Sometime in my not-so-distant past, I recall the one Friday night per year where unsuspecting young adults and children living in my grandmother’s house were subject to a washout. I dreaded this night of moans that was announced sneakily by the indiscriminant smell of Senna leaves boiling– this evil laxative leaf served in tea form is the reason why I’m ambivalent to herbal teas today. Not only was the smell tied to bad memories of trying to hold one’s butthole while running to the bathroom drunken with sleep, but the actual drinking of this horrid tea became a round-the-table spectator event. We sat around the table looking at each other, and looking down at our mugs filled to the rim, trying to come up with creative tricks for making the liquid disappear (my favorite was holding my nose, bringing in a big gulp, and hoping my gag reflex was shocked into submission).
My grandmother would serve us and sit at the table to make sure we drank ALL OF IT, even after we nursed the tea for so long that it got cold. Don’t make your tea get cold, she would warn… because indeed the only thing worse than trying to inhale this liquid laxative, was sipping it cold and tasting every last drop of its herbal textures.
Somehow, the battle and stand-off’s would come to an end, with the most resistance coming from her older sons. When the last drop was drunk, everyone was in for a long 24 hours ahead. 2 kids and 2 grandkids would be in for a long, uncomfortable night and an even sour Saturday morning, but nothing got in the way of making sure that everyone’s system was intact and clean. It didn’t matter if Lester was sick, drink the tea. Or that Marlon vomited in the kitchen sink, Let me pour you another cup. Or that Mansa was a vegetarian and hardly had enough meat to him as it was, It’s good for you, mon. A washout was the remedy to any ailment. Even if the toilets were clogged for days to come.
Grandma’s lesson was a success; there’s always a time of year in which I have this familiar feeling inside. I’ve been eating too much junk. My stomach’s been hurting for no good reason. I need a good washout. It’s time to detox.
Only now, I have a less painful method of consumption. It’s called Magnesium Citrate.