Popular in Alpine regions, the Heubad treatment involves being tightly wrapped in herb-enriched hay that has been soaked in water heated to at least 40C. You’re meant to take the ‘bath’ for about 20 minutes, at which point sweat will start to stream from your pores. It’s said to ease rheumatism and general aches and pains, boost the immune system, improve circulation, and help with weight loss. Warning: The soggy hay can be a bit itchy.
Topfen: A cure for everything
Topfen – a fresh dairy product known as Quark in Germany – is a popular ingredient in Austrian cakes and puddings. But it’s also a popular remedy for all kinds of elements. Our sources tell us that doctors recommend smearing it on your head if you suffer from a dry, itchy scalp (!). If you have a fever a traditional remedy is to put Topfen on your feet and wrap them in towels (the so-called Topfenpatscherl treatment). It’s also been recommended as a topical cream for sore breasts. Worth keeping some in the fridge perhaps?
Yogurt to soothe a sore sunburn
Another common remedy involving a dairy product. Apparently smearing yogurt on a sunburn not only helps to cool and moisturize the skin – it also helps reestablish the pH balance and promotes faster healing. Use plain, unsweetened, full-fat yogurt if you can, let it sit on your skin until it warms up and then rinse off with tepid water. Some people recommend mixing a paste made of equal proportions of barley, turmeric and yogurt. It all sounds a bit messy – we prefer good old Aloe Vera.
Wormwood tea for stomach ache
Medicinal, herbal teas are very popular in Austria. If you have a cold you’re sure to be prescribed thyme tea but a more old fashioned tea is made from the bitter-tasting wormwood herb (which is also used to make Absinthe) and is meant to be good for treating digestive problems, including flatulence, bloating, heartburn and indigestion. It was also used for medicinal purposes in Ancient Egypt and Rome. However, it’s not recommended that you drink it every day, and you should avoid it if pregnant. Too much of it can prevent you from sleeping – or might make you have strange dreams