Folk Medicine – Belize

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Belizean-American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Deerfield, IL
Date of Performance/Collection: April 26, 2008
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Limes for Body Odor

“In order to get rid of armpit body odor, you use warmed lime juice. Take a lime, cut it in half, heat it up face down in a frying pan until it sizzles. When the face of the lime has browned a little, rub it under your armpits, then shower, and it gets rid of unpleasant body odor.”

Subject’s Analysis:

Suzanne dictated this entry to me with a straight face. She told me very calmly that this was a serious folk remedy for removal of body odor. She noted that this was specifically the type of body odor that was not easily removed by deodorant, or simple showering. She suggested that by taking this lime and applying it, you could eradicate strong body odor. This was a Belizean remedy that she learned during her childhood, at age 10 or 11. She was taught this process by her mother.  She said that she has tried it and it has worked.

Collector’s Analysis:

I think that this folk remedy sounds very reasonable. I believe that this remedy might work. However, what makes it folk medicine is that this claim has yet to be scientifically proven even though it is confirmed by some who have tried it. What makes this method even more believable is the fact that lime scented cleaners are commonplace in the world today, suggesting that somewhere along the line the power of lime to neutralize odors was revealed as a truth. This is also feasible because if the fact that limes have a strong fresh scent that would be able to mask body odor if not eliminate it,, when paired with a good shower.

What makes this claim unbelievable is that in order for the remedy to work, the subject must take a shower after using the lime to get rid of the body odor. So this brings into question whether the lime has any effect at all or if the shower is the determining factor of the treatment.