My earliest memories of apothecary begin in the Philippines. Growing up, I remember my Mum, a registered midwife, tagging me along when she pays her patients a follow-up visit. I listened to their stories on the therapeutic benefits of herbal medicines when used for teas, baths steam and infusing oils to use for post-natal massages. Across Asia, it is a traditional practice for a pregnant woman to require post-pregnancy confinement after giving birth and the philosophy of the Asian postnatal confinement period includes a holistic and natural approach using a combination of healthy eating, using herbal medicine and massage to help a woman recover as part of her post-partum recovery.
I remember my mum soaking “Gugo” – a bark of a tree with warm water and infused it with lime to use as a shampoo on my hair. As an adult, I get complimented a lot on having a healthy head of mane and I attribute it to using “Gugo” when I was younger.
When having a cough, my mum would take leaves of bitter gourd in her vegetable garden, infused it with lime and blend it with honey. It tastes bitter but I would find relief after a few hours of taking it.
Not having known at that time, at a very young age, I was introduced to the world of the ancient tradition of Filipino healing practices.