The Shot Cure

During the course of my folklore collection, I began to run a bit of a fever. When my informant noticed this, he told me, “Drink some warm soup and chase it with shots. Always cures my illnesses”. Intrigued by the odd nature of this remedy, I asked him to share his knowledge on “The Shot Cure”.

“While having a fever that lasts over three days and no other remedies have caused it to subdue, it is time to pull out the Tequila bottle, take shots. The liquor works like natural selection. It kills all the weak cells and only the unaffected non-fever cells remain.”

My informant learned this remedy a year ago “from a respectable peer who has survived many prolonged fevers”. Though my informant himself was unsure of the legitimacy of the science behind the remedy, he claims it has worked like a charm for him before.



Like other folk cures that I am aware of, this cure has a psuedo-scientific explanation as to how it works. The explanation has elements that remind one of scientific truths or other folk beliefs they might have heard about, like alcohol killing cells and the biological concept of natural selection. If a person still has doubts as to how this cure might work, it has an element of familiarity in the inclusion of warm soup, which is often associated with recovery from illness. While the potentially reckless consumption of alcohol that is suggested by this cure might still arouse suspicion in some, there are enough practical elements to it to make the cure believable to those who do not think about it too much.

What makes this folk remedy so interesting, however, is the inclusion of alcohol. Considering that my informant is a college student and learned it from another college student, the inclusion of alcohol in the cure definitely holds a mark of American college party culture. Alcohol plays a large part in parties and gatherings that college-aged kids partake in in America, and any excuse to imbibe in drinking is seen as socially positive, a way to take part in the larger popular culture. With this cure, the mentality for believing in it might also come from ideas of what is socially “cool” or popular, and gives even a person a chance to take part in the social majority even while sick in bed. It acts as a small reassurance of one’s identity, which could boost one’s mood and, in the end, play a big part in one’s recovery.