Too often we turn up our noses at so-called traditional medicines. Yet, time and again, the old remedies turn out to be efficacious. Nina Martin had an accident with a teapot and some very hot water and, now recovered, tells a tale of burns and honey.
That night I didn't get much sleep from the pain and the sheets had to be washed next day but I managed to keep the skin covered in honey, only gingerly washing it off when I bought some anti-inflammatory cream from the pharmacy so I could go to work the day after. My hand puffed up and I had to hold it up in the air – if I dropped it below elbow-level the extra bloodflow was just too painful. I remembered my mother telling me not to cover a burn so I just left it open to the air. The September sun was still strong enough to make it sting sharply, so vampire-like, I avoided any contact with sunshine. That was easy enough in the medina but tricky in the Ville Nouvelle.
Over the next two weeks I alternated between using the cream to go to work and the honey at home. My hand turned into a Hammer House of Horror hand, drawing stares from people in the street and fascinating my students who couldn't drag their eyes off the raw, red new skin and the flayed burnt skin peeling off all around after it had blistered. People were sympathetic and one or two showed me where they had burnt themselves with cooking oil or hot water, the small patches clearly visible because the skin was discoloured. What would my hand end up looking like, I wondered, with such a large area blistered and peeling? But, miraculously, by the end of the third week when I had to back to the UK it was impossible to tell which hand had been burnt, so completely had it all healed.
My recycled plastic soda bottle of beldi honey still has enough in it to cope with future emergencies as well as cough and cold remedies.
The teapot, however, has been relegated to egg-boiling duties.
|Lick up the honey and ask no questions.- Arabian proverb|