Folk medicine

Cold Remedies

Main Piece:

The participant/interviewee is marked as MG.

MG: “No salgas con el cabello mojado.” (Don’t go out with wet hair)

“If you wet you feet, you have to take a shower.”

If you go to the beach you have to take a shower…a lot of sayings have to do with getting sick.

LJ: When do you get these? Are their remedies?

MG: They’re about getting…catching the cold or a fever. Um…my mom usually gives me some “vaporu” (Vapor Rub). Hahaha. And like, and then again, because I’m really sick and I didn’t listen the first time, I shouldn’t go outside. And then if I DO go outside, I have to cover up, especially the nasal passages.

Ohhh! There’s like certain things. One of the most recent things that my mom told me, she probably learned it from the radio. Its vinger…apple cider vinegar. If you do garggles, then that kinda clears up your throat.

LJ: Do they make you feel better?

MG: Mmmm….it’s not really a quick result. So if you keep doing it, it helps. Hahaha But it might just be that over time you get better.

 

Context:

Participant and I were walking at night on the way to an event. This conversation was recorded then.

Background:

Marisol: The participant is a second year student at the University of Southern California. She was raised in Santa Ana, California in a Mexican/Catholic background. She has two older siblings and lives in a two parent household.

Analysis:

There are many Mexican sayings about how to avoid being sick. MG touched on a few of these. However, she received all of them from her mother. Indicating that perhaps her mom is the more caring parent or the one that spends the most time with the children.

Within the interview, MG mentioned “vaporu” an American-made topical gel intended to help with minor diseases, like the common cold. It is common remedy within the Mexican community. There are several articles/memes about how often it is used. The participated acknowledged understanding the context of it by laughing.

Although the participant takes these remedies, she also sees that they may only be helping her mentally–as a placebo affect. This is a way in which traditional/folk knowledge intersects with academic/scientific knowledge. What she has learned as a student in the United States, allows her to question the validity of these remedies.

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