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The unparalleled remedies of grandmothers

In Santa Fe, grandmothers had remedies and healing methods that were infallible. Memories of a time of home health.


When we adult Santafesinos were boys,  few things really merited being taken to the doctor . It had to be something serious, or surgical intervention. For everything else, there were grandmothers' remedies. The interior of Santa Fe, and the Argentine in general, has a long tradition of  curanderism . It's more than just “magic.” It is folk wisdom applied to health. Let's agree that, historically,  the best pharmacy was always nature. 

With arrival of winter, the first colds, cough, fever also come. But also came the immediate action of the elderly putting in the campaign to heal us, with those special care and home remedies that  helped us  cope with the disease.  winter. 

The first step was to take our body temperature, with the mercury thermometer that was placed in our armpit to find out if we had a fever. The classic aspirin and  a hot tea with lots of lemon and bed , covered with many blankets, to perspire all night. The next day we were given a good bath with warm water that relieved us, leaving us like new. A good breakfast and the classic vegetable soup, which we had so hard to drink.

But it was not only the treatment of colds was the specialty of grandmothers. Cure the empacho, throw out the cuerito, take the temperature, remove the evil eye, better known in Santa Fe as “peeadura”.  All these arts were part of family medicine from before. 

We leave you a review of some of these practices, many of them, forgotten.

 Santafesin folk medicine 

  • Another way to lower the fever was to place hot bricks at the foot of the bed. Yeah, yeah. Hot bricks! It didn't fail.
  • To “take off the cold” from the respiratory system there was a complex system of suction cups that were placed on the back.
  • Nebulizations with steam from a saucepan with salt or eucalyptus were  best to decongest. 
  • If the cold came and you wanted to prevent the cold, there was a particular system. With a hook pin, a  camphor  sachet was attached to the shirt. I had to make contact with the body.
  • For parasites of the digestive system, fasting squash seeds.
  •  For sore throat , gargle with hot water and baking soda or salt.
  • For cough syrup, or a glass of hot water with lemon and honey to relieve.
  • The Vick Vaporub, ideal for nasal congestion and they also rubbed us into the chest.
  • Ice was best to  relieve bumps wounds and other blows. 
  • Quince and yogurt was used to cut diarrhea.
  • A secret formula was recited, at the rate that the empacho was measured with a tape measure. In a few hours it was cured.
  • It was very common  to get your tonsils  removed (this was done in a sanatorium, ha!). Then you had to go get an ice cream.

Grandmothers knew better than anyone else how to prevent or cure everyday diseases. Tell us, what do you remember about home medicine from your  childhood ?

Publication Date: 04/08/2020

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