SM is a 20 year old environmental studies major at USC. She grew up in Dallas, Texas. Although her family took to modern medicine, dabbling in home remedies wasn’t uncommon.
“If I had any sort of stomach problem as a child, my dad would make me drink ginger ale and eat saltine crackers because it would cure my nausea. I can’t get over that nauseous feeling without living off of ginger ale and saltine crackers anymore.”
Folk medicine is actually a really strong type of folklore. Although the remedies don’t always work, they have been around for hundreds of years and have implemented themselves into everyday practices. SM, like many other Americans, were told to drink ginger ale or eat saltine crackers when they felt nauseous because it would help soothe their stomach. In a way, folk medicine “works” because it evokes the placebo effect. When someone truly believes they are getting better because they did something, even though it actually has zero effect on them, that’s the placebo effect. SM’s brain tricked her into believing that one of the only remedies for her stomach ache was to drink ginger ale and saltine crackers, even though that is medically proven to help.