and exercising. Avoid overdoing things and rest more when your body or brain say to!

Awaken your own natural cellular intelligence and while you may not enjoy perfect health, any illness you do experience should be milder and of shorter duration!


Guru means teacher in Sanskrit – one who brings light to those in darkness. There are many who aspire or fancy themselves gurus, more who throw the title around as if it had no meaning other than teacher but a guru is more than someone with charisma who attracts followers like a flame attracts moths.

It is a huge responsibility to assume the title of guru. To be truly worthy, a true guru is humble and modest. Perhaps s/he has many followers or few, it shouldn’t matter – what is important is the transmission of knowledge from the one who knows to those who know not but wish to learn. Sometimes this knowledge is easy to take in, sometimes difficult or even dangerous but a true guru has the ability to know when the student is ready to learn, understand, and most importantly put into practice what is being taught. And a true guru knows how to keep his/her followers safe as they explore, until they are experienced enough to explore on their own.

Perhaps another word for guru should be “parent”, as the teacher is (or should be) the spiritual grownup who watches over his/her “children” as they grow and mature as spiritual beings. The true test of the true guru is how the “children” turn out.

Peel and dice one acorn squash, peel and chop a piece of fresh ginger, chop one small jalapeno pepper (discard the seeds); saute in a little sesame oil with cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, turmeric, and cumin until almost tender. Add your favorite broth and 1 tablespoon of sorghum syrup and simmer 15 – 20 minutes then put in a blender until smooth (if it’s very thick, add more broth or a little water). Yummy as is, or add back to your saute pan after sauteing your favorite veggies (I just used one patty pan squash, some sweet red pepper, shallots). A hint of sweet, a touch of zing, warm and soothing, with texture from the veggies…. YUMMY!

October 2009
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