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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Astragalus and Echinacea on PSLE Standby

Astragalus is a herb we call "bei qi" in Mandarin or "puk kay" in Cantonese. US clinical studies have found that this herb increases the white blood cell count in the blood stream. For more details, see here. A sick child was a great deal of work for a harried young mother who needed to report to full-time work everyday. My feverish children needed frequent sponging and their incessant cries cracked my night's sleep into slivers of broken rest. Things would get worse when The Husband fell ill too. The Husband's ailments translated into bad temper and overall grumpiness that was hard to manage because he questioned and criticized my every attempt to make him feel better. I hated nursing The Husband even more than I hated nursing my kids. At least my kids obeyed me. The Husband was, and still is, an extraordinarily uncooperative patient.

I had every interest to keep the germs at bay just so that I needn't nurse a Man-Bear with a Sore Head.

Back in those days, I ran a tight ship at home from my cubicle at work. The week's menu was planned on a calendar. I matched up every single vegetable and meat in the fridge, with a dish on the menu... such that by the time Saturday night came around, the fridge was exactly empty. Once I discovered the research on astragalus, it was quite easy to ensure with exact military precision, that the whole family drank Petunia's Astragalus Soup every Monday morning.

Frequent visits to the doctor downstairs became a thing of the past. Instead of 4 visits a year for each of the 4 of us, we each visited our dear doctor once in 2 years only... on average. This was quite an achievement considering that Little Boy attended preschool where we know germs of all sorts get passed around.

Next, I discovered echinacea. Armed now with both astragalus and echinacea, we've stopped visiting the doctor for flu altogether. Astragalus strengthened our immune system so much that we hardly fell ill. And now, when we do, echinacea pretty much gets rid of it within 2 days or so. Astragalus raises white blood cell count so that there are enough soldiers to fight off germ intruders. Echinacea enhances the intruder alert system such that more white blood cells are mobilized in less time. Echinacea is most effective during the initial stages of an infection because that is when the infection is slight and therefore the body is not yet fully alert to the Still Small Threat. If we take echinacea early enough, the flu goes away without really settling in.

Working now from home, I am afraid I run a far less tighter ship than I used to. Planning has become a thing of the past. I do stuff whenever I feel like it because now, I can. What with having to sell books and giving talks... I haven't felt like making Petunia's Astragalus Soup for 3 months now. With PSLE in exactly 51 days from now, I realized yesterday that I had better start beefing up Little Boy's white blood cell count. Just in case.

I made a batch of Petunia's Astragalus Soup this morning with four different kinds of veggies as well as pork collar and dried anchovies. We will all drink that soup tonight and turn into Popeye the Sailor Men! The recent echinacea blooms from the garden have also been lovingly cut and dried... and put away in the freezer. This is just in case Popeye the Sailor Men need some extra PSLE punch in exactly 51 days.

Time to run a tight ship again.

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