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  • Writer's pictureUbuntu Traditional balms

"4 Must-Have Winter-Ready Items for Your First Aid Box"

As the dark clouds are rolling in and the stormy weather batters our Cape Town shores, it is starting to look a lot like winter is coming! Besides placing extra blankets onto your bed and taking out the heaters, remember to prepare your first aid box for the cold winter months.

Here is 5 of Ubuntu's best tips to prepare your first aid box for the cold winter months.

Tip #1 - Baba Bors Balsam

Baba Bors Balsam is not only for babies but also for adults. Its a vapour balm that insulates the chest against colds and flu. It consists of clove oil and camphor.

Tip #2 - Kaapse Smeervet "Bokvet"

The most important point to remember about colds and flu is to keep the body temperature constant all the time. Hence the idea of "insulating the skin" or keeping the body warm with rubbing the body out with balms and oils. It locks in the body temperature while the camphor and oils acts as antitussive and decongestant. Furthermore the natural movement of massaging the body helps the lungs to get rid of phlegm naturally. Kaapse Smeervet (known as Bokvet in Cape Town) is an age old traditional balm made with beef tallow infused with camphor to insulate the chest and back and feet. Beef Tallow is halaal.

In Victorian times the "Allcock’s Porous Plaster" was invented which worked in the same way ...

Invented in the US in 1845, the porous plaster contained a potent mixture of shredded india rubber, cayenne pepper, turpentine, Peru balsam, pine pitch and litharge (technically lead (II) oxide but the inventors could well have been referring to lead carbonate). To treat coughs and colds, the patient had to stick it to their chest and enjoy the somewhat warm sensation radiating through their skin. That was the easy part – removing the plaster could prove a challenge and required copious applications of hot towels, or possibly even a flat iron.."

Tip #3 - Camphorated Liniment

Camphorated oil can be used as a decongestant to alleviate colds and flu and body pains. Massage the oil over the whole body or use it as a oil in the bath.

Tip #4 - Doctor Red Flannel Vest

Continuing in the "insulating business" which is the key to treating the colds and flu find our Doctor Red Flannel Vests. Red flannel vests are made from 100% pure wool. Its unisex, proudly South African design with the Shwe-shwe pocket on the front. Place a camphor block inside the pocket and it will insulated the chest to relieve bronchitis, asthma & chest infections in babies. Neon stitching on outside prevents skin irritation on delicate baby skin, while adding a modern twist. Back is tied with a soft plastic button. Wear the vest underneath the clothing. Sizes available from 3 months to adult small.

As a pharmacist with experience with conventional medicine and alternative therapies, there is definitely a place for grandma's old remedies like the remedies mentioned above. Conventional medicine is great up to a point but you can only use it for no longer than 10 days. The above mentioned remedies can be used to supplement the conventional medicines or when medicine don't work anymore. Remember to always seek professional help if your colds and flu do not dissipate. Buy our colds and flu remedies here at


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