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.
- 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.