Gale recalls a memory from her childhood when she was growing up in Houston, Texas. Her neighbors, who were from Vietnam, introduced her to folk medicine used in their culture.
G: “When we lived in Houston, our neighbors were from Vietnam, and the dad told us that in Vietnam they didn’t have any aspirins or medicines or anything, so if you got a fever, they would take a ginger root and cut part of it off, and then they would take the freshly cut part and rub it on the bottoms of your feet, and that would make your fever go down. When I heard that I was thinking, “Oh my gosh! What a bunch of Malarky this is, you know!”
“And so then later, I was reading an article. It was talking about how porous the palms of our hands are and the bottoms of our feet. It was saying that stuff will get through it, and so this article was saying that if you cut an onion and rubbed, you know, the freshly cut part on the palms of your hand, within just a little bit you’ll taste onion on your tongue. And so I was like,” Oh! that reminds me of rubbing the ginger root on your foot!” And then later, I was reading this article about natural remedies, and it was saying that ginger root would reduce your fever. Yeah, and so then I decided, well that probably wasn’t malarky after all. That was, you know, folklore that was really true.”
Although I had an idea that the surfaces of our feet and palms on our hands were naturally more sensitive to touch, I actually didn’t know they were considered porous. It seems strange to me that we can rub a substance on our palms and perhaps later taste that same substance in our mouths. I thought this story was interesting because it tells of a natural, folk remedy apart of the Vietnamese culture. This idea that ginger root can cure fevers is vastly different from American solutions. In America, we don’t seem to have a many unusual remedies. Maybe this is due to our economic stability that has allowed for advanced medicine in the United States that doesn’t require Americans to find alternative therapies for illnesses. Although some certain remedies may seem bizarre or uncommon, they become popular over time, being passed down from generations on because of their effectiveness on patients. I think it is also important to note one of the reasons that many minority groups turn to “natural” remedies is because of a lack of access to health care services in their environment in the first place. For more information on ginger spice as a cure for common illnesses, see
“Ginger to Cure Many Diseases.” – SPICES VIETNAM. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.