Home remedies of the past

ell, I'm still alive and not in jail yet from last week's prescriptions on home remedies. Anybody tried to stop a bleeding with kerosene? Or to kill the pain of a nail puncture with a roach?

This week we'll look at some more home remedies (medecinas caseras) that were popular 25 years ago. It is not meant to discourage anyone from going to the doctor, but to give an alternative in case there is no doctor available or your pocket is low.

Chest Cold: A very common ailment of all times which our mothers treated with honey mixed with lime juice. Two or three spoonfuls every two hours did produce good results by the end of the day. Adults, however, had the habit of curing it with a straight shot of white rum. If that did not do it, then 2 or 3 shots did, or at least it made them forget that they had a cold and cough.

Ear Ache: Now tell me about a very painful ailment and what to do in the absence of a doctor or any prescribed medication! Well, twenty five years ago people grew the tobacco plant in their backyards. You warm one leaf over a fire and squeeze the juice out of the tobacco leaf. Apply a few drops into the ear and ....bingo ! Now if there were no such leaves, then father would be called to made a few puffs of cigarette smoke directly into the ear and this would ease the pain to at least allow some sleep.

Head Aches: Tylenol or Advil? Forget it! 25 years ago all families had this plant in the backyard near the well - "Siempre Viva" (translated literally as Always Alive). This plant produced some very fleshy or juicy leaves. Two or four of these leaves, slightly smashed, were applied to the forehead and tied in place with a handkerchief. After sometime, the headache would ease. Another remedy was using a very sharp thorn known as "cinanche". This plant grew in the bush and on any given trip dad would bring a few cinanche thorns for the family. With it one would pierce the forehead (sort of an acupuncture) and then tie the head with Siempre Viva or just a piece of cloth. This usually spelled relief. According to "La Viejas" (The old Ladies) one should never use a needle because it is not sterile. The "Cinanche" thorn was.

Cagalera (loose bowels): Any Peptobismol for the diarrhoea? Forget it. But there was one sure good stopper! You boil 2 or 3 small coconuts (2 or 3 inches long) in a cup of water for a few minutes. Then you drink it by spoonfuls all day long, and by evening you would notice the slowing down of the flow of the river, Other people tried the same remedy with the bark of the sea grape tree. but it was not as eff1cient as the young coconuts. Next week a few more in the series of home remedies

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