Thursday, February 2, 2012

Remedies from the Home Country

Last weekend, after bumping into my grandmother on a day that I dared not to wear a scarf and proceeded to get yelled at for 20 minutes, I got sick.  Note:  No matter how many times I claim my grandparents lack common sense and remember advice that gypsies gave them on the streets of Ukraine (true story), they somehow always end up being right. 

So I've been spending most of this week sniffly, with really bad jaw pain.  My mom told me to keep my jaw warm so I wrapped my face in a scarf and sat at work like this: 

At my desk at work.  Considering I work in a hell cave and
rarely have human interaction, the ability to speak is optional.
One of the best conversations I've had with my friends is about the bizarre remedies our immigrant mothers employ to cure our ailments.  

On Monday, my mother was making a salad while I passed by the kitchen.  I came up to taste some of it, and she said "Come here.  Smell this." and shoved an onion in my nose.  I smelled it, it stung like a bitch, and made me cry.  But according to her, "it will kill all germs in your nose." 

My list can go on and on, but my current favorite is the countless times I had bronchitis as a child (or any form of terrible cough) and my mother would put a sack of boiled potatoes on my chest when I went to sleep.  Yes.  A sack of potatoes.  In Soviet Russia, medicine takes you.  Basically, to keep your chest warm and break up your cough, people would boil potatoes, mash them a bit, and wrap them in cloth with a bit of oil.  Then they'd put them on your chest in a bag and have you sleep with it.  For all of my adventurous friends and/or those without health insurance, take note.  

In college I saw one of my best friends, the Kaizasaurus, who is from Colombia, heat up orange juice and honey with a melted Halls at the bottom of the glass.  I don't dare question it.  

And today, NibsnInk told me about one of her Chinese remedies that involved putting a large silver coin (any large silver coin will do, I had this clarified) in a hard boiled egg and rubbing it against any painful spot on your body.  Headache, stomachache, Back ache.. you name it.  Once you rub it, the coin is supposed to turn black and that means it worked.  

No matter what, though, my favorite thing to do when I'm sick is curl up in my PJs with a cup of tea.  Say what you will, modern medicine, but black tea cures every ailment on the face of this earth. 

What are your ancient home remedies for sicknesses?

-Beetle, xx.  


  1. I'm sure there are still plenty of old world remedies that work that Western medicine still doesn't understand, but I hate to say that I'm not quite a believer. Which isn't to say that I pop a pill for everything - quite the contrary - but there aren't many "home remedies" that I buy anymore. I usually go with - if it makes you feel better, then do it.

    1. Ha, I'm the exact opposite. With all of my mother's hippy homeopathic substances, I've come to actually like the idea of not pumping my body with chemicals.

      Watch me end up being a crazy nature lady when I grow up too. I think I'm okay with that.

      -Beetle, xx.

    2. But you are pumping your body with chemicals - just not the types produced in a lab.