The flu season takes its toll and while we struggle to maintain our own health, there’s nothing we want more than a healthy child. Here’s some natural “potions” from my family’s long history of “witches” that can keep your child (and you!) happy and healthy

Alex always says that he thinks I come from a family of witches – mostly because I have developed quite a few strange habits in order to keep my health – and now I use them on my children to maintain the healthy child status.  Though “Charmed” is my favorite TV program ever (Rose McGowan and Alyssa Milano, please don’t fight! It breaks my heart!) I don’t have the power of premonition or the ability to freeze time. All I do is pay attention to the magical effect nature’s products has on our bodies.

In Israel there’s a term called “Trufot Savta” (Grandma’s Medicine) which I now realize Americans call “Old Wives Tales.” These are special treatments that have been passed from generation to generation. I assume they were discovered in the pre-medicine area. But look, some of it really works.

We had a rough week during Christmas when both kids were infected with a persistent cold virus. My husband and I were so hopeless that in addition to the “conventional” medication, we turned to the Old Wives Tales, which meant, calling my grandma to hear all about the “treatments” that she thinks cure colds, and which we’ve always poo pooed. Here are the results of some of my grandmotherly research. Mind you, it’s indeed a witchcraft, but hey, we’re gays, we LOVE this stuff!

Honey and Onion

This is something I’ve known about for a while as my mom was practically drilling it into my head since the kids turned 1 (you can’t give honey to babies before they turn a year old). The combination of honey and the onion’s juice, the legend says, is a natural antibiotic that immunizes our bodies to viruses, or helps kill them off.

Cut a few slices of a yellow onion, put it in a jar or a bowl, pour the honey on top and cover it. Let it stay overnight in order for the onion’s juice to leach out into the honey. In the morning, mix it up and give only the juice (not the onion itself!) to the kid. 1 tsp (5 ml), three times a day. This is good to do even if they are not sick, to prevent them from getting sick. If they are already sick, give them 2tsp, 3 times a day. It may sound gross, but it really works.

I’m signing off on this potion – this is a healthy child recipe.
And my husband – a scientist and a lover of all chemicals to be found at CVS – has become a believer too!

Onion at night

After the kids fall asleep, cut an onion in half and put it next to their bed. One of the onion’s qualities is that it absorbs bacteria (or so it is told). This is why, old wives tales say, not to leave a cut onion in the fridge for more than three days.
Yes, the room stinks in the morning, but the bacteria your kid breathes out, so they say, does not come back in.

I’m giving this a rating of “Plausible.”

Ginger Shots

If your kids are a little older and can tolerate this, they’ve now started selling Ginger Shots at grocery stores. Ginger is known for its strong healing capabilities. And when you take the shot with a sore throat, you can seriously feel its power of cleansing. I didn’t give it to my kids, but I took it myself (one a day) when I started feeling my throat itch to prevent myself from getting infected. Guess what? It helped.

My rating? YES!
My husband? “Anything that tastes THAT disgusting HAS to work.”


This is also well known in the western world: Many studies show that it has significant benefits for your body and brain regardless of illnesses, but also, it has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. I made myself a habit to add it to everything I make. Scrambled egg? Add turmeric. Soup? Potatoes? Chicken? Pasta sauce? It goes with that too. Tumeric is our friend.


One of my earliest memories as a child was my grandmother rubbing Arak on my belly when I suffered from stomach aches. Arak is the Mediterranean anise-based liquor that is more common in the U.S. in its Italian version, Sambuca. Recently this old wives tale has been backed by science, that confirmed that Anise indeed has a calming affect, as well as helping with gas problems. I wouldn’t try it on babies though, wait until your kids are at least 4 to try this. That said, if your kids are sick for a week and don’t stop whining like ours have been, consider “administering” it to yourself orally until you don’t care anymore.

Have any more tales? Please let me know, let’s collect them for the next generation!




P.S. — just realized… I suppose there could be another reason Alex calls me a witch… hmmm… #CouplesTherapy