Each culture in the U.S. carries with it a legacy of spiritual and culturally evolved versions of alternative medicine. The country’s Latino adaptation of natural and alternative health is no exception. In the urban areas of the U.S., botánicas are an abundantly familiar place. They are elaborately filled with rich folk medicinal traditions from historical Hispanic culture and religious beliefs — that commune with the migration of domestic patterns from the Latino community.
For many people, when experiencing the sniffles or scratchy throat, the inclination is to run immediately to the pharmacy for the leading brand of cold and flu medication. However, for many U.S. Hispanics, they visit their grandmother or abuela or the closest botánica for herbs and Latino products to make a culturally traditional home remedy to ward off and relieve symptoms.
Botánicas provide more than just material ingredients for the continuing of tradition but they also offer people emotional and spiritual connections — often with in-house healers available to consult, similar to a pharmacist. These healing boutiques are culture staples and serve as one of the most significant purveyors of wellness and health care in Hispanic communities, according to a professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Healing in Hispanic culture embraces and has sustained the practicing of “Palo (care with natural powers),” “Santería (healing with plants),”“curanderismo (herbal medicine),” and “espiritismo (purifying using herbs).”Up to 75 percent of Latinos in America rely on Latin alternative, folk medicine.
Below are some Hispanic home remedies used in many Latin American households during cold and flu season:
- Ajo or garlic – It is put in tea, soups, or eaten raw.
- Vick’s VaporRub or Vaporu – People use it for more than just cold symptoms but also for the relief of headaches, pimple removal, and soothing aching feet, among other things.
- Chicken soup – Distinguished from basic soup recipes of non-Hispanic families by choice of vegetables, herbs, and use of a whole chicken — as opposed to shredded chicken.
- A shot of pisco, rum, or tequila – The alcohol is drunken not to drink recreationally but as a legitimate way to cause a cold to dissipate.
- Agua Florida – It is a cologne, also known as Florida Water but a few drops over a person’s head can lift a fever.
- Cayenne Pepper, Anise, Manzanilla – These get often used in teas.