Wednesday, October 26, 2011

She is feeling so poorly she is barking like a seal...

It happens, no matter how good you eat or bundle up or how many vitamins you take every now and then you are going to get a cold and a cough.  If you were raised like I was, your parents could not “afford” to take you to the doctor every time you got a “cough”.  So, it became essential here in the south that remedies were discovered, and tried out that were cheaper than a doctor’s visit and you knew would do the trick. This is where the tradition of tinctures, potions, and syrups truthfully came from.  Even the Europeans that brought them here were bringing over recipes that were "proven cures" for illnesses.  Unfortunately, depending on the region you lived in here in the States what you knew in Ireland, Scotland, or England to work did not work here in the red clay soil areas.  The same herbs were not prevalent. 

So our ancestors who were transplants and fresh of the boats, had to hurry and a scurry and make "new remedies" and tinctures, and syrups that worked to get rid of a cough.  Traditionally we all know licorice root will work, slippery elm, cherry bark, marshmallow root, cinnamon bark, and fennel root. I do not know about you I am not going out to the woods with a basket and a knife and looking for these herbs and digging them up. I could find them I am sure, and I know what they are used for but I do not have the time in my modern urban life to go digging and rooting in the soil.  I live in the biggest city in the state of Tennessee going to the woods would mean my local park or driving to the country; and I really do not have the time for either with a infant and a church to run. 

So how do I still make our own homemade witch remedies today living in the 21st century?  How could we (yes all of us witchlings) take the general idea and make them more relevant and up to date? You make a new recipe, you find a new cure.  You use the same principles that your old mamaw cooked up and add a new dash of this, and a splash of that, and dig your ingredients out of the bins of your local grocery store!

If we, as Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches do not progress with the times and continue our art then it will be lost.  Not because the old recipes are not as prevalent as they once were but because they have become irrelevant in our modern techno savvy age.  This is why it is so important that once one of us discovers or brews up a new concoction that we share it and tell each other how easy it really truly is.  I like potions that you can use on all the members of your family and would not be ashamed to share with co-workers and strangers.  Because, though people do not come to my back door in the middle of the night because they are scared the neighbors or preacher might see them I do still get emails, text messages, and various phone calls from people who want to know.  Heck, the other day someone posted openly on my facebook wall for a tea during the flu season! 

Now, I know you were all probablly expecting me to write about Samhain today; but today I am wrestling with a cold.  So I am writing what is on my mind, and what I am doing in my daily a cure, to bottle and put up for the winter! 

You can use this on a small infant that is six months old or older.  I would not try it on one younger because of digestion reasons.  But for adults it is a wonder!  I have changed the ingredient of molasses or honey or sugar to Jaggery because it is organic and exotic and I like the name!  Seriously though, most people down here would make it up without the sweetner and I need a little bit of sugar to get the bitter down if you do not…then you are a much bigger witch than I need that spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down    :)

First, I want to explain what Jaggery is (nope we Southerners did not make this word up), then I will share my recipe, then a few sources you can buy it at!  Good luck, share it’s success with others, but most importantly get rid of that cough!

Jaggery (also transliterated as jaggeree) is a traditional unrefined sugar used throughout South and South East Asia.


Though "jaggery" is used for the products of both sugarcane and the date palm tree, technically, the word refers solely to sugarcane sugar. The sugar made from the sap of the date palm is both more prized and less available outside of the districts where it is made. Hence, outside of these areas, sugarcane jaggery is sometimes called "gur" to increase its market value. The sago palm and coconut palm are also now tapped for producing jaggery in southern India. In Mexico and South America, similar sugarcane products are known as "panela" or "piloncillo".

Jaggery is considered by some to be a particularly wholesome sugar and, unlike refined sugar, it retains more mineral salts. Moreover, the process does not involve chemical agents. Indian Ayurvedic medicine considers jaggery to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections; Sahu and Saxena found that in rats jaggery can prevent lung damage from particulate matter such as coal and silica dust.

Jaggery is used as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes across India and Sri Lanka. For example, a pinch of jaggery is sometimes added to sambar, rasam and other gravies which are staples in India. Jaggery is also added to lentil soups (dal) to add sweetness to balance the spicy, salty and sour components, particularly in Gujarati cooking. Jaggery is also molded into novelty shapes as a type of candy. Other uses include jaggery toffees and jaggery cake made with pumpkin preserve, cashew nuts and spices. Jaggery may also be used in the creation of alcoholic beverages.

Jaggery is also considered auspicious in many parts of India, and is eaten raw before commencement of good work or any important new venture.

Muzaffarnagar District in Uttar Pradesh has the largest jaggery market in India, followed by Anakapalli of Visakhapatnam District in Andhra Pradesh. These are the biggest and second biggest in the entire world.
In Myanmar, jaggery, known as htanyet, is harvested from toddy palm syrup. In central Myanmar and around Bagan (Pagan), toddy syrup is collected solely for the purpose of making jaggery. The translucent white syrup is boiled until it becomes golden brown, and then made into bite-sized pieces. Htanyet, which means "toddy lick", is considered a sweet, and is eaten by children and adults alike, usually in the afternoon along with a pot of green tea. It has been referred to locally as Burmese chocolate. Toddy palm jaggery is also sometimes mixed with coconut shreddings, plum puree or sesame, depending on the area. This type of jaggery is also used in Burmese cooking, usually to add color and enrich the food.
It is a rich source of iron due to the process involved, using iron utensils.
Besides its uses as a food, jaggery may also be used to season the inside of tandoor ovens.

OTHER Names for jaggery:

(in alphabetical order of the name)
  • Bella in Kannada
  • Bellam in Telugu
  • chakkara in Malayalam [made from palm wine]
  • Gaur in Gujarati
  • Gud in Hindi and Punjabi
  • Gul in Marathi
  • Gula Melaka in Malaysia
  • Gur in Bengali and Assamese language
  • Hakuru in Sinhalese
  • Htanyet in Burmese
  • Panela and piloncillo in Latin America
  • Panocha or Panutsa in the Philippines
  • Rapadou in Haiti
  • Sharkara in Malayalam [made from sugarcane]
  • Valle Bella in Tulu
  • Vellam in Tamil

If the Cough is related to a seasonal fever , then prepare a ginger tea with following ingredients .

5 dried Peppers (you know those small kind you saved from your garden? you can buy them at the store and broil them on a shallow pan in the oven then grind them, or you can buy them in the organic section already dried in a bag no joke!)
1 pinch Dried ginger or 2 spoon ginger powder
3 cloves 
1 pinch cumin seed 
1 cube Palm jaggery.
Boil the jaggery in one cup of water which will melt it. Then just grind the above ingredients and boil it with jaggery water. Give this syrup like any cough syrup,  1 tsp for your little witchlings, and 1 Tsp for your big Pagans, 3 times a day.

Where can you buy Jaggery?  Why at any local Indian food store of course!  However, if you live in a small town and have no merchant store of that type, try these online sources:


  1. Thanks for all that. Will have to try it, although the cough is now already subsiding. Nicely informative and a fun read.