Interviewer: Do you have any homemade remedies for illnesses or conditions that you learned from someone else?
Informant: When I would get really sick from menstruating, like really bad pain, my grandmother would get a brick and wet it with alcohol and light it. So the brick would get really hot and then she would wrap it with a cloth and keep the warm bring on my stomach.
Interviewer: With the alcohol still on it?
Informant: No, the alcohol would evaporate and the heat would stay.
Interviewer: So it was like a heating pad?
Informant: Yeah! We didn’t have a heating pad so we did what we could. And I would get headaches with my periods so she would get some herbs, I don’t remember what kind, and put them in alcohol and then tie them around my head and have me lay down. Eventually the pain would go away.
Interviewer: Did all the people or families around you do these remedies?
Informant: Well we were far away from doctors and we only went to the city on special occasions so if you didn’t know something that could help, most likely someone else on one of the nearby ranches knew something and would come over and help.
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: This piece almost exemplifies the beginning of westernized medicine because of the things that are used to cure or rectify ailments that still affect people today. But also the power of contact and the use of remedies that don’t actually involve putting more things into the body but rather just leaving them in contact with the body to alleviate symptoms.