Tag Archives: cures

Home remedy for hiccups by drinking a glass of water covered by a napkin

Main Piece:

Informant: Basically, you get a full cup of water, and you put a paper towel over the top of the cup. It has to be thick, so like a paper towel or a napkin. And then you have to drink through the paper towel, ten gulps without breathing. Like, big gulps too. 

Interviewer: Has it worked for you?

Informant: Mhmm, it has. It didn’t work last Friday though, but it usually works haha. 

Interviewer: Where did you learn it from? 

Informant: My mom, she always has us do it if we are hiccuping around her.

Interviewer: Do you know where your Mom learned it from?

Informant: I wanna say my grandma, my grandma has told me to do the same thing before so it was probably her. 

Background

My informant is a good friend and housemate of mine from USC and is a senior at the University of Southern California majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with a minor in Health Care Studies from San Dimas, CA. She says that a lot of her mannerisms and sayings come from growing up in San Dimas which she describes as being a very small town outside of Los Angeles that feels more midwest than the West coast. She attended summer camps throughout most of her life, starting as a camper and becoming a counselor in high school. 

Context

At a birthday celebration out house threw for my informant, she drank some alcoholic beverages and got the hiccups as a result. When I offered her my advice, she told me not to worry and that she had a trick to remedy the cure that was passed down in her family. She went upstairs to her kitchen with me, and I saw her drink the water from the cup. During our interview, I brought it up and she discussed it further with me. 

Analysis

From experience with my family and interacting with friends from back home, hiccup remedies differ from family to family and cultures. Essentially, all hiccup cures aim to do the same thing by controlling the diaphragm to stop it from producing hiccups. Usually, these are different methods of breath control, and drinking a glass of water without stopping is a good way to control breathing. Doing more research, I found this method also listed in the following article listed as number 6.

The article explains this method as a combination of breath control and the fact that “you’ll have to ‘pull’ even harder with your diaphragm to suck up the water.”

Russell, Elaine, and Reader’s Digest Editors. “How to Get Rid of Hiccups: 18 Home Remedies \That Actually Work.” Reader’s Digest, www.readersdigest.ca/health/conditions/7-ways-get-rid-hiccups/.

Curing “deadly” Colombian hiccups

Juliana remembered that if you get hiccups,  you should place a small piece of wet paper between your eyebrows in the middle of your forehead to stop the hiccups. She has no idea why but it will usually do the trick. However, if that does not work, then you are supposed to place the wet piece of paper inside on the roof of your mouth. If that fails, then get some “panela” (harden brown sugar) shave it into a thimble of hot brandy, lie on the bed with your head hanging off the bed, drinking it upside down. If all of that fails, then you run the risk of dying because she knows someone who had the hiccups for one week and died in their sleep. Spooky. I asked the other Colombians there at Easter dinner about the hiccups and they had a few other variations but all claimed to know someone different who had died of the hiccups. Colombians take hiccups seriously and will be on you to take measure to stop the hiccups as fast as possible because you can die.  They say that chewing your food slowly and eating slow is the key to not getting hiccups. Colombians already take their time eating on average twice to three times longer than most Americans. They seem to think that this was common knowledge and warned me against my ignorance because they did not want me to  die.

Analysis: Did not know hiccups were so dangerous. It is something most people will experience and an annoying nuisance and maybe because it is so common out of coincidence someone may die while having hiccups. But I have never heard of anyone in the US dying of hiccups and American mow their food at high velocity. Colombian eat much slower and yet it seems like everyone had heard of someone who has died of it in Colombia. I did Google it and someone on Grey’s Anatomy (TV show) died who had prolonged hiccups but her death was the result of infection from surgery to correct the acid reflux that was aggravating the hiccups. Also, we are talking about a fictional character.

Chuchupate Cures Everything

The informant is an 18-year-old biomedical engineering student at the University of Southern California. She is currently a freshman and grew up in Shafter, California. Shafter is about 2 hours away from Los Angeles by car. She is not particularly religious but described herself as spiritual. She was born in America, but some of the older members of her family were not.

I asked the informant if she had any remedies for aches or pains. She immediately told me of a remedy that her grandmother uses. Her grandmother is Mexican. The informant says that her grandmother uses a liquid called chuchupate to cure everything “like Windex in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie.” She gave several examples of when her grandmother would use chuchupate, including bruises and sprained ankles. Her father had broken his arm when he was younger and applying chuchupate apparently sped up the healing process. Unlike Windex in the movie, chuchupate is made to cure things and does not have another primary use, at least in the eyes of her family. The informant did not seem entirely convinced that the chuchupate actually did anything, but she did not think it did any harm and was subject to her grandmother applying it several times throughout her life. I inquired as to where the chuchupate was acquired and she said that her grandmother goes to Mexico to have the chuchupate liquid made for her at a medicine shop. I asked if she could get it in the United States but just chose to go to Mexico to get it, but my informant says that the compound is not available in the United States.

A quick Google search after I talked to the informant revealed that chuchupate has several other common names, including osha and bear root. In addition to the treatment of injuries as listed by the informant, the root is apparently used for curing viral and bacterial issues like sore throats and bronchitis, though not by Western doctors. I believe some of the healing power of chuchupate is in the belief that it will help. I found it interesting that my informant only listed chuchupate as beneficial to injuries, while the first few search results focused almost entirely on its use for various types of infections.  Additionally, chuchupate grows readily in the United States so theoretically it is available in the US, but perhaps just not in a suitable form made in a medicine shop.