Tag Archives: Laryngitis

Puerto Rican Folk Remedy for Laryngitis

A remedy for Laryngitis described verbatim by informant:

“A remedy from my Puerto Rican mother and it is using lamb fat, just lamb fat, put a little piece of lamb fat in a snifter, that is like brandy snifter and then you pour a little bit of brandy in it and you light it until it goes out, it burns up really all the fat and all the, pretty much all the alcohol. You have to do it at night right before you’re gonna go to bed, because you don’t want to speak after you drink it. You just go to bed, you wrap something around your neck to keep your neck warm, you drink it down like in shot, like you swig it, and the next day you always have you always have your voice completely back, your laryngitis is gone. I don’t know why, but it is. And it’s lamb fat—not bacon fat, not beef fat. Lamb fat, fat of the lamb.

I know in Puerto Rico in the 20’s and 30’s, in the Caribbean, there were not a lot of doctors usually, there was one doctor in the whole town, so there were a lot of remedies that were home remedies, herb remedies that people used. And it works! I love it because it works, and it’s from my mother. I love it because it’s Puerto Rican, it’s my mothers. I have used it with my own family, even when they were super little. Absolutely.”

I am not well versed in the science of how this remedy is effective, but my guess would be that since, as my informant said, people in Puerto Rico were often left to their own devices when they got sick, burning lamb fat in brandy is a pretty logical choice. The flambéed lamb fat might provide some soothing, coating quality to the throat while the alcohol or heated brandy probably provides some antiseptic quality. Doing this before bed makes sense because you don’t salivate in your sleep, so the medicine can “stay” in your throat and do its thing. Why it only works with lamb fat is not within my knowledge but my informants was insistent that that’s the only fat that works.