Abstract: Vapuru, also known as Vaseline is the first line of defense whenever someone has a sore throat or a stuffy nose. This petroleum jelly frequently came up in J’s household as a kid especially since he grew up with allergies. His parents always rubbed the jell on his nose when it was stuffy or his throat when he was coughing a lot or had a sore throat. This cream meant for skincare was exploited and used for many other uses that J claims work like a charm and always helped him out.
Background: JP is a Mexican America from Florida who takes pride in the traditions he’s received from his family as a child and continues to practice them with his children. He believes that his grandparents are the origin of this practice but also notes that a lot of Mexican families may share these same traditions and feels its part of the morals of a Hispanic household. This conversation came up while we were discussing what similarities we’ve experienced when we were younger.
P: Did your family ever use Vaseline for you as a child or even recently to help with your allergies or when you couldn’t sleep at night?
J: haha yes they did! I always had some issues with coughing or with a stuffy nose so my parents would just say a quick positive saying that basically means feel better today and then rubbed on the nose or on my neck and then I would feel the Vapuru warm-up and then my throat started to feel better. As I got older I learned up Vapuru to buy for myself and I found out the jelly is meant for skincare so it was awkward asking a pharmacist where the petroleum jelly is for curing nose congestion or a sore throat. I guess this magical medicine is only used in a Hispanic household (laughs).
This Vaseline/ Petroleum Jelly is a huge hit in Hispanic families as I also grew up using it when I was sick or had some sinus issues. J mentioned that this method has been around since his parents were young which shows its a growing tradition that’s been around as long as the petroleum jelly’s been produced. The jelly’s alluded powers are what seem to assist these conditions because it clearly wasn’t designed to relieve congestion or throat pain thus the real magic behind this item is the number of times it’s been said the jelly curies these symptoms. The petroleum jelly seems like a fluke but it symbolizes how a conventional item from a market can be turned into a powerful curing substance that’s influenced many Hispanic families.