USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Homemade remedies’
Folk medicine

Spoonful of Honey Folk Medicine

The informant is marked EL. I am marked CS. She shared with me a few forms of folk medicine practices she has learned over the years over coffee.

 

EL: “Yeah, so…my mom is super into homeopathic remedies and there’s a couple of weird ones that like, supposedly relieve colds.”

CS: “Great, can you tell me a few?”

EL: “So the first one I’m always told is to always take a spoonful of honey in the winter time. I get really bad allergies, and I guess the spoonful of local honey allegedly has some of the pollen we breathe in during allergy season. So, when you take a spoonful of it, it kind of counteracts the allergies, like another method to getting an allergy shot. Not sure if it works, but I do it so often, I’m not sure if I’d even notice the difference. Can’t hurt though, right?”

CS: “Absolutely. How long have you been doing it for?”

EL: “God, it’s been forever. Probably since, like, elementary school I wanna say?”

CS: Is your entire family into homeopathic and folk remedies?”

EL: “Oh yeah, my grandmother is also super into it. She’s the one who hooked my mom. I swear it’s like a never ending tradition in our family.”

 

Context:

We met for coffee to record her different encounters with folk medicine and remedies.

Background:

EL is a first year student at The University of Southern California. She was raised in Dallas, Texas.

Analysis:

I found this remedy to be quite interesting because I had never heard of it, and my mom is also interested in many homeopathic remedies and folk medicine so I know quite a few. This one is also a remedy I could use myself, and I think is a remedy that many people could try without any potential harm. It seems to be one of those “it doesn’t hurt to try” forms of medicine.

Folk medicine
Homeopathic

Onion Sleep Remedy

The informant is marked EL. I am CS. She shared with me a few forms of folk medicine she has learned over the years.

 

EL: “There’s this other remedy too I always used to tell my friends about. Obviously in like high school everyone always has a hard time falling asleep, so my mom always made me put onions in a jar to help aid sleep deprivation.”

CS: “Interesting, where did you put the onions?”

EL: “We’d cut them up and put them in a jar and leave the jar on the nightstand. If you still can’t sleep in the middle of the night you are supposed to open the jar and breathe in the scent of the onions. Not exactly sure what it really does it help you sleep, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to try, right?”

CS: “Right. How long have you been doing it for?”

EL: “Probably from like late elementary school to high school. Obviously I’m too lazy to do it every time I have a hard time sleeping. That’d just be a waste. But here and again I do it and I still am not sure if it really works.”

 

Context:

Met for coffee to record her different encounters with folk medicine and remedies.

 

Background:

EL is a first year student at The University of Southern California. She was raised in Dallas, Texas.

 

Analysis:

This remedy was fascinating to me because I can’t possibly understand how it works, but it makes me even more curious to try it. It seems to be such a bizarre form of folk medicine that I can’t help but wonder its origins and subsequently if there are other variations to this so-called “sleep aid.” It would be interesting to see this remedy’s specific origin and if it is linked at all to heritage or particular cultures.

general

Energy Drink Recipe

Informant: My informant, L.K., is 19 and was born in New York but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia from age 5 to 18. L.K. father is working for a tourist agency and part time water polo referee and his mom is a financial manager for a restaurant in Croatia. He has a younger brother and sister with his family being fully Croatian, but has integrated small values from his time in the United States.

Folklore: “The recipe for a homemade energy drink containing:

Spinach

Apple

Lemon juice

Half of a banana

Pineapple

Ginger

Parsley

Plant based powder (bought at local store in Croatia).”

When L.K. reached high school and was still playing water polo, he always seemed to be feeling more tired than when he was younger. School became a lot harder and he was forced to give more effort than he had in the past to try and keep his grades up. He told his dad his situation and told him about the family recipe that his parents had taught him for a homemade energy drink. Every morning he would make the exact same smoothie and he felt that like he was getting his energy back. He still uses the same recipe every day, but he now he has to substitute the plant based powder only found in Croatia with kale and spinach.

Analysis: I like hearing about healthier recipes like this because I do believe that recipes that are natural always seem to work better than ones put out by companies. The plant based powder is a Croatian product that is similar to a powder that is found in the United States but L.K. and his family still has the powder shipped from their town in Croatia. L.K. family is reluctant to change their family recipe and would rather spend the extra money that try something new.

general

Upset Stomach Remedy

Informant: My informant, G.L., is 19 and was born and raised in West Lake Village. G.L. parents both run their own company together. She has one older brother and her family is mainly Italian but is completely Americanized.

Folklore: “The ingredients and instructions to cure a stomach ache for a baby or small child was taught to me by my mom. When a baby has an upset stomach, you boil water and when it reaches boiling temperature you mix in fresh mint in the water. You’re supposed to let it keep boiling for ten to fifteen minutes and then let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled down, you put the mixture in a baby bottle and feed it to the baby and it’s supposed to settle the baby’s stomach.” G.L. learned this recipe from her mom when she decided to start babysitting when she was in middle school. Her mom wouldn’t necessarily call it a family recipe, but more of common, natural cure she learned from her small town growing up. G.L. said she’s only need to use the cure once when she was babysitting and said it actually worked.

Analysis: I’ve never heard of this cure before, but when I asked my mom she said she used the exact same process when she was taking care of me when I was a baby. I tried to find the origin of the cure, but it seems to widespread now to try and track down it original origin. G.L. mom claims that her family has known this little trick for many generations now so it could possibly be Italian.

general

Chamomile Tea

Informant: My informant, G.L., is 19 and was born and raised in West Lake Village. G.L. parents both run their own company together. She has one older brother and her family is mainly Italian but is completely Americanized.

Folklore: “My grandma use to use this formula on my hair when I was younger to get it smooth and softer. She would boil water and make chamomile tea when I was taking a shower. After it cooled down she would place the tea in a large cup. At the end of your shower she would gradually poor the tea on my hair and let it soak in for 15 minutes. The tea was meant to enrich hair color and radiance and prevent dandruff.” G.L. was taught this from her grandma when she was really young but stopped doing it when she got older. G.L. cannot remember if the process worked when she was young, but she tried to do it once in high school and didn’t feel like it had much effect on her hair. Although, she did say the tea did make her hair smell pleasant for following couple of weeks.

Analysis: I can’t say that I’m too knowledgeable in homemade formulas for women’s hair, but I have never heard of this formula before. I did grow up with a twin sister and she told me she has never heard of doing this either. I think it’s interesting to see how this formula got started because it seems so random, but there are stories on the internet that say this formula works

[geolocation]