Tag Archives: home remedy

Steam Inhalation in Asian Medicinal Practices

Main Piece:

Informant: Essentially, it’s where you take a pot of water, and you put some herbs… Herbs mainly found in a lot of Asian stores or Asian medicinal stores, and you would boil it… And then you would take the pot, you set it on the ground, and then you either sit on the floor or take a stool…

Me: And, I think I know where you’re going with this: You take a blanket or some type of sheet, you put it over the pot and your own head, and you kinda lean your face down over the pot, right?

Informant: Mhm, yeah. And you just sit there for as long as you want. Usually like ten minutes. And just like steam with the herbs… I personally never used it before… but whenever I see our parents use it, they usually do this when they feel sick. So, it’s like an at home remedy.

Me: I would assume for sinuses, congestion… I have engaged in this type of facial steaming.


This was performed over FaceTime call with my older sister, a junior majoring in Kinesiology at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her and I are both in our respective bedrooms, and it is late at night. I asked her to speak about this steaming practice we had in our family.


This is very similar to other folk medicine practices, especially sauna rooms. Perhaps, this evolved from other steaming practices in America, Europe, and/or Japan. As opposed to a full body steaming, this is really just for the face. This concept may seem “foreign” to others outside of Asian countries, but this was actually a practice I was very familiar with. Therefore, I didn’t recognize it as folklore because I thought everybody did it. I started asking my roommates and my friends and was absolutely dumbfounded! This at home remedy for sinuses and congestion has become cross-generational amongst me and my family, and I can’t wait to share it with others.

Healing an ear infection or ear ache

Background: Informant, B.B is a mother of 3, she knows about this home remedy because of her mother.

Main Piece:

Interviewer:Are there any kind of home remedies that you took from your mom and used on your kids?

Informant B.B: Yes, a remedy my mom told me about when my kids kept getting ear infections was to dampen a cotton ball and stick it in their ear. Then I would grab a paper and roll it up thinly, kind of using it like a funnel and lit it on fire. It sounds crazy but it would always work

Interviewer: What was the purpose of lighting it on fire?

B.B: I think it would “suck up” the pain from the ear, I am not too sure how it works and did not believe it would work at first but to my surprise it did.

Context: My informant is a family member, when I asked her about any home remedies she knows about, this one instantly came to mind. She used it plenty of times, because of how effective it is.

Thoughts: This home remedy sounds a bit dangerous, because of the fire but I suppose the purpose of the paper is to act as a funnel and keep the fire away from direct contact with the ear so with a parent doing it, it should be safe. It is interesting how it sounds like a crazy remedy but actually works.

Running Faucets for Cramp Relief

Context: I came home one day at the beginning of this year to all of the faucets running and I asked my roommate what was going on and she told me this story. So I asked her to re-tell me why she does it.

Piece: So basically, I don’t know where my mom… well let me tell the long version of the story. So you know when you are you they tell you not to keep the water running when you brush your teeth? They’re like “turn off the faucet to save water!” Well I would always say that, and my mom always left the faucet running when she brushed her teeth and I would be like, “Mommy, you’re wasting water!” And she has always said, “I have to leave the faucet running or I’ll gag or like throw up.” And I never understood that until I started like, when I’m on my period or nauseous for any reason and so I turn the faucet on and leave the water running. It’s supposed to help you like feel like less nauseous. Something about the sound of running water can like ease nausea. I feel like it might have been something my mom got from my grandma. It sounds like something my grandma would do.

Background: The informant is a 19 year old USC student of Pakistani and Indian descent. She is very close to her family and shares many traditions and beliefs with them. She learned this from her mother and does it whenever she gets her period cramps.

Analysis: This tradition is something I have never heard of before. It is a sort of remedy/ homeopathic healing technique. It is often said that water sounds are soothing, but this is the first time I have heard them help with pain. I have heard of soaking in hot water to ease pain, but it is interesting that this piece refers to sounds, which tackles the mental state rather than the physical.