I grew up in a family with a pharmacist for a father. As a child I marvelled when he prepared ointments with a long bendy knife. In those moments he was a sort of magician who conjured ointments which relieved people’s pains. Here are a couple of ointments that would bring relief especially in Winter.

Pain Ointment  

  • 1 Big tin Zambuk
  • 3 tubes Wintergreen ( 25g elk)
  • 1 bottle Haarlemensis

Put the ointments in a double cooker to melt. Remove from heat when melted, and add the Haarlemensis. Mix well and decant in a glas jar.

Ointment for wounds that won’t heal

  • 1 jar Ponds Cream
  • 1 tin zinc ointment
  • 2 teaspoons Friars Balsem

The biggest gift you can give yourself, when you are bothered with a wound that heals slowly, is not to lose hope and to be patient with the healing process. The body is slower to heal when you are without hope. Encourage yourself every time you work with the wound. 

Haemorrhoid Ointment

  • 1 jar Vaseline
  • 1 bottle Haarlemensis

Mix well and apply often. 


I always think of late Tolla van der Merwe when my haemorrhoids occasionally bother me, or when people phone me with a cry for help: Please Help! My haemorrhoids are driving me insane! He told of this remedy he got from an old uncle – when you have an external haemorrhoid, take a match and burn the haemorrhoid. The next day you just shake the box of matches loudly in the vicinity of the haemorrhoid, and it will get such a fright that it will jump back on its own and never show its face again! Now, the person who’s had a haemorrhoid will tell you that the last thing you want to do is to burn it! You don’t want to do anything to aggravate it, because if it’s aggravated you can’t sit, it’s hard to lie down; you feel uncomfortable all the time, and you become afraid to go to the toilet. 

Haemorrhoids form due to bad blood circulation and constipation. The emotional cause of haemorrhoids could be that you feel rejected, have a fear of deadlines, and fear over shortage of money. Anger about things of the past and a fear of letting go could also lead to problems with haemorrhoids. 

Kaneelbol  is the herb which helps with blood circulation and it also helps to strengthen the artery walls. Herbs don’t work as fast as over-the-counter medicines, so it doesn’t help to start using Kaneelbol once you already have haemorrhoids. It’s always better to use herbs preventative and with haemorrhoids this is especially true. If you are prone to haemorrhoids, it would be wise to use Kaneelbol regularly – you use it for 3 months, stop for 3 months and use it again for 3 months. The haemorrhoid-operation is rarely successful and many people call me with sad stories of procedures gone wrong. 

You take a teaspoon Kaneelbol, put it in a glass bowl, pour a litre of boiling water on it, let it cool and decant in a glass bottle (complete with pieces). Drink a quarter cup 3 times a day. When it’s finished, wait 3 days and make another litre. Continue doing this for 3 months. 

There is also an ointment on can prepare and apply when the haemorrhoids are already there. 

  • Take a big tin Zambuk, melt in a double cooker, and once it’s melted, add half a bottle of Haarlemensis and 1 tablespoon of Aluin-powder. Apply regularly to the problem area, externally and internally. 
  • Take a small jar of Vaseline, melt in a double cooker with 1 blok Camphor and half a bottle of Haarlemensis. Apply regularly. 

You should also watch your body to try and determine which food that you eat seem to cause the haemorrhoids to “bloom” – I know for me tomatoes, pineapple, guavas and sometimes chillies are problematic. 

You and your Digestive System

In Amore Bekker’s cookbook, “Tjaila-resepte”, she quotes the wise Marthinus Versveld, where he said: “Eating is a way to assimilate life.” When I walk in the veld with my dogs, I’m often in awe when I see a kudu take flight right in front of me, or when I see a Springbok displaying. The balance in an animal’s body shows that their bodies are kept healthy and strong by the food which they consume. And when you look at kudu droppings you will see how well this animal digests its food. It doesn’t have neurosis about its eating habits, and its body reflects this. 

When one listens to the list of complaints people have about their digestive systems, it looks as if modern life with its many challenges is difficult to digest. Research has shown that the number of people with obesity and eating disorders is increasing rapidly, colon cancer is more common, and people are increasingly “allergic” – allergies to gluten, dairy, sugar, and genetically modified foods. Most illnesses come from an imbalance in the digestive system. An overly acidic digestive system is favourable for cancer, arthritis, heart-burn, burning feet, cholesterol, blood-sugar problems and even somethings like “restless leg syndrome”. 

Just as one should watch what one eats, one should consider the important rituals around your meals, if you don’t already have these in place. Nowadays it is old-fashioned to sit together around a table for a meal, or often we feel like we “don’t have enough time” to do this. When you prepare your digestive tract for the food about to be received, your system has time to secrete digestive fluids in preparation for the food, so that it can be digested properly and to extract maximum nutritional value from the ingested food. When your thoughts and your heart isn’t present and involved in the eating process, you will never feel satisfied, because you were “absent” while you were eating. This is why eating in front of the computer or television can’t nourish you. In the wonderful movie, “Like water for chocolate”, a girl cries, abandoned by her love, while she bakes a wedding cake, and her tears fall in the mixture, and that evening all the wedding guests cried after eating the cake because they “felt” her tears. Like the story illustrates, the heart with which you cook is very important. It’s not just an old-wives tale. 

Here follows a cabbage recipe from the book “Guarding the 3 treasures” by Daniel Reid –

By drinking this stock for 3 months, the “good bacteria” in the stomach is fed, strengthening the digestive tract in order to prevent future digestive problems. While using the stock, try eating more fresh produce, and to cut down on starch, sugar and dairy products. 

Blend 1 and three-quarters of a cup purified water and 3 cups of roughly chopped cabbage. Don’t use tap water, as this hinders the good bacteria. Pour the mixture in a glass bottle and screw cap on lightly so that the mixture can breathe for exactly 3 days. Then, pour the mixture through a sieve and throw the cabbage pieces in the garden. Measure out a quarter of the liquid to start the next round. Again, you take 3 cups chopped cabbage and one and a half cup of water. When you prepare it a second time, leave it for only 24 hours. Drink half a cup of the liquid with meals and keep it in the refrigerator once ready. Use this mixture for three months and see what happens!

Smoothies with Kick

Supplements to our diets are becoming more vital if we want to get all the vitamins and minerals we need. Some of these supplements do more harm than good, and it is therefore that natural supplements which can be easily digested by your body are gaining popularity. 

Mixed Fruit and Seeds Smoothie

  • 2 teaspoons linseed
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi fruit
  • 2 peaches, 2 apricots, 1 pear
  • 50ml natural live yoghurt
  • 100 – 150ml rice- or soy milk

Finely grind seeds and add with fruit and other ingredients to a blender. Drink immediately. 

The Omega Drink

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 1 tabelspoon sunflower seed
  • 1 piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 150 ml sugar-free apple juice

Soak the seeds in 100ml water overnight. The next day, put the seeds with the water in a blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Add a bit of water and serve immediately. 


Seeds are rich in minerals, Vitamin E, protein and fiber. You only need one tablespoon per day of the following mixture. 

Take a 250ml glass jar with a screw-top lid, and fill with the follwing: 

Fill half the jar with flaxseed, and the rest with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and 1 teaspoon whole cumin. Keep the bottle in the refrigerator and tightly closed. Take a handful every morning in your coffee, or grind it and take it with your yoghurt or in your porridge. You can also experiment with seeds and fruit to create a smoothie you like! 

You and your Tongue

Our tongues are not only our instruments of communication, but it is also a sort of a roadmap or GPS that can give you good indications about what goes on in your body. Look at your tongue first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, for clues as to what goes on in your body. 

According to Chinese medicine, the balance between the heart, representing fire; the lungs which act as the bellows to the fire, and the kidneys and bladder which represent water, is extremely important to ensure good health. When an imbalance occurs between these three, signs of it can be detected on the tongue. The back portion of the tongue represents the kidneys; the center the stomach, spleen and pancreas; and the front part the heart and small intestine. Take enough time to study your tongue, because each of our tongues are as unique as ourselves. If you look deep in someone’s eyes, you can see their soul reflected in them, and if you study someone’s tongue you will make a connection with their heart. If your focus is on speaking the truth every day, your tongue will be a great blessing to you.

The white plaque on the tongue is normal, but when it is overly white it may show on a problem with the stomach and pancreas. When the white layer discolours and turns dark, this means that your heart is struggling and that your body struggles with bad digestion. Yellow plaque on the tongue indicates fever or inflammation in the body. A grey or black tongue indicates acute illness or the presence of cancer in the body. 

The shape of your tongue also plays a big role in your health. When your tongue is large and swollen and there are teethmarks on it in the morning, it can indicate that your kidneys and spleen are dysfunctional. When the tongue is narrow, your energy levels are low and your food-intake is insufficient. A short tongue shows on problems with your pancreas and your heart, and a shaky tongue indicates a struggling thyroid or that you may have yuppy-flu. Upwelling on the back of the tongue in the shape of a fern-leaf means that your stomach needs minerals and that your gall-bladder is under stress. A dark tongue means a lack of vitality and a pink tongue indicates good vitality. 

It’s also a good idea to exercise your tongue occasionally: stick it out far and roll it up like a chameleon. You can also stick out your tongue and make small circular movements with it. While you do this, a lot of saliva is secreted which contains wonderful bacteria for aiding digestion. 

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to learn to control your tongue. Remember, the words which you form with your tongue are like feathers in the wind, and once spoken, they can never be taken back. May your tongue bring you great honour and may words roll like honey from your mouth. 

Liver Detox

Squeeze juice from 1 lemon, 1 grapefruit, and 1 orange. Pour the juice in a glass jug.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and add luke-warm water to make 500ml.

Use fresh fruit and finish it every day. Use this mixture every morning for ten days before your tea, coffee, or any medications.

During the Winter you can use this detox once a month for ten days.

Poor blood circulation

Take a spoon of red pepper, place it inside your shoes, put on socks and walk a day with the pepper in your shoes. Never walk bare feet on the pepper, it will burn the skin.

Red pepper can also be used for high blood pressure. However, while people with Type O blood can use red pepper successfully other blood groups should take more care. A knife point of red pepper three times a day after meals can be taken to address high blood pressure.

Bed sores and wounds that don’t heal

Gifbol plants look like the leaves of an onion. The bulb itself is poisonous and should never be used. Tear the leaves from around the bulb and place on bed sores – it keeps the wound dry and drains excess fluid around it. The wounds should preferably be treated three times a day. Place a blob of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) inside the wound if it has formed a hole because it is the body’s attempt to ‘fill’ the hole that causes the fluid to build up, which in turn slows down healing.

Deafness, buzzing in the ears and vertigo

Take a middle size bottle castor oil, pour into a small pan and cut three cloves of garlic into the oil. Fry on medium heat until garlic browns slightly. Take from the stove, cool down and pour mixture into a glass bottle with the pieces of garlic still inside the oil. Take a half spoon of oil mixture, heat it up to lukewarm over a candle flame (never pour cold oil into ear) and pour it into one ear the one night and the other ear the following night. Place a plug inside the ear once the oil is poured inside.

It is also advisable to use ear candles, available from health stores, after both ears have been treated the first time. Follow the included instructions and treat both ears, even if you experience discomfort in only one ear. Ear candles can be used only once every six months.

Bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema

Take four branches of wilde-als, length from the wrist to the index finger, and one branch of wynruit, also from wrist to index finger. Take nieshout, scrape one teaspoon’s worth of splinters with a knife. Place everything in one litre water, add 1½ cups of sugar and boil on medium heat for 45 minutes. Once the syrup mix has cooled off, pour into a glass bottle and keep in the fridge. Drink a tot three times a day. Wilde-als and wynruit can be grown in your garden and is available at some nurseries. Use the mixture as necessary.

Mouth sores and sore throat

Take a leaf of hotnotsvy (Carpobrotus edulis), break it open and apply the juice on the mouth sores, for as many times per day as necessary. Relieve sore throat by chewing a bit of the leaf, swallowing the juice and spitting out the pieces.

Nasturtium leaves are also good medicine for a sore throat. Chew about three leaves at a time and swallow the pieces – it has quite a strong taste, so give to children with a piece of bread to soften the sharp taste a bit.


Every year, just after sweet Spring made her appearance, people start calling me in consultation times between 5 and 7 to ask what they can do, because they have shingles. The pain shooting through your body, the paralysed feeling like you are carrying a bag of cement in your inside, is something you don’t even wish upon your greatest enemy. So it happened that this November I also suffered the brunt of shingles. And this you should know of this illness: if you had it once, you will have it again, especially every time you experience a lot of stress or if you worked too hard and suffered burn-out. In the beginning I was very upset when my shingles striked, but this year (2014), I was very proud of my body for warning me early on that I should take it slow. 

Every physical illness has an emotional cause and with shingles the causes are extreme stress and fear. Caroline Myss speaks of “waiting for the other shoe to drop”, you feel like you can’t possibly handle any stressful situation because you feel over-sensitive. Despondency and depression can also lead to inflamed nerve-endings – this is what happens in your body when you have shingles. I always feel very sad and emotional when I have shingles, and then I make time to cry, about anything, because in this way you get to discharge some of the pent-up negative emotional energy. Shingles is about that one straw, that single piece, that breaks the camel’s back. It is therefore also extremely important to make time to rest, to lie on your bed and listen to your body when it tells you it is too tired to get up. In the beginning I felt guilty for just wanting to lie on my bed, until I realised that my overworked, stressed body will only heal when I listen and stay down. 

The rash caused by shingles is hyper-sensitive to touch; the first time I got it it felt like I couldn’t bear the soft touch of clothes on my body. It helps to apply Aloe gel, which helps cool the affected area. Sour figs, also known as Hottentots’ figs, can also be applied. It’s a succulent and is easy to grow with a cutting and essential for every garden. Castor oil can be applied to the rash, as it works to relieve pain and calms the skin where it burns. 

You can also use a teaspoon organic turmeric 3 times per day after meals. Turmeric helps those inflamed nerve-endings to recover. Now would also be the time to start using the King of Herbs, Kankerbossie. Kankerbossie strengthens the immune system, and if your immune system is strong, it will help you recover faster. This herb is the only one that you can take every day of your life. With other herbs it is necessary to stop using it for three months in between uses, so that the body gets the opportunity to heal itself. The dosage of any herb is important: you take 1 teaspoon Kankerbossie, put it in a glass bowl, and pour 1 liter boiling water on it. Let it cool down, decant in a glass bottle or jug, keep in the refrigerator, and drink half a cup three times per day. One’s dedication to the healing process is very important here, so it is important to keep drinking the herbs. 

If you work on being good to yourself emotionally, to cherish yourself and to acknowledge yourself, you will find that the shingles will disappear. This is also then a good time to take stock of the things that stress you out unnecessarily, to change and digest this, and with stress in your workplace which you can’t necessarily control, to change your attitude towards the problem. 

The old folks believed that ingesting turmeric is very wholesome, and in the case of shingles it is definitely true. A teaspoon of turmeric, in the morning and evening, helps the body fight against shingles. The overwhelming pain in the wounds can be relieved by applying Aloe gel. Take an Aloe leaf, preferably the Kanniedood ( Aloe variegata ), and put it underneath warm ash. The leaf will expand and the gel will become soft. Cut the leaf open and apply the lukewarm gel to the affected areas, and you will feel the sensitive areas “cool” down and that the sensitivity lessens. 

Hair loss

Take four branches of rosemary, length from the elbow to the wrist. Pour the oil of a middle size bottle coconut oil in a small pan. Strip the leaves from the stem, add it to the oil and fry on medium heat until the leaves brown slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down. Don’t let the leaves become too dark since it will affect the fragrance. Pour the oil through a sieve so that the leaves stay behind. Massage the oil into the scalp for five minutes. Bind a plastic bag around the head for 30 minutes to generate some heat. Wash the hair and rinse with rosemary infusion – take five branches of rosemary, boil in two litres water and cool down. Use this combination of oil and infusion every week for four weeks and once a month thereafter. Coconut oil is available from pharmacies and certain chain stores.

Psoriasis and eczema

Take a small bottle petroleum jelly (Vaseline) and mix well with four envelopes of Grandpa headache powder. Keep a bottle with you and apply on affected areas regularly. For eczema you can use a cup of pork fat mixed with one tablespoon of Flowers of Sulphur (blomswael). Apply regularly to affected areas. Flowers of Sulphur is available at pharmacies.

Colic babies

Take a knife point of red powder (Lennon Medicine) and rub it onto the baby’s gums or on the tongue. Use it mornings and evenings.

A knife point of red powder and a knife point of English Salts three times a day, the old people believed, prevents miscarriages.

Gout and arthritis

Pour a litre water in a pot, cut (don’t use a garlic press) one kilogram garlic into it. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes and remove from stove. Add 250 grams of honey and one litre cane spirit to the warm water. It is important that the cane spirit is poured into warm water so that the alcohol can evaporate. Let the mixture cool down and pour through a sieve into a glass bottle and keep in the fridge. Drink a tot three times a day. Use the bottle until it is finished, wait seven days and then make another bottle. Although you may start feeling better after about three bottles, really good results are experienced after about eight bottles.

Burning feet and pain in the legs

Crumble four blocks of camphor into 500ml methylated spirits. Camphor is available from pharmacies. Shake the mixture well and apply with cotton wool to feet or legs.

Feet must be rubbed DOWN from above the ankle and never up, the old people believed you rubbed the disease into confusion! The same applies for the legs, start above the knee and rub down.

Recipe for Lice

  • 1 bottle of peppermint drops (Lennon)
  • The same amount of olive oil or cooking oil
  • 1 cup brown vinegar
Pour this mixture into a 500ml bottle and fill up with Dettol or Savlon. Wet a flannil-cloth with this mixture and wrap it around the child's head overnight. When you take off the cloth the next morning, the lice are no more.

Soothing and blessing ointment ( Troos-salf)

Take one third raw Frankincense Resin ( Escentia) and 2 thirds coldpressed , organic Coconut oil.

1 Tablespoon Myrhh ( Natural products) resin.

Put the Frankincense and Myrhh in the freezer the night before, otherwise it becomes sticky when you work with it.

Put 7 bits of the Frankincense resin in the mortar at a time, if you put more in, you stuggle to get it into a powder, and make both the Frankincense and the Myrhh into a powder.

Take a dubble-cooker, put your 2 thirds Coconut oil and your 1 third Frankincense and Myrhh on the lowest heat on your stove and let it cook SLOWLY for 10 hours. Stir once every hour.Pour it through a linen cloth into a glass bottle and start blessing and soothing yourself daily.

You can make extra Frankincense powder that you can take orally once a day. Frankincense has great heling powers and can be taken to boost your health.