Tea Home Remedy (Folk Medicine)

My informant is Olivia. Olivia is a 19-year-old freshman at USC from Palos Verdes, California. She is of Irish and Italian descent and lived in New Jersey for a small amount of time growing up.


So what is this home remedy you were talking about?

Olivia: “So when I have a cough, or a sore throat or like I’m congested, my mom boils bourbon then puts water, honey, lemon, and I think that’s it and she makes a tea type deal”

Where did she get this?

Olivia: “She heard that from her grandpa who got that from his dad who is from Italy”

So it originated in Italy?

Olivia: “Yeah”

And your family has been doing that this whole time?

Olivia: “Yep and my cousins do it and everything”

Does it work?

Olivia: “For me yeah. I had it a few months ago and it was great, it’s soothing”

Does it have any meaning to you?

Olivia: “Umm no, just a remedy, maybe tradition. I think of my grandpa when I drink it because I would never think to give my kids alcohol”


Olivia’s folklore was folk medicine that had been passed down in her family for generations and originated in Italy. It’s cool to be able to track where these remedies and folklore come from when people are able to continue performing the folklore even when they move from it’s birthing place. To Olivia it is just a drink her grandpa made to help sooth a sore throat but she carries on this folklore by making and drinking the remedy and in turn telling me.