Fever and Stomach Pain Remedy

Interviewer: Do you have any homemade remedies for illnesses that you have learned or have been passed down to you?

Informant: When I was small and had problems with my tonsils, because we didn’t have money for doctors or medicines, my mother would roast tomatoes in a fry pan, just roast it a little to heat it.  And then she would get a cloth and put the tomatoes there and as warm as I could stand it she used to rub the cloth with the tomatoes in them over my stomach and on my feet.  And the temperature (fever) I had would go down and the pain would go away.  How? I don’t know. 

Interviewer: And you would feel better afterward?

Informant: Oh yeah. I don’t know how it worked because there was no medicine but I would feel a lot better afterward.

Interviewer: Was there anything else that you learned or your mother used to do?

Informant: Well a lot of time I had problem with my stomach and after the fever would go down, I would have pain. So my mother would give me one to two tablespoons of olive oil.  And that would clean my stomach out and the pain would go away.  It was hard because we didn’t have doctors or medicine and we would all get sick living out on the ranch.


Background: Alicia Juarez is the grandmother of the collector and grew up in Mexico City for a time and then outside the city on a small ranch with her father and step family.  She immigrated to the United Stated once she was older and has lived here ever since.  Some of the more useful remedies she still uses today, but also uses remedies in tandem with more westernized medicine.

Context: Interview took place during a weekend at home with family.  Alicia Juarez speaks both Spanish and English and choose to speak in English for the purposes of direct translation.  The context of these examples of folk medicine was the fact that whole communities has no easy access to westernized medicine and doctors and had to develop different ways of healing everyday ailments.

Analysis: It is interesting to see that even when groups of people are left with seemingly little or different resources, they manage to create things that benefit each other.  Also the things that western culture often take for granted are often improvised and can create the same effect or relief .