Home remedies

One of the more…um…interesting side effects of living with a Latino is his unusual approach to medicine. It may have something to do with the relative development of South American countries, or it could be something inherent to the Hispanic race, but my media naranja (better half), R, believes chickens will save the world.

You heard me. Chickens.

When we’re sick, a little caldo de pollo will cure all evils. Throw a chicken in a pot, boil until done, and take out the chicken. Drink the chicken juice. Manna from heaven, elixir of the Gods.

Our 10-month-old son is learning to walk. R (and, it should be mentioned, his mama- a whole other blog post, I assure you) is determined to massage his legs with egg white.  As far as I know, egg white is only useful if you’re planning on painting some Italian frescoes, making a meringue, or watching your weight. But no, he assures me, it will make the Prophet Isaiah’s legs strong. When asked about how, exactly, the egg white penetrates to the joints, I am answered with the Latino shrug. “No se. Pero funciona“. *

When racked with fever, the answer (of course!) is to rub a raw egg all over the body. If you check the egg afterwards, it will be hard boiled.

I kid you not- the chicken is the answer to the world’s problems.

I’m not sure what to do with all of this. Marital peace dictates some measure of acceptance and support of these cultural oddities, but I still live in terror of coming home one day to find my son drenched in egg whites and my kitchen bearing the signs of ovular chaos.

Ay, Chihuahua.

*I don’t know. But it works.

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21 Responses to Home remedies

  1. KathyB! says:

    Shall we send some chickens to Washington, then? I wasn’t knowledgeable about the healing power of poultry prior to this post, but I’m guessing it would require an awful lot of chickens…

  2. ink says:

    Maybe that’s the answer to the mystery of life question. Next time someone asks, we can just inform them: chickens!

    I am so glad that y’all figured that out. The pressure is off! 🙂

    But seriously, so glad that you are feeling better…

  3. antropologa says:

    My husband has some black tarry goop his grandfather in Sweden makes that he likes to put on all kinds of skin ailments.

  4. Gladys says:

    That sounds all too familiar….but I think my mom has stop the cycle of the egg/chicken myth…except for the Caldo de pollo when someone has the flu 🙂

  5. ck says:

    I don’t know, the idea of boiled chicken makes me feel sick…

  6. I got another one for you….Manteca de Ubre….seriously it’s this greasy smelly stuff that is supposed to be made to moisturize a cow’s udders…but supposedly it cures everything… leave it to us latinos….we use chicken, cows and cafe for everything….

  7. Lindsay says:

    My friend CK sent me a link to your blog…she knew I could relate! I am cracking up…my husband is Mexican and he and his family are the same way! He was REALLY bad at first with the weird home rememdy stuff too….chamomile apparently cures everything…and if you have a fever you sniff alcohol, pour it all over your body and wrap yourself in a tight blanket…..magic. My favorite superstition however was when I got the 3rd degree for cutting my child’s fingernails with a nail clipper…apparently in Latin America that causes children to grow up mute. Who knew I was putting my children in such grave danger!

    All else aside…I do have to give my mother in law some props…When i got explosive diareha while visiting their ity bity little town in Oaxaca…she picked some grass out of the yard and cured me with it…when in Rome…you know….however I much perfer Pepto or some tylenol flu.

  8. Adriana says:

    OMG Limon Partido – Ubre de Vaca!!!!

    Evenshine, I think it’s an overall Hispanic thing. My family hails from Cuba, so sopa de pollo cures a variety of ills including those “cold” related. My husband hails from Chile, they have cazuela de pollo.

    I’ve heard strange things in my life, but that thing with the egg white and the legs? No.Clue.

  9. minnesotameetskarnataka says:

    Sounds very messy.

    My husband sticks to his extra spicy tomato soup for colds and inhaling ginger in boiled water. Last night he told me proudly, “Smells just like Vicks, doesn’t it?”

  10. evenshine says:

    minnie- R actually uses eucalyptus that way. Fresh leaves, steam in water. And it IS just like Vicks!

  11. evenshine says:

    Lindsay- do you have a blog? Thanks for the comments!

  12. Johanne says:

    I have always believed that medicine isn’t restricted to how the west has defined it. In every culture, there is a different approach. But that approach doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just that, ‘different’ can seem weird and hard to fathom.

  13. myra36 says:

    I can somehow relate. My mom has told me about some weird customs that they had growing up like cutting girls’ lashes to make them grow longer and shaving kids’ heads on their first birthday to ensure thick hair. When we were sick we always got chicken soup. My parents are nurses but we hardly took medication or went to the doctor.

  14. faemom says:

    Ok, I think that’s weirder than my family. My grandma sprinkles bay EVERYWHERE because it “keeps away bugs.” I don’t have the heart to tell my Catholic grandma that it’s actually an ancient pagan thing to ward of evil.

  15. evenshine says:

    Poor grandma!

  16. limoncello says:

    This is not so much a remedy, but a superstitious warning my Salvadoran mother and grandmother always tell me: “Don’t eat watermelons during your period. It could kill you.” I don’t see the logic behind this..except that I’ll retain a lot of water. I also don’t know if this is common in Latin America or just something from my mother’s town. In the end, I ignore them…and I’m still alive. The cutting infants’ hair to have thicker regrowth is also common in my father’s Asian culture as well as my Latin mom’s. I also got my legs tied as a baby to prevent bowed legs. As for manteca de ubre, we received one from my Aunt in Puerto Rico…My Salvadoran mom never heard of it, but it seems to be diverse in its use…I use for muscle aches and to treat mosquito bites.

  17. Oh that was awesome,, that chicken can be a means of effective home remedy… Nice blog!!

  18. Lola says:

    Were can i get the manteca de ubre de vaca????

  19. Saura says:

    Manteca de ubre, my mother inlaw sends it to me from PR, I cold never find it in PA or NY for that matter (unless im looking in the wrong place). But yeah I am puerto rican and chicken is everything. I had a bad toe nail fungus on my large toe, It was yellow and flacky and i could never get it to go away no matter what i did. My mother in law told me to use the manteca de ubre and in a month it was alot better, now it looks like a “normal toe nail”. I still put it on after showers just in case, (know that was nasty but had to share). You have to love remedies from different cultures!

  20. Jose says:

    You can buy manteca de ubre at a botanica

  21. louis says:


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