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Five Latino Home Remedies You Should Be Familiar With

Photo courtesy of belatina.com

Editor’s note: before trying any home remedy, consult your family doctor.


Talking about home remedies without talking about my great-grandfather — Papayata, as we remember him at home — is virtually impossible. During the time when Colombia and Peru were at war (1932-1933), Papayata enlisted as a doctor in the Colombian army. He left with his wife and two small children for Leticia on the Amazonian border between the two countries.

Although she was only three or four years old, my grandmother still has memories of those days.

She remembers eating tomatoes straight from the plant my great-grandfather harvested on a piece of land taken from the jungle. She also remembers that her brother had a jar of the bullets that Papayata extracted from wounded soldiers.

The truth is that Papayata spent more time tending his tomatoes and eggplants than healing bullet wounds as more soldiers died from malnutrition and malaria than from shotguns.

However, there was a time when Papayata had to quit his work in the garden. It was when an Amazonian fungus got stuck in one of his shoulders and consumed part of his flesh. In an attempt to save him, more of the tissue had to be removed, leaving a hole that threatened to become badly infected from the humidity and heat.

Papayata’s solution was to scrape panela (unrefined whole cane sugar) on the shoulder and cover it. He did this for several days and nights until the flesh grew back.

The shoulder never got infected, and the life lesson was clear for all generations to come: always eat vegetables and have panela on hand.

Just like my grandfather’s cure, there are hundreds of home remedies you can try at home. Here are some of them. 

Oatmeal flakes home remedy irritation BELatina Latinx
Photo: cookinglight.com

For skin dryness or irritation

  • Boil a cup of water and add oatmeal flakes (make sure they don’t have any added scent or flavor). 
  • Wait until the oatmeal water cools off. (If you don’t wait long enough, you risk getting a nasty burn, so check the oatmeal’s temperature carefully before using it.)
  • Separate the water. 
  • Apply the humid oatmeal on the affected skin and let it dry. 
  • Soak gauze in the oatmeal water and use it to remove the oatmeal gently. 
  • Apply Vaseline (without any scent or colorant) and leave overnight. 
  • Repeat every night until the skin improves.
Photo: flourette.com

For a regular cold

  • Warm up the juice of two oranges, but don’t let it boil. 
  • Add thyme, bay leaves, and panela or honey. 
  • Cover until the panela melts. 
  • Strain the mixture to remove the tiny thyme pieces. 
  • Drink warm before going to bed.
Photo: medicalnewstoday.com

For louses

  • Boil abundant rosemary until the water becomes yellowish. 
  • Mix with cold water until it cools.
  • Wash the person’s hair with rosemary water and brush it using a louse comb.
  • Leave overnight. 
Photo: medicalnewstoday.com

For burnt skin

  • Peel an aloe vera leaf. 
  • Apply its gel over the affected area.
  • Leave it for as long as possible.
Photo: healthline.com

For insomnia

  • Boil water 
  • Put some chamomile (whether in a tea bag or loose flowers)
  • Let it steep for no more than 4 minutes.
  • Add a cinnamon stick and honey for flavor.
  • Drink while hot.
  • Detach yourself from any screens and try to relax. 
  • Sleep like un angelito.
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