Remedios Caseros: Sharing Knowledge

We are not health professionals nor skincare specialists and in no way encourage the reader to abruptly replace other medicine they may be taking. Readers should be aware of any allergies and interactions of any medicine they may be taking. We are not accountable for the misuse of these recommendations. We are immigrant women of color passing down bits of  knowledge from the mujeres that raised us, taught us, and often cured us.

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PARA LA GRIPE: Sore Throat, Cough, Colds


Lime, honey and whiskey can be used in a variety of mixtures as remedies for colds. For nasal congestion or mocos, add honey and lime juice to a glass of boiled water, you can even add some coconut oil to it. Coughing can be relieved with a shot of whiskey and honey. Add lime juice as you will. If you would rather not drink any alcohol, the menthol in eucalyptus and peppermint can also alleviate the throat. Some drops of edible eucalyptus and/or peppermint essential oil mixed with coconut oil will do the trick.

Salt can also do wonders for those feeling the flu. Try salt water gargles if you want to reduce coughing. If you want to get it over with, mix a pinch of salt with a spoonful of honey, swallow in one gulp.Garlic is another powerful medicinal food, you can eat some of it on toast to cure a sore throat. The toast is for nothing other than flavor because the garlic on its own has potent antioxidants and antibiotic properties.

Eating raw garlic can even help alleviate asthma. You can make garlic milk by peeling and crushing 8 raw garlic cloves and boil them with some milk. Cajun is also potent on its own. Try some drops under your tongue or diluted in tea.

Do Tara tea gargles to cure sore throats and swollen tonsils. Tara is a quechua word, and it is referred as “spiny holdback” in English. Boil 4 pods with a cup of water until the water becomes red. Let it cool before straining and use for gargles. Tara tea is also great for washing wounds, controlling fevers, and relieving stomach aches.

If your coughing is out of hand, try the following: iron some sheets of newspaper and place them directly to your bare chest. You will feel the sheets of paper absorb the cold in your body immediately. Newspaper will also come in handy for ear aches. Roll some newspaper sheets into a cone, insert the pointed tip into the outer ear, slowly burn the other side. Be careful. A dirtier but possibly safer method is to replace the newspaper cone with a cigarette; insert the filter in the outer ear, light the cigarette, and let it burn for about a minute.

To fight a fever you can mix one part rubbing alcohol to one part warm water and pour it over your head. Wrap a dry towel around your head to absorb and hold in the moisture. You can also soak rags in this mixture and place them under both arms to control the fever.


PARA LA PANZA: Stomach Aches, Intestinal Problems

To treat diarrhea boil two garlic cloves, minced and peeled, and add brown sugar for flavor. If you cannot handle the garlic you can iron (or microwave) some newspaper, place it over your stomach, and cover it with your clothes. You can do this several times but for no longer than 40 minutes.

Empachos (indigestion) can be relieved with a tablespoon of oil mixed with the juice of half a lime sprinkled with some salt. Agua de oregano or oregano tea will also help cure indigestion. Oregano can help with many intestinal problems. To make agua de oregano: mix two parts water, one and a quarter parts oregano, add sufficient salt for flavor and bring to a boil. Anise tea also helps to control and ease bloating and gas.

For vertigo or other motion sickness try sucking or chewing on the bottom of a match. You can also keep a slice of lemon close to your nose; it is much cleaner than smelling isopropyl alcohol.

If you know you have tapeworm sit on top of a pot of warm milk until it comes out.


PARA EL CUTIS: Skincare, Zits, Burns

Always have a leaf or two of aloe vera at home, it keeps well in the fridge and has multiple uses. Consider getting your own aloe vera plant, it works magic on many levels; it is great to treat acne prone skin, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, dryness, rashes, scars, and also works for wrinkle prevention. Cut a piece off the aloe vera leaf, slice it open, and spread the gel over your entire face. Leave on for as long as you wish, even overnight.

Aloe vera usage is not exclusive to the skin on your face, you can also apply it on sunburns on any part of your body. In addition to aloe, thinly sliced tomatoes also help relieve sunburns. For any type of burn, try immediately dipping the burnt area in Pisco. This method usually works best for fingers.

Apply lemon or salt to cuts for faster healing and a chemical-free wound cleansing.

Llanten, yanten, or broadleaf plantain has potent anti inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling on any part of the body. Submerge llanten leaves in hot water and then apply them on swollen area over several days to reduce the swelling. You can secure the leaves with a cloth.

Another treatment that promotes clean skin is frozen rosemary water; simply boil some rosemary leaves and freeze the water in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, rub the rosemary ice cubes on your face. You can do this several times a week. You can also prevent pimples by rubbing a clove of garlic on the area where you feel the zit growing, leave it on for several minutes to allow the garlic juices to work their magic. If the pimple is already grown, the garlic will make it dry faster. Applying a warm chamomile tea bag repeatedly until to the pimple starts draining pus by itself is another way to get rid of zits and styes.

Forget microbeads and other synthetic exfoliants that are bad for the environment, you more than likely already have the ingredients for a natural exfoliator in your home. Two equal parts of sugar and salt mixed with one part coconut oil can be used to exfoliate your body. You can also use ground coffee to exfoliate your legs and lessen the look of cellulite. If you want to use less synthetic makeup, consider replacing blush and even lipstick with beets. And instead of using lotion with fragrance and other chemicals, try virgin unrefined coconut oil as a skin moisturizer.


PARA LOS PELOS: Healthy Hair

Avocado and coconut oil can make for a great hair mask to promote rapid growth. Mix one full avocado with some coconut oil, put all over your hair, and let rest for 30 minutes. If you cannot wait for longer hair try applying the following hair mask daily: put aloe vera juice mixed with grape juice (no sugar)  in a bottle and let sit for 3 days. The most basic habit for healthy hair is to wash it with cold water, or at least not letting hot water run on it for too long.

In case of lice, boil some eucalyptus leaves and a head of garlic in a liter of water. Once cooled, apply to the roots first and then the ends. Use a shower cap or plastic bag and let sit through the night. You can add some tea tree essential oil drops as well.

The full moon will work wonders for your hair if you let it. Simply brushing your hair under the full moon and letting it absorb the moonlight will make it grow faster. You can also leave a clear jar of purified water under the full moon and wash your hair with it the next day. It can even be drank like regular water, or put into a spray bottle to spritz hair with it throughout the month.

Para los nervios, there are a couple of drinks that can treat anxiety. Chamomile tea with lemon and lavender will work well. Boiled ruda leaves will also work, let it sit some 5 to 10 minutes before straining. Orange blossom water will also alleviate anxiety. If you don’t feel like drinking anything try eating a warmed up tortilla with honey.

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