Nationality: Arab American
Residence: Glendale, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 19, 2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Arabic
Form of Folklore: Folk Belief (Medicine)
Informant Bio: The informant was born and raised in Glendale, California. Most of the folklore he has been exposed to comes primarily from his father, who is of Arabic decent. Other folklore has been attained either through media sources (i.e. Reddit) or through personal life experiences in America.
Context: The interview was conducted on the porch of another informant’s house in the presence of two other informants.
Item: In Arabic culture, if you get a bump or a cyst or anything that creates a bump on your arm, one thing you can do is to get a large coin, put it on the bump and wrap up your wrist (or wherever the bump is) really tight. And this makes the bump go away.
Informant Comments: The informant’s father told his older brother to use this folk medicine to get rid of a bump he had on his wrist. After a day or so, the bump did, in fact, go away. The informant does not know if this folk medicine will always work, but based on what he has seen, it seems to work most of the time. Either way, he believes trying this remedy could not hurt.
Analysis: This folk belief (medicine) is common among Middle Eastern cultures. The act of placing a coin on a bump or cyst and tying it tightly may be construed as having an implied focus on the power of the coin to heal (possibly by some sort of magical aspect). On the contrary, the coin is of little essential importance; any flat hard object would suffice. It is, in fact, the constant pressure which helps the bump or cyst disappear. Not always, but most of the time, cysts will pop and bumps will become less inflated when pressure is applied to them. It seems that people had realized the correlation between placing pressure on a bump and having that bump go away; thus, they came to the plausible conclusion that they should place a large coin on the bump before tying it in order to increase pressure even more. This folk medicine is rooted in this rational progression. Whether it always works or not, it is a method of healing developed through logical thought and passed on from generation to generation.