Speak with anyone who knows a thing or two about traditional Turkish life and you will soon learn that there is plenty of traditional Turkish folklore to suit every occasion.

When the temperature drops…

The mountains behind Fethiye
The mountains behind Fethiye

It’s certainly been freezing for the past week and icy winds are blowing off the snow covered mountains, so here is some of the advice we have gleaned over the years that may come in handy when trying to avoid ‘grip’, that’s Turkish for the flu or a winter chill by the way.

The ‘modern’ way

Of course, there are those who are keen on the latest technology and will leap at the chance to have a flu jab and fill their cabinets full of expensive pills and potions.

Ways to avoid a winter chill - Turkish style

Sadly, there are also those who stock up on antibiotics from their local Turkish pharmacist, who sell antibiotics over the counter, even though they are pointless unless you have a bacterial infection. The increasing amount of useless self medication with antibiotics will only add to the terrifying scenario that more and more diseases will become resistant to antibiotics. And then where shall we be?

The ‘old fashioned’ way

Australia: abandoned baby bats.http://www.catersnews.com
We couldn’t resist: Abandoned baby bats.http://www.catersnews.com

Wrap up and keep warm; avoid any dramatic changes in temperature, and follow your Turkish auntie’s advice:

Always wear slippers

always wear socks and slippers
always wear socks and slippers

Never go outside with damp hair

Always wear a vest

Always keep your midriff covered

Never go outside will a bare belly!
Never go outside will a bare belly!

Wear socks at night

always sleep wearing socks
always sleep wearing socks

Avoid draughts

Never venture into snow

Tobogganing in the snow above Nif/Arpacik
Tobogganing in the snow above Nif/Arpacik

Drink loads of tea, salep and soup*

Our favourite traditional remedies

Conveniently, all of these are readily available in Fethiye, so if, despite all this advice you are laid low by a virus, take an aspirin, stay as warm as possible, and try these traditional remedies:

Mix some of the following into a big mug of hot water:

several spoons of honey

A taste of honey
A taste of honey
oranges lemons fethiye
Oranges and lemons

Lemon juice (oranges too)

Kekik (Thyme /Oregano)

Thyme for tea
Thyme for tea

Ada çayı (sage)

Sage advice
Sage advice


Chili pepper

Hot stuff
Hot stuff

The idea is to stay very warm, sleep a lot and get better as soon as possible!

Beautiful soup…

Beautiful lentil soup
Beautiful lentil soup

Also, Turkey is famous for the most delicious and efficacious soups, so a great big bowl of hot steaming lentil soup is bound to go down a treat.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 large chopped onion

1 large chopped potato

1 large chopped carrot

1 mug of red split lentils

6 mugs of chicken or vegetable stock

Large knob of butter (please! not margarine)

1 soup spoon of dried mint

Salt and black pepper to taste


Fry the finely chopped onion, potato and carrots in the butter until they start to soften, but are not browned. (The onions should look transparent). Add the lentils and stock. Simmer over a gentle heat until the lentils are soft. Blend in a food blender (make sure you leave it to run for quite a while, it is important that the soup is really smooth). Season with mint, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with oregano, pul biber (chili flakes) and wedges of lemons (that should be squeezed into the soup). Some nice crusty bread to go with it and there you are!

Once made, Mercimek Çorbası keeps well in the fridge for a few days but remember to heat up very thoroughly (bring to the boil) before serving.

Geçmış olsun!

Here is some information for you to read if you think your cold/flu is something more serious.

Have you any traditional Turkish remedies you would like to share?