Hispanic Home Remedies

Son Mexicanos, that’s the way the Facebook message came across. It showed a picture of a candle with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lemons, Vicks Vapor Rub and a bottle of tonic. I am not criticizing the message but actually lending more to the idea of self-medication.

Long before there were pills and modern medicine, there were Mexican natives who used curanderas/os to advice the populace what to do for human illnesses or injuries. My grandmother was one of them. While not a practicing Catholic due to her work habits as the housewife, she would follow the rules of the church and use all the sacramental including holy candles, rosaries, etc.

I remember when someone in the family would bring their son or daughter to my grandmother Cuca and asked her to help with their stomach ailments. She would take the child and massage the stomach area and turn them around and pinch their spine. Lo and behold they were cured. Of course she would be praying while she’s doing this.

My grandmother, Refugia “Cuca” Reynosa, to differentiate from my other grandmother, Romana Cortez who also uses herbs for making tea for various ailments, used mostly massages or in her language, Sobasa, along with whatever will help with injuries like broken bones or headaches or cuts.. For example, spider webs were used for stopping a cut from bleeding, wet cigarette ashes place on both temples for headaches. Also fifty cent pieces place on the temple and tied with a rag for the same headache. There were baked tomatoes wrapped around the neck and the bottom of the feet for throat ailments, like tonsils and a red wet string placed on the forehead for hiccups or as they call it “el ipo”

Of course there was always “El mal de ojo”, the Evil Eye. There is a belief that a person can instill a malady on a child if they stare at a child without touching them. (I still and always will look at a cute kid and pat them on the head. The parents don’t mind if they’re Hispanic because they know what will happen.) To ward off this affliction, a doe’s eye is placed around the neck of every Hispanic child. A final cure for this is a rub down with a fresh egg with the egg afterward being placed in a bowl under the bed overnight. In the morning there is something resembling an eye in the middle of the yolk. That meant the cure worked.

Now if you are Hispanic and in your sixties or seventies, you probably remember receiving this remedies and some of the remedies were “grotesque” so to speak. So talk it over with your grandma and she can come up with more home remedies that are not listed here.

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