Folk Medicine – Transylvania

“Ocean and Sea water have special healing and curative powers.”

Philip informed me that he learned this folk remedy from his grandfather Adolph Katz, who was born and raised in the mountains of Transylvania, what is present day Rumania.  Perhaps it was because Pop (as Philip referred to him) was born in the mountains, he believed that the oceans and seas (he was familiar with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean especially) had mystical curative powers.  Philip used to travel with him every morning and they would walk along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at Jones Beach, and Adolph would make sure that Philip’s feet were in the water.  He would also make sure that Philip scooped ocean water into his hands and “snorted” it up his nose—especially if he had any type of cold or cough.  Through Adolph’s eyes, this was sure to clean out the throat and nasal passageway.
This is a great example of a folk remedy because there has been no proven scientific research that seawater or ocean water can cure individuals of their illnesses.  However, through what his family and members of his community in Transylvania told and showed him, snorting such water was an assured way to be cured through the eyes of Adolph Katz.  It is a form of folk medicine both because it is only believed to be true and because it isn’t written anywhere in any popular medical publications, but has been passed down through word of mouth.