Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: April 24
Primary Language: English
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.
Nationality: Japanese American
Residence: Anaheim, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: March 12, 2012
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Japanese
“My mom always told me to eat bananas when I’m cramping”
My informant told me about this cure when I asked her for advice concerning my own menstrual cramps. She went further on to explain that when she was a young girl, she noticed that her mother was constantly buying bananas even though her mom hated the taste of bananas. One day, she finally asked her mom why she kept on buying bananas. she told my informant that her mother, my informant’s grandmother, had told her that the bananas help to remove cramps.
After hearing about this method from my informant, I actually ate a banana, and to my surprise, the cramping stopped. At first, I believed that this was possibly the result of the placebo effect since my friend had assured me it would work. However, after conducting research on the matter, it turns out that bananas contain a high amount of potassium, and potassium has been medically known to reduce muscle cramps. This case is a great example of folklore medicine finding scientific backing and turning into a form of published media.
Nationality: Mexican, American
Residence: San Diego, California
Date of Performance/Collection: 3.23.12
Primary Language: Spanish
Other Language(s): English
“When I was a teenager when my period start I always have a pain in my stomach and sometimes my mother warm a tortilla and she put a little bit of lard in the tortilla and make it warm and put it in the stomach to make it go away. You cover uh You put it on the stomach and you lie down for a while and its warm in your stomach. The lard keep your stomach warm.”
This menstrual cramp remedy is a folk remedy my informant learned at a young age in León, Guanajuato, México. It makes sense that folk remedy would be used considering the difficulty buying pain medicine in the impoverished conditions my informant grew up in. Lard and tortillas are basic to Mexican cooking, and heated together this way make for a home-made heating pad if you will, easing pain by relaxing overworked muscles in the lower abdomen.