Folk Medicine – Portuguese

“So, um, whenever you have a cold like on my dad’s side it’s like a Portuguese remedy where you cut carrots up into little pieces and then you add sugar to it. And then you let it sit and it gets soupy because you add a lot of sugar to it and then you’re supposed to like drink it or eat it. They call it carrot soup and its supposed to help. It’s gross though.

“I learned it from my father growing up. He’s Portuguese.

“I don’t think there’s any real reasoning behind it.

“When I was little my dad would always do that. He was like, ‘before we go see the doctor we’ll try the carrot soup.'”

The informant is a 20-year-old female of Mexican-American-Portuguese descent. Her father is of Portuguese heritage, while her mother is of Mexican descent. This item was learned from the paternal side of her family. The informant is currently a student in the Los Angeles area.

This folk remedy presents the use of carrots, which are typically regarded as healthy because they are vegetables. However, the informant did not have any strong belief in the validity of the cure. She regarded it as merely something her family did whether it was truly effective or not.

Potentially this can be seen as the value people place on health and vegetables, as well as an emphasis on attempts to solve one’s own illness without the aid of authorities like doctors. It shows the family’s desire to be a self-sufficient unit in curing its members’ illnesses through home-made remedies.