Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Grandma Rada: Kind word is the best medicine

The last episode of "Grandma Rada's Herbs" show was aired about a month ago. The show turned Rada Boskovska into a star she never dreamt of become, nor she wanted to. Due to her age, she will no longer do TV shows, but therefore, she wrote a hand guide to herbs, published by "Tri" and she is already planning the sequel. We did the interview in her backyard, where she welcomed us with tee and strawberry jam and saw us off with a kind thought, hoping we will see each other again for some happy occasion...

It was not a surprise at all when Rada Boshkovska (1945), better known as Grandma Rada, won “Golden Ladybug of Popularity” award. In the past year, she managed to win the hearts of both young and elder viewers with her show on herbs and their healing properties, as well as her rich experience based on the theory that there is a herb for every pain. The last episode of the “Grandma Rada’s Herbs” show was aired on 4 July, same day when the handbook “Grandma Rada’s Herbs” was promoted in “Tri” bookstore. The handbook contains recipes of many Macedonian herbalists. Over a thousand people came to the promotion to shake hands with Boshkovska and to thank her, while she would write a a word or two on their books. Due to her age, she will no longer do the show, but, therefore, she is already preparing the sequel of the hand guide to herbs in Macedonia.

Many have been asking Boshkovska how come the show was named “Grandma Rada’s Herbs”. She would mention she is a grandmother to her grandchildren, but also to her viewers.

– A grandma is the highest rank, generalissimus. It is the grandma who embraces, bakes doughnuts, pies, her house smells of vanilla and cinnamon. It is the grandma who gives the maya, or the leaven, helps you walk through the toughest moments in your life. By spending time with their grandmothers, children gain all the kindness to guide their lives. It is than easier to endure tough times – Boshkovska says.

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Did you expect to be this famous when you began with “Grandma Rada’s Herbs” show?

Boshkovska: I did not expect, because I am older and I always leave space for the younger, they are the ones who should build a career, climb the stairway to success. I count my years backwards – ten, nine, eight… I am climbing down the staircase and I have no regrets at all, because my life is fulfilled – children, grandchildren, many friends. Me and my unfortunately late husband Petar Boshkovski had a rich and fulfilled life in the most essential terms. I had a truly good life in all areas, especially in terms of humanity, kindness, mercy, all I find truly valuable. I accepted the show offer gladly because I knew Marija Sazdeva from before. Even she probably did not expect the show would be such a major success. Deep within I felt people need a kind word, a good thought, and I do all that with great honesty. It is in my nature. I live my life without any envy, anger, I accept all things with consideration to God, all that happens was supposed to happen. Disease is a sign, but also a gift for me to fight, to help. Viewers have probably recognized that, hence the success.

Your husband was a journalist and a poet, but he never achieved the glory you now have?

Boshkovska: Unfortunately, that is true. I could never compare myself to him, to be like him. He has remarkable poems, those are not my words, but of the critics. Many say his essays and critics helped them understand the works they read. Unfortunately, that is how things are here and I disagree with it. Not because of Pero, he was satisfied and he did not ask for any attention. His coworkers did not even know he was a poet, except for the fellow poets. He was also film critic, drama editor, a man who could comprehend all spheres of his artistic area. But, I always love mentioning him for his knowledge in herbs. I learned herbs names from him. I have dedicated some of the show episodes to him.

How did you learn so much about herbs and their healing properties? For how long has herbalism been your occupation?

Boshkovska: I have the feeling like I knew about herbs even before I was born. Back in the days everything was less stressful, social life was more fulfilled. All yards were full of fruits – peaches, apricots, plums, grapes. We would sit down for a lunch in the yard and apricots would fall in our laps. Herbs smelled so nice, there was no yard without basil, bee balm, lady’s eardrops, incense… that is why I love Vlatko Stefanovski’s song “Incense”, reminds my of beautiful days. It reminds me of open yards, smell of watermelon in the summer, fried paprika, spring potatoes and bottle gourd. I fell in love with herbs back than. I started to read and revealed the herbs were first, than animals, trees and human was last.

Do you often get stopped at the market place by people asking for advice? To consult you over some tea, potion or medicine?

Boshkovska: It happens all the time and that is why I decided to stop going to the market. I want to answer to everyone, but I can not. In the show, they want to protect me from all the people who seek out my phone number. But I can not pretend to be good in the show and if am not answering the calls. If something is urgent, I pay attention to them before the show, and if not, I am asking them to wait and talk to me after the show. Even when I am too tired, I want to help. That is not odd to me, I have been dealing with spiritual development for a long time. Herbs do help me, they give me security and peace of mind. There are herbs that really give us genuine growth such as rosemary and bay leaf, for example. It is no accident that winners and laureates wore wreaths of bay leaves or rosemary. They enrich our soul, healing us completely and giving us peace.

Do you think good words heal more than herbs?

Boshkovska: I am absolutely positive. I do not see myself as a healer, but few people of whom I have told that are not sick, and who have been treated as they were, after some time they call me to tell me that they are well. You do not know how happy I am! Just like when I become a grandmother, when good things happen in the family… Kind word is the best medicine.

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Elixir to enhance immunity

250 grams of mixed cranberry, lemon juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, 20 grams of  cinnamon and

20 grams of ginger are put in one kilogram of honey. All ingredients are nicely mixed and ready to consume.

For adults – one soup spoon in the morning and in the evening.

For kids – one tea spoon in the morning and in the evening.

You have been a pensioner for quite some time. How do you pass your day?

Boshkovska: Although I am a lawyer by profession, I have been dealing with herbs since a long time ago. My daughters were studying, so I started taking care of my grandchildren. I was also treating Pero, and I think that I helped him to leave complete, happy and harmonious. He translated Francesco Petrarca, wrote short stories and he said that it was his time to go. French philosopher Foucault says that they people in difficult health conditions are lucky to be surrounded by family. Pero was indeed surrounded by all of us. I think he left as a happy, complete and harmonious man. And he and I see death as a very important act, just like birth. So even in death, departure should be dignified.

Does happiness come by itself or is it true to human destiny and if you do not chase it, it will be right here, next to us?

Boshkovska: We thought and talked with Pero about this at length. Man should know how to feel happiness by himself. Life is short and long. It is perhaps short for living, but it is long to pay us back for all the things that we do, whether they are good or bad. Everyone, even in the toughest moments, must seek  a ray of happiness. To be happy about the happiness of others, trying to help someone, with words or deeds. Happiness is a relative thing and very few people, unfortunately, know how to be happy. To me, happiness is the sunrise, when the weather is nice, I am happy that there will be blackberries this year as well and I will be able to give a lot of people. Although Pero and I did not have a rich life in material sense, I believe that we were very rich. All we did was sincere. There is no faculty about parenting, it is learned. Many times we have erred, but we never had a bad thought. At that moment, it seemed right to us. I think he left as a happy man, and we are happy that we have lived with such a person from whom we have learned a lot. Happiness is being built on a daily basis.

Do you see passion for life in the people today? What do you think, they ask you for advice, they want to share their opinions with you? 

Boshkovska: Unfortunately, no. Other values​​ have been imposed on us. Man has forgotten the most basic human virtues – love, faith, hope, courage and wisdom. If you lose your love, it is a lot, but if you lose hope, it is everything. I think that people are not to blame. Suddenly many things have been put on our back. People have no good in their souls became powerful overnight, people are puzzled. People want to live with passion. Even the most depressive person wants to live with passion, that is what he lacks, passion for life, to be happy every day. So I recommend walking , touching and embracing. Touch is very healing. Support is very important in the most difficult moments. Old people say, “The year can not bring what the minute brings”.

The book “Grandma Rada’s Herbs” is a handbook that brings together the secrets and the powers of the healing herbs. This is a bible with over 250 recipes. Did you expect so many people at the promotion?

Boshkovska: The promotion was wonderful, I could not see everything because I was signing books. Everybody was concerned how will I endure, but I instantly regenerated. The book has recipes from all the top herb shops in Macedonia. We are not aware of what kind of treasure we have. I met remarkable people during the filming of “Grandma Rada’s Herbs”. At the promotion, many people told me that this has brought back their faith that goodness still exists.

What is the magic potion for this summer?

Boshkovska: I recommend not very cold tea from the refrigerator, but mild, because it suits the body. The potion that I recommend is made of ginger, which in Sanskrit means “what is being healed”, then mint, a little honey, lemon, a little cinnamon, 1-2 cloves, which is a great antiseptic, and pickles. This is a great drink for those who are not alone, i.e.  pregnant women, then for the children while traveling, as well as the adults. Mint tea and lemon balm tea also recommended. Lavender lemonade is very tasty. You have never tasted more beautiful lemonade.

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By: Aleksandra M. Bundalevska
Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski