A homemade laxative

Background on informant: Informant is a senior at USC, studying communications. She was born and raised in Dubai and plans to move there after graduation. Her father went to school in the United States, as did her sister.

Informant: This is a home remedy for whenever someone is having stomach problems, constipated. It’s an herbal remedy every UAE grandmother and mother swear by. It pretty much tastes nasty and is kind of like a tea sort of situation. We just drink that nasty thing and it makes your digestive system go crazy. It’s kind of like a laxative. I’ve never taken it but I’ve heard my friends complain about it. “My is making me drink this. It’s the worst.” It’s like an herbal tea but it activates your digestive system. I think it’s mostly an Arab region thing. Informant was not sure of the exact ingredients for the remedy but had heard about it as an effective but aesthetically displeasing remedy.

 Analysis:It is interesting that the informant has such an evocative memory for the folk remedy, given the fact that she never once took it and that she doesn’t remember its contents or its name. This suggests that the folklore transcends any label given to it. It exists as its performance and it exists in her memory. This, to me, was the most interesting aspect of this particular piece of folklore — that it mattered more what the folklore did than its ingredients and its name. It suggests, perhaps, that it can be made with different ingredients and as long as it still has the desired effect, be more or less the same piece of folklore.