Informant: My informant is my Mexican mom, who grew up in Puebla, Mexico. While she stayed with her mom for about 16 years, she learned many remedies to keep herself away from developing colds, and flu, and even erase bruises. My mom stated that the reason why she turns towards magical Vicks/mentolato is that she has a stronger belief in home remedies than in actual prescribed medicine.
Context: This conversation occurred when I asked my mom why she always brought extra Vaporu, when we already had some at home.
Main Text: “Cuando yo crecí mi mama siempre me dijo que cuando me sintiera mal que siempre tuviera un vaporub a la mano. Ella siempre me decía que esto era mágico y de lo mejor porque siempre ayudaba a mi mama con sus migrañas, moretones, y cuando tenía síntomas de algún resfriado. Lo que hacía mi mamá específicamente es que nos ponía un chingo de vapor en mis pies y me ponía calcetines. Y luego me ponía detrás de la espalda y enfrente del pecho. Para mantenerlo caliente entre medio de mi ropa me ponía papel. Al final antes que nos acostáramos a dormir nos ponía un poco alrededor de la nariz para que pudiéramos respirar mejor. Sabes, mi mama no solo me enseño a usar esto para resfriados pero también para la piel y infecciones. Si te pones poquito de esto en tu barro es más que seguro que se te quite al otro dia, Por ultimo, si te duele el oído lo que tienes que haces es agarrar un algodón, ponerle un poco de vaporub y ponerlo en oído.”
Translation: “Growing up my mom always told me that when I felt bad I should always have a vaporubby my side.. She always told me that this was magical and the best because it always helped my mom with her migraines, bruises, and when she had cold symptoms. What my mom did specifically is she put a lot of thi product on the sole of my feet and with socks on me. And then she would put some behind my back and in front of myst chest. To keep the warmth, my mom would put paper between my clothes. In the end, before we went to sleep, she put a little around our noses so that we could breathe better. You know, my mom taught me not only to use this for colds but also for the skin and infections. If you put a little of this on your pimples, it is more than certain that it would go away the next day. Finally, another use was for infection. If your ear hurts, what you had have to do was take a cotton ball, put a little VapoRub on it and put it in your ear.”
Analysis: It is interesting how this product, which was not initially created to be used for bruises, nor for infection has become a huge part of the Mexican culture. I believe it just showcases, how my mom and many other who use this product have become accustomed to use it and has become integrated so much into their health lifestyles. So much to the point that many rather than going to a doctor, now rely on VapoRub. I for one have no problem in relying in folk medicine, because I also have the belief that VapoRub fixes almost all. I myself, coming from a low-income family, rely on this product so much. Why? Because when a member gets sick, we pull out the VapoRub. VapoRub is efficient, cheap and lifesaver for many low-income families.