Weather sucks at the moment here in Rijeka. Raining non stop for this whole week. Ur Resident Chef has to nurse a sick person at home. Too much chocolates. My sinful Chocolate Cake and two packs of Strawberry Chocolates were enough to give Mr M a sore throat.
Strangely I discovered the rainy weather (Winters only) bring about a new wave of influenza. Common symptoms include Dry Cough, Sore Throat and Running Nose. You should the number of Flu medicine commercials all over town in this time of the year. You can't escape it even when you are at home nursing your Flu as you'll be reminded of "The Best remedy for Flu" on telly. Tapping on the "Sick" market? You bet.
I was down with a Flu last year when the Winter started to kick in. It lasted for a week. I managed to get rid of the bug with self medication, on top of the Flu medicine from the pharmacy. I'm no stranger to Sore Throats as I used to be down with it once a month when I was younger. The typical glutton behaviour (Chocolates, yeah!) and Hot weather of Singapore worked hand-in-hand to give my powerful blows of the Sore Throat. Incidentally, "J'ai mal a la gorge." was one of the first few sentences in French that I learnt!
So you see, Ur Resident Chef has learnt to self-medicate (Ooi! don't think otherwise!) with the help of Chinese medicine or remedies. Though I'm not well-versed in Chinese medicine, I've learnt the few useful herbs that will help to soothe my Sore Throat and/or Dry Cough overtime.
The most useful item that I must-have at all times is the humble Barley. If you read up on Barley, it is a cereal grain. The consumption of Barley goes all the way back to Ancient Egypt. It is the 4th most widely sown cereal crops in the world. It can be used as animal feed, cooked with rice to provide a healthy staple food and of course a vital ingredient in the making of BEER! Read this on Wikipedia!
For those who do not know, we in Singapore call the two different varieties of Barley in stores, Chinese Barley and Western Barley. The two types of Barley differ in size and appearance. Western Barley are smaller in size and look like your average cereal (similar to Rice). While the Chinese Barley is bigger, rounder and whiter in colour. After doing some googling, I discovered that the so-called Chinese pearl Barley is not related to the Barley (check out this link). It's other less known name is "Job's Tears".
And you would expect the difference produce vastly different drinks. According to my mum, the Chinese "Barley" has a more cooling effect. Thus, it soothes your sore throat is you drink about 2-3 mugs of the concoction. Not forgetting the "Beautifying" effect (regular consumption helps your complexion!) of both grains. So next time, you pop by East Asia, do get yourself a pack of this if you are Sore Throat-prone like me!
Still not sure what I was blabbering about? I promise to take a picture of my "Barley" in a later post! In the meantime, stick to Lemon and Honey drinks.