Home Remedies My Family Taught Me

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post does not represent a medical opinion and shall not be used to treat or diagnosed a medical condition. The home remedies presented in this post are remedies that the author has used to try to lessen some symptoms or illness. Do not disregard a professional’s medical opinion or delay in seeking medical advice because of anything you read here. In case of emergency, see a medical professional immediately or dial 911.

When my kids are sick I wish I could do something for them to ease their pain or cure their illness. I always take them to the doctor (in 2018, I think I went to the pediatrician at least once every month), but as a Latina I also have a series of home remedies that have helped my family.

Growing up, my parents used to give me honey with lemon when I had cough or a hoarse voice. Not long ago at a friend’s house, both of my kids fell while they were playing. After applying some ice, my friend shared with me a mint ointment that helped with swelling. This reminded me of the importance of natural home remedies pertaining to my culture.

For Cold and Cough Symptoms

When I started calling my mom, grandmothers, and aunts to compile these remedies, I realized we use a lot of remedies for coughs and colds, and many include honey as one of their main ingredients.

  • Honey with lemon for cough—This is one of the remedies my family and I use the most. Add two tablespoons of lemon to a tablespoon of honey in a hot cup of water. Stir well to dissolve the honey and drink warm. Some people avoid drinking the tea and only take a tablespoon of honey with lemon.
  • Purple onion tea for cough with phlegm—Chop a purple onion into pieces and bring to boil in a quart of water. Let it rest; add the juice of one lemon, and sweeten with honey or natural brown sugar.
  • Oregano tea for cough and bronchitis—Place a handful of oregano leaves in a quart of boiling water. Let boil for three minutes and remove from heat. Wait five minutes and use a strainer to remove the leaves. You can sweeten with some honey before drinking.
  • Garlic and cinnamon tea for the symptoms of cold—Boil two cups of water. Once boiling, add two cloves of garlic and a cinnamon bark or a tablespoon of cinnamon powder and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and use a colander before drinking. Drink warm.
  • Ginger tea with lemon and honey for the cough with phlegm—Simmer a cup of water and half-inch piece of ginger for five minutes. Remove from heat. Add honey and lemon before drinking.
  • Vicks Ointment—There are many memes of Latin moms using Vicks, and it’s because we do use it for everything. I learned through my family that putting some ointment on the chest, back, and/or feet can help with congestion.
  • Chicken fat—This is one of the strangest remedies I have come across, but my father told me my grandmother used to melt a tablespoon of chicken fat until it had the same consistency of oil. After letting it cool, she smeared it on the chest and back to act as a decongestant. Although I don’t see myself using this remedy, I find it interesting how we basically can use anything for home remedies.

For Stomachache

  • Chamomile tea—This is a remedy my mom and several of my aunts recommended. Chamomile tea is an easy and fast solution to help reduce inflammation and eliminate gases that produce a stomachache. It can also help with indigestion or colic symptoms.
  • Spearmint infusion—Boil four cups of water and add 10 clean leaves of spearmint. Let boil for two minutes. Cover and remove from heat; let stand for 10 minutes. Use a strainer to remove the leaves. You can drink it warm, put in the fridge, or add ice to drink cold.

For Small Injuries, Wounds, and/or Muscular Pain

  • Ice—The first option that many of us apply, ice can help to reduce swelling and bruising.
  • Mint ointment or arnica gel—These topical analgesics are really common, and you can find them in pharmacies or even on Amazon. Recently, my friend provided a sample of mint ointment, and I can testify that it really helped reduced swelling.
  • Aloe vera (sabila) with raw honey—My maternal grandfather was diabetic, and his wounds took a long time to heal. One of my aunts told me how this remedy helped his body to recover: they first cleaned the wound, applied some raw honey, and thereafter covered the wound with a piece of aloe vera (sabila) before bandaging it.
  • Rosemary leaves with alcohol (Rosemary Alcohol) to alleviate muscle pain—external use only. In a sterilized container, mix half a cup of rosemary leaves with one cup of rubbing alcohol. Close the container and leave it in a dark place for 15 days, shaking the mix every day so that the rosemary releases its essence. After two weeks have passed, filter the alcohol and put it in a dark container to use when needed. Rosemary Alcohol is also sold in naturist pharmacies in Mexico and should not be used on pregnant women or people who suffer epilepsy.
Born and raised in the north part of Mexico, Aidée is a mom of two boys who considers San Antonio a great place to raise kids, even though all her family lives on the other side of the border. She speaks only Español at home and tries to teach her boys about their heritage, learning as well about American traditions and having fun adapting to both cultures. Favorite Restaurant: Palenque Grill Favorite Landmark: Mission San Jose Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Rodeo


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